We love Middle Eastern food around here. One of my favorite dishes to order in a restaurant is the fattoush salad. I love the addition of the little pieces of crispy pita and the bright, tangy flavor of the sumac. One of my favorite dishes to make in the summer is tabbouleh. It’s quick, light and I don’t have to heat up the whole kitchen when I make it. Perfect! A few weeks ago I was making tabbouleh and it suddenly came to me. Why not combine two of my favorite things? That’s how this light yet filling summer dinner came to be.
The most important ingredients in fattoush are the sumac and the pita chips. The sumac lends a bright, lemony tartness. It’s the perfect compliment to the garlicky dressing, while the pitas add a nice crunch.
There are several different kinds of tabbouleh. The Lebanese version is more parsley than bulgar while in other parts of the Arab world it’s served with romaine lettuce. I usually go pretty traditional when I make tabbouleh. That’s what I did here with the bulgar, tomatoes and parsley.
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup very good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tble red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves (see notes)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tble fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tble ground sumac
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
For the salad:
- 1 cup bulgar wheat
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup italian flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 2 Tble mint, minced
- 2 Tble basil, chiffonade
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 2 Tble purple onion, minced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 cup English cucumber, diced
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- salt + pepper
- pita chips (see notes)
Place bulgar wheat, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over bulgar wheat and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes, until bulgar has absorbed all the water. Add herbs, vegetables and cheese to the bowl. Pour dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled. When ready to serve add pita chips. Stir to combine. Serve and enjoy!
- For the garlic, I use my mortar and pestle to make a garlic paste with the kosher salt. To make the garlic paste without a mortar and pestle finely chop the garlic then add the salt on top. Alternate chopping and scraping with the side of the knife until a paste forms.
- If you don’t think you’ll eat all the salad, add the pita chips to individual serving bowls so they don’t get soggy. There are few things worse than soggy chips in a salad.