Fattoush salad

August 24, 2015  •  Category: , ,

Heat and humidity definitely affect one’s appetite. One can easily spend the day drinking juices or slurping on slushes, smoothies and sorbets. For a meal option, how about fattoush? Just throw-in all the veggies leftover in your fridge, dice them up, toast some pita croutons, and sprinkle good sumac, olive oil and lemon juice.

This salad is as essential to a Lebanese mezze as hummus. An essential feature of this salad is sumac, now a well-known spice among foodies in the US. The reason sumac is used is because it grows wild all over the Lebanese mountains, and when used in cooking adds a nice sour note to the dish. It was a  way to make do, as lemons or citrus is not available year-round, and sumac, once dried in the sun and ground, can be used for the whole year.

Another essential element of this salad is purslane, aka portulaca oleracea, aka ba’leh in arabic, aka verdolaga in Mexico and Latin America. The purslane also grows wild in the mountains, and not just in Lebanon, but just about everywhere. It is considered a weed, as it grows in the tiniest places, even in the middle of a concrete parking lot, and spreads everywhere. It is also a very nutritious weed! It is unfortunately not that widespread for consumption in the US yet, but one can easily find it in Latino supermarkets in the produce section under the name verdolaga.

If you would like to see me making some fattoush, this video was shot on location in the Lebanese mountains.

Fattoush salad

Joumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern August 24, 2015 Main Dish, Salads, Mezze/Appetizers, salad, fattoush, lebanesefood, purslane, mixed veggies, sumac, garlic, tagged,

8 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes


Salad dressing:

  • 2 large lemons (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice)
  • 3/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup sumac (soaked in the lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp garlic paste (about 2 or 3 cloves mashed with salt in a mortar)

For the salad:

  • 1 Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 or 2 bunches of purslane, leaves only
  • 6 cucumbers, peeled, and sliced (best to use Persian or Armenian cucumbers)
  • 6 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced (see Note)
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced small

To garnish:

2 to 4 cups fried pita croutons



  1. Whisk the salad dressing ingredients in a salad bowl. Add the salad ingredients and toss to combine.
  2. Top the salad with the croutons and toss gently to mix. Serve immediately. Sahtein! 

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10 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A wonderful salad!



  2. Krista says:

    Ohh, I didn’t think about sprinkling sumac on salads, Joumana. That sounds delicious and something I’ll definitely be doing as our weather heats up. 🙂

  3. Susan says:

    I loved watching the video of you making the salad, Joumana! So fresh and delicious. A truly summer salad. I keep forgetting about the sumac in my pantry. Before my tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and parsley are done for the season I’m trying this!

    • Joumana says:

      @Susan: I hope you do! I wished you had tasted it first in a Lebanese restaurant (a good one, of course), but I guess there aren’t any in your area. Hope you get fresh sumac, too. 🙂

  4. humble_pie says:

    dear Joumana,

    thinking of you often. Take great care now, on these most sombre of news days.
    re sumac, i have a little story. I know sumac well, i’ve made delicious sumac syrup & even sorbet from the late summer berries.
    one rakes the berries off the cones with a fork. One has to rake delicately, not too much, because one doesn’t want to scrape too deep. In the centre of the cones live colonies of insects with all kinds of dark gritty material which, our herb teacher assured us on a field trip, was the insect droppings mixed with the insect eggs..
    so i rake off the surface berries only. These are dark red. At the first sign of a darker coloured berry, phhhht the entire cone is gone, into the compost heap.
    one year i purchased dried powdered sumac berries from a herb dealer who should be selling nothing but the purest & the best. Her husband is a coureur du bois with a business harvesting wild foods from northern quebec. He sells these to all the chic restaurants in town. La gastronomie forestière is all the rage right now in canada.
    i thought that maybe my malfortune had been finding only sumac trees that were hosting insects. Perhaps, i said to myself, the husband knows how to find better berries, berries from pure, uninfested, zero-insect trees?
    i didn’t use up all of this bought ground sumac powder right away. A few months later, when i opened the jar, darned if there wasn’t a small, fine cobweb inside.

  5. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Je la fais souvent, cette salade ! Cela dit, cette année, après notre périple italien, on est plutôt abonnés à la panzanella, qui suit le même principe, mais à l’italienne … ;o))
    Bises et bonne journée, Joumana

  6. Velva says:

    Joumana, oh my gosh! I watched your video on how to prepare fattoush. I love it! Picking the vegetables out of the garden is the part in which I fell in love….What a beautiful salad. The purslane I need to do research, it looks easy enough to grow, I need to figure out when best to plant and to locate the seeds. Sumac….I need to see if there is a local middle eastern store. I see sumac in recipes but I have not seen it in any of my local stores.

    This was beautiful! Thank you for sharing.


    • Joumana says:

      @Velva: Thanks so much! I am thrilled you liked it. We shot it in our veggie garden in the mountains. I am pretty sure purslane should not be a problem, I have seen it in various states, it is considered a weed and people try to get rid of it! 🙂 as far as sumac, I saw a bush in Austin, Texas, recently! It is sold online at Spice shops, but best to find it at a good spice shop in your area so you can smell it to make sure it is legit! 🙂

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