When I think of this salad, I realize just how far I’ve come. I used to hate cucumbers, yogurt skeeved me out, I wasn’t a fan of radishes and eating a raw tomato? Never. But this salad is chock-o-block of pretty much everything I used to hate. Call me a late bloomer, but I made it. I even drink green smoothies. I’m pretty proud of myself.
I’m so grown up that I’ve been making this salad on a weekly basis. It’s that amazing. It’s great alongside a nice meal or it easily becomes a meal on its own….add a falafel or two and you’ve got a well-rounded vegetarian supper. When I first made this salad, I stuck to the original recipe but now that I’ve made it into my own, I mix things up. I learned that I didn’t like the pita untoasted. The untoasted bread gets way too mushy and I love the crispness of the toasted pita. I also love how after a toss in the salad, gets melty but still has presence. The original recipe doesn’t even call for sweet bell peppers, but since it’s springtime and local tomatoes haven’t hit the markets yet, I improvised and loved the crunch and freshness they added. So they’re a keeper. When I spot some good tomatoes, I’ll add them in – along with a pepper or two to keep things real. Dried mint was something I couldn’t find in my local gourmet shop where they keep their herbs & spices alphabetical, but when I asked, I was told to look under “S” for spearmint. There you go, done!
When I went to visit my family in Ontario last week, I made this salad. Everyone loved it. Even my dad who was skeptical about using mint in a savoury dish went for seconds and thirds. I’ve made this for friends visiting for dinner and I’ve had requests for the recipe. So here it is, it’s delicious and I hope that it becomes part of your own weekly salad repertoire. If you’re curious on my trip, I’ll update you on my next post – the rust belt was amazing and beyond what I expected.
Oh, and if you’re in town, I want to welcome you once again to my favourite craft fair, Got Craft, that happens this Saturday and Sunday in East Van. I’ll be selling my paper wares and there’s plenty of great, local vendors selling not only crafty wares but local foods and other tasty things! It’s a great event, so look for me and say hello!
creamy fattoush salad
(adapted from 101 cookbooks who adapted it from Jerusalem: A Cookbook)
There is a lot of chopping involved for this salad, but it’s worth it. Once the vegetables are chopped, the rest is a cinch to put together. In a few weeks, you’ll start seeing tomatoes appearing at your local farmer’s market – feel free to add them here or replace the peppers entirely with tomatoes. Make sure to mix your yogurt and milk ahead of time to give it time to rest and “ferment”, but honestly, if you forget, it’s just as tasty adding it into the salad at the last minute.
1 c greek yogurt
3/4 c whole milk
1 bunch of radishes, small dice
4 lebanese cucumbers or 1 english cucumber (seeds removed), small dice
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced
a large handful of fresh mint, leaves roughly torn or chopped
a large handful or two of flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 T dried mint or spearmint
1/2 – 1 t aleppo pepper
1 T sumac or more to taste, to garnish
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 c good olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1-2 T cider vinegar
1/2 t kosher salt, plus more to taste
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk and the yogurt – add more milk if necessary to get a nice runny consistency. Let sit on the countertop to ferment for 3 hours.
Toast the pitas in a toaster oven or a low oven (300F) for a few minutes until crispy and lightly toasted. Remove and cool.
Add the diced radishes, cucumber, green onion (and tomatoes – see headnote – if using) into a large bowl. Combine vegetables with the fresh mint and parsley and sprinkle with the spearmint, aleppo pepper and the sumac.
In a small jar, combine the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar together with the salt. Close lid and shake well. Pour over salad, toss salad and then pour over the yogurt/milk mixture and toss again. Just before serving, crumble the toasted pita into bite-sized bits, toss the salad and sprinkle with a bit more sumac. Keep additional olive oil on hand to drizzle lightly into individual bowls, if desired.