Winter Fattoush Salad

Recipe by Tami Ganeles Weiser; photo contributed by Ame Gilbert Yield:  6 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  15 minutes

Winter Fattoush Salad

Fattoush is a Middle Eastern bread salad traditionally made with cucumbers and tomatoes, not unlike the Italian panzanella, but with pita bread which soaks up the juicy summer vegetables and lemony dressing. This winter version, which is delicious in its own right, is perfect for when fresh tomatoes are a distant memory. It’s substantial enough for a light meal or a tasty accompaniment to grilled lamb chops or vegetable kebabs.

Ingredients

Pita:

1½ tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon za’atar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large pita breads

Lentils:

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1½ cups cooked lentils (many markets carry vacuum-packed, precooked lentils, or boil 1 cup dried brown lentils in 2 cups salted water until tender, then drain)

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon minced parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad:

1 bunch lacinato kale leaves, tough ribs removed (about 2 heaping cups, shredded)

1 small head savoy cabbage (about 2 heaping cups, shredded)

1 large organic English or Persian cucumber with skin (about 1 cup shredded)

1 small bunch red radishes or other varietals such as watermelon or daikon (about ½ cup, shredded)

½ cup flat leaf parsley leaves (or a mix of parsley and mint)

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Salad Dressing:

⅓ cup olive oil (or a blend of olive and canola oil)

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon agave nectar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnish:

½ teaspoon ground sumac

Instructions

  1. Toast the pita: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the oil, za’atar and salt in a small bowl.  Lay the pita bread on a baking sheet and brush both sides with the oil. Bake until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. When cool enough to handle, tear pitas into bite-size pieces. There should be about 2 cups.
  2. Make the lentils: Saute the onions and oil in a small skillet until onions soften and begin to brown. Add the lentils and stir to blend. Stir in the garlic and parsley and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cut away the thickest part of the kale and cabbage ribs and discard, then roll the leaves into bundles and shred. Trim the cucumber ends, then cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices. Stack the slices and cut crosswise into shreds. Repeat with the radishes. Tear whole leaves from parsley and/or mint.
  4. Make the dressing: Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl until fully combined. You can also use a handheld blender.
  5. Compose the salad: Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the lentils and pita crisps. Drizzle with the dressing and toss again. Mound the salad on a serving platter. Top with feta cheese and sprinkle with sumac.

Kitchen Tips

Additional ingredients can be added such as shredded raw Brussels sprouts, slivered red peppers, thinly sliced red onions, pitted olives, and a handful of your favorite toasted nuts.

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