I cringed a little bit as I typed that: Snap Pea, Mint and Feta Fattoush Salad. Why? Because I know I am going to make only a few of you all happy with a name like that. I’m guessing there will be three reactions to that name.
There will be camp A: They’ll be all “Yo, yo, high fives K-dubs! I am pickin up your Middle-East inspired seasonal salad-twist-on-a-classic jam yo!” Or something like that, but maybe even less embarrassingly like a 39 ¾ year-old mom living in the sticks trying to sound somewhat cool and/or young.
And then there will be Camp B: The not so happy folks. Like the people who got mad at me when I called this recipe Chicken Gumbo or the ones who bombarded my facebook page with hate comments when I called this Chimichurri Chicken Salad. I am guessing there will be a Camp B, simply because this is not an authentic fattoush. This had snap peas in it, and agave, and whole-wheat pita. I didn’t even add tomatoes for goodness sake! Sheesh, I clearly have no clue about this kind of thing and I shouldn’t call it fattoush. Blah Blah Blah. Know what I have to say, “Haters r gonna hate.”
For the record, I wasn’t cringing about Camp B. It’s the Camp C people. These are the dear readers who simply have never heard of fattoush salad. I cringe in anticipation of their reaction because I worry that Camp C may see the word “Fattoush” and think what the heck is that? And then most troublesome: “Sounds complicated” and go scurrying away and never try the awesomeness that is this salad. It reminds me of the uphill battle of the short ribs from earlier this year. It comes off as complicated or intimidating even. Not an easy fresh and light salad that it is in real life.
Thank goodness for photography. As you can see, it is nothing too crazy at all. If I were to explain it to someone I may say, it is almost like a Greek salad, but it has toasted pita bread added in. Shush Camp B, I know I know, it’s not Greek salad it’s Lebanese.
A few notes about the ingredients.
- The greens you choose will really change the recipe a lot. We have really beautiful fresh local spring greens here in Vermont right now, but you can use any greens you like. Later in the summer when head lettuce comes in, try it with some of the sturdier varieties. Romaine hearts are a great choice too because they are sturdier and will hold, particularly if you’re making a bigger batch of this for a buffet.
- And play around with the other goodies too. Typically fattoush has tomatoes in it, but since it is May, not August, I swapped in sweet snap peas. I love snap peas with feta and mint (which are both traditional ingredients in Fattoush) and I love the way it all worked together. You can use tomatoes and peppers instead of the radishes and snap peas. Use the ingredients that are coming in at the Farmers’ Market and in your garden.
- I call for sumac in this recipe, and that is really common in middle eastern cooking and specifically in fattoush. You can find it with the bulk spices at good health food stores, or if you have one in your area, Middle Eastern markets carry it too. It is ground up and dark maroon red in color. If you can’t find it, just leave it out. If you do find it and are wondering what else to use it for. Sprinkle it on top of this roasted garlic hummus or try Caroline’s Strawberry Papaya Salad.
Which camp do you fall into?
Have you used Sumac before?
I’d love to hear your ideas for ways to mix up these ingredients as the summer goes on.
Lebanese Fattoush salad gets a seasonal make-over with fresh sweet snap peas and radishes instead of tomatoes and peppers. This salad has toasted whole-grain pita dusted with sumac, crumbled feta and mint in it! So tasty and fresh and ready in only 30 minutes. (Most of that time is pre-heating the oven and toasting the pita.)
- 2 large pita breads, preferably whole wheat
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon powdered sumac, divided, optional
- 8 ounces spring greens, washed and spun dry
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
- 2 cups snap peas, stings removed, cut into thirds (1/2 pound)
- 5 radishes, sliced
- ½ large English cucumber, sliced
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey or agave
- 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup crumbled mild feta cheese, preferably goat feta
- 12 large mixed olives
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lay pitas on work surface, lightly brush both sides with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sumac over the pita. Cut pitas into small wedges. Lay out on baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until the pitas are crisp and starting to brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool and crush into smaller pieces.
- Meanwhile combine greens, mint, peas, radishes, cucumber and onion in a large salad bowl. Whisk the remaining ¼ teaspoon olive oil, the remaining 1 teaspoon sumac, lemon juice, honey, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Add the pitas to the salad. Drizzle the lemon dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Divide among four large plates. Top with feta and garnish with olives.
Some other recipes you may like
For the other recipes from Salad Month, please check them out here.
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