Salatet Fattoush (California Fattoush Salad) from Reem Assil

August  2, 2022
0 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

With fireworks of juicy, crunchy, herby, tart, and sweet, Reem Assil's simple, California-style take on fattoush salad is the meal you'll want to eat all summer. And here's the kicker: Thanks to a few-ingredient pantry dressing, it can be the salad of fall, winter, and spring, too.

As Reem writes in her cookbook Arabiyya, “In my earliest food memories, my mom is frying leftover bread into an addictive crunchy snack, a topping for soups or, more often than not, croutons for fattoush. Although I loved the chips, I fault the tasteless trucked-in tomatoes for my childhood aversion to the salad, an aversion I aban- doned the first time I tasted field-fresh tomatoes in California. There’s no need to forgo this staple of the Palestinian dinner table when tomatoes fall out of season, since citrus makes a great winter substitute.

“The medley of vegetables is what makes fattoush so special. If you’re not a purist, you can make it a medley of anything. Mine has all the elements of a delicious balanced salad: mustardy arugula, Little Gem or romaine lettuce for crunch, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, spicy radishes, and fresh herbs. This base welcomes seasonal additions. In the summer, I add corn—grilled or raw—pomegranate seeds, pickled cherries, or fresh purslane. In the winter, I swap segments of Cara Cara oranges and other citrus and fried sunchokes in place of toma- toes. In the spring, I look for varieties of radishes, including Easter Egg, Ninja, and French Breakfast to mix things up a little.”

A few more tips: This fattoush is perfect to take to picnics and potlucks—just pack all the ingredients in sealed containers (storing the sliced radishes and onions in cold water will help keep them bright and crisp), then finish tossing and layering when you get there. To fry your own pita chips, Reem likes to heat the oil to 325 to 350° F, separate any thick pieces of pita in half, and toss the crisp fried chips in salt and sumac.

Recipe from Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora (Ten Speed Press, April 2022).

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Hear more about this recipe from Reem herself on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes.Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
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Salatet Fattoush (California Fattoush Salad) from Reem Assil
  • Dressing
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salad
  • 3 cups store-bought pita chips or 2-inch pieces of pita bread, fried
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Persian cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into ⅛-inch crescents (about 1 cup)
  • 4 radishes, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/4 red onion, halved stem to root and thinly sliced into crescents (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups Little Gem lettuce or chopped Romaine
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of parsley
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of mint
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  1. To make the dressing: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or a bowl and mix or whisk to incorporate. Make sure to whisk well again before using, since the oil will separate.
  2. To assemble the salad: In a medium bowl, toss half the chips with the tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, onion, Little Gem, and 1/4 cup of the dressing.
  3. Lay the arugula on a serving platter and cover evenly with the dressed veggies and chips. Tuck the remaining half of the pita chips into the salad to fill in any gaps. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad. Sprinkle the parsley and mint over the dish and top with the sumac.

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1 Review

Amy August 6, 2022
Didn't have radishes, but salad had enough zesty interest without. So refreshing and hydrating! Thank you :)