Fattoush: Refreshing and Full of Flavor

During the holiday season, the tendency is to gravitate towards rich, filling foods: meats, cheeses, gravies, mashed potatoes, pies, and more. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I'm not exactly complaining. I love the holiday season and the chance to make delicious recipes that include way more butter and cheese than I typically use in my every day cooking. That said, I always appreciate a lighter dish that doesn't skimp on flavor this time of year – something refreshing in between all of the richness.

Enter fattoush. Fattoush is a Levantine salad made with toasted or fried pita bread and seasonal vegetables and herbs. From the eastern Mediterranean, or the Levant, fattoush is derived from the Arabic word “fatt” meaning “crush” and belongs to a family of dishes called “fattat” that feature stale flatbread. In the fattoush recipe I made, toasted pita bread is “crushed” into bite-sized crouton-like pieces and then gently incorporated into the dressed salad.

And what a salad! Romaine lettuce mixed with parsley, mint, scallions, tomato, and cucumber and dressed in a simple garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil dressing. To make it a meal, I also added the optional feta cheese and sliced Kalamata olives. The lemon dressing, cucumber, and fresh herbs provide a crisp, refreshing flavor while the garlic, scallions, feta, and olives give your palette plenty to appreciate. And that toasted pita? Just what was needed to to make this salad a filling meal.

So if you're feeling smothered in gravy or lost in a cheese plate this time of year, find your way to freedom and stick a fork in a bowl of fattoush. Get the recipe here.