Fatoush - a Zesty Middle-eastern Salad




About: I'm an Engineer, who originally inherited the family business (Thanks Dad (RIP JC Taylor, 1938-2011)) after working in it for 25 years, designing and building scientific instruments. In 2013, I was head-h...

This is a very well known salad dish, in the Middle-East, and is particularly associated with Egypt and the Lebanon. Its really easy to prepare, needing some coarse chopping and then mixing. The only thing is, it benefits from "marinading" in the lemon juice for an hour or so.

The final flourish, the addition of a spice called sumac is optional, but authentic. Our supply is Iranian sumac, bought in Tehran from THE most amazing spice shop, and supplied by really friendly people.

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Step 1: Ingredients

4 tomatoes - a nice fresh sweet variety for preference.
1 cucumber
4 spring onions (scallions)
3 cloves of freshly crushed/ chopped garlic
Broad leaf parsley ( a good bunch)
Garden mint ( a couple of sprigs)
Juice of 2 lemons

3-4 pita breads

Sumac, if available.

Step 2: Preparation

Into one bowl, throw all the ingredients
1.) Cut cucumber into 4 length-ways, chop into 6mm / 1/4" chunks.
2.) Chop tomato into similar slices, and chop into thumbnail sized pieces (don't bother peeling tomatoes, lifess too short)
3.) Chop scallions into short chunks
4. Chop garlic, or use a garlic press
5. ) Coarsely chop parsley, strip mint leaves off stalk, and chop and add to bowl.
7.) Juice 2 lemons (nuke 'em for 15 seconds first, to make 'em juicy) Pour over contents of bowl...

Mix  thoroughly, make sure the veggies are nicely covered with the lemon juice.

Put aside in refrigerator for an hour.

Step 3: Serving and Suggestions

Toast 3 or 4 pita breads and chop into bite sized pieces.
Just before serving, mix in pita bread

If you're familiar with sumac, add some sprinkling to the dish before serving - it adds a further lemony flavour which is very refreshing. Otherwise, serve sumac in a pepper shaker with the salad.

Serve and enjoy.
We're serving the salad in pitta bread, with sea-bass cooked with paprika and lime

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    35 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    mmm fatoosh, every arabians salad.

    Hey man, what about taboolah? thats amazing too, and in my opinion tastes better (I'm Palestinian so that probably explains it)

    2 replies

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I am always searching for great recipes like this! Thank you so much for sharing your hard work!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this Instructable! (I'm a Turk, and trying to loose some weight and it is not easy for an electronics engineering student-lots of sitting... So salads helping me :) )


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I made a double batch of this last night and served it with my own Black Bean soup. We had my Father in-law over for dinner and he had no idea what was on the menu. Both items were a big hit. We had a very healthy dinner and it was delicious. I'm glad I made a double batch of your Fatoush because I'm actually having some for lunch right this very minute. Thank You for taking the time to share. This will be a keeper for me.

    1 reply

    Glad you enjoyed it. I think its better in many ways, if you let it marinade in the lemon juice...it rarely gets the time in my house either !


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Staghorn sumac grows wild next to nearly every road east of the Missisippi.

    I collect the flower heads when they are bright red and dry them. Shake the tiny berries out or crunch the flower heads with your hands to extract the seeds. They have a lemony flavor.

    Another use is a kind of lemonade made by steeping the flower heads in hot water and adding a little honey. Very refreshing.

    Make sure you wash the heads throughly as spiders and insects like to nest in the flower heads.

    mmmmm fatoush. My grandma makes it sometimes but she really likes to make tabbouli.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I guess the sumac gives it a different dimension, but the remaining ingredients, is nothing out of the norm. It almost looks like salsa. This dish looks easy and I'm definitely giving it a try!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Being originally from the Middle East, I love this salad. It took me some time to get used to the American notion of "salad", which is almost synonymous to lettuce.
    The problem of recreating this salad here in the states is not the sumac or lemon, it's the cucumbers. They are just not tasty and don't have the same consistency of a cucumber grown back in the old country.
    Suggested alternatives:
    1. Organic cucumbers - can be expensive but the smaller ones are better.
    2. Smaller cucumbers - after cutting them length ways, carve out the seeds. Peeling them is not a bad idea.
    3. Grow your own - don't keep watering them after the yellow flowers die. The good cucumbers can have residual yellow petals. I suspect they try to "pump up" the cucmbers here and that's why they so bad.
    Thanks for the instructable and enjoy a great salad.

    6 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Kakungulu, What we call Armenian cucumbers (long, thin, usually curled up, with tiny seeds, and according to one of my gardening books actually a melon) are my favorite cukes to grow. They are also very easy and prolific, so I am always looking for something else to do with them. And with the tomatoes. Plus, sumac grows all over the place here. This dish is perfect for me--can't wait for summer to try it! Thanks Steve!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    firefly68, If you like cucumbers, you can add Dzadziki (or Tsaziki) to the list. It's a Greek yogurt-based cucumber salad. It's very simple really: peel and cut the cucumbers, remove seeds if needed and chop to small cubes. Mix with yogurt and spice with dill and sea salt. Goes perfectly with icy Ouzo, Arak or Raki (all same to me) and a light TV show on a warm summer evening.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    WiKi Addict: It means "sweat" that is also used in Arabic for condensation, which makes more sense since it is a distilled drink. A basic distillery collects the condensation of alcohol fumes on a cold body. My Arabic is very basic, but in Hebrew we sometimes also call that phenomenon "sweat."


    8 years ago on Introduction

    hi, ok so im Lebanese, i live in Lebanon, im twelve and my mom makes this salad very often, but your instructable has a flaw, you should cut the pita bread into small squares and fry it in oil and add it to the salad :)

    and by the way "The Lebanon"?

    P.S: you cant argue with a Lebanese!!!