A crisp, refreshing fattoush salad full of fresh veggies and crunchy pita chips tossed in a bright sumac vinaigrette and topped with shawarma-spiced chicken.
You know how sometimes you get a salad and you're just kind of...sad when you're eating it? Because you know you made a healthy choice but it's just...not doing it for you?
This is not one of those sad salads. This salad is so satisfying - it's full of crisp and fresh veggies, crunchy baked pita chips, juicy spiced chicken, and a fruity & tart lemon sumac dressing. This salad will make you happy.
I owe this one to my sister-in-law Delia for letting me hover over her and ask questions/take notes while she made a fattoush salad for dinner one night. I took her list of ingredients home and tinkered with them until I got it JUST right!
Can I just say I LOVE that I have the ability to do that (especially since I like Middle Eastern food so much)? That's how I learned to make her Authentic Creamy Hummus too! I love learning new recipes from people I love.
One of the things that makes this salad unique is that it has toasted pita chips standing in for the role of croutons...and they are so good. You can use store bought pita chips if you're in a time crunch, but all you need to make your own is pita bread, olive oil, salt & pepper and a few minutes in the oven.
And the homemade pita chips are WORTH IT.
Another (perhaps THE) key ingredient that really makes the fattoush salad unique is the lemon sumac dressing. Sumac is a common Middle Eastern spice and it has a fruity, tart & somewhat lemony flavor. To me - the flavor sumac brings to the table is what REALLY makes a fattoush a fattoush and not just a chopped salad. If you've ever had fattoush salad at a Middle Eastern restaurant, when you smell this spice you'll recognize it right away. It's such a distinct flavor that it's not only added to the dressing, but also sprinkled right onto the salad itself.
Because the flavor it brings is so unique, sumac is one of those ingredients that you can't really substitute if you want to get the true flavor of this dish. If you have a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern market in your area, chances are great that they will sell sumac, but if not, I've got you covered. You can order sumac online.
On to the chicken!
I'm calling this fattoush salad with shawarma-spiced chicken instead of "chicken shawarma" because while it has the flavor profile of traditional shawarma seasoning, it's cooked in a different way. Traditional shawarma can be made of different meats like lamb, beef or chicken that's speared onto a vertical rotating spit, charbroiled and shaved for serving. I don't know about you, but I don't have a vertical rotating spit in my kitchen (yet...) so to simplify things, we're going to use the same flavors, but grill it instead!
If you do have access to a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern market, you can check and see if they carry shawarma seasoning when you're picking up your sumac. Or, you can make your own at home with the shawarma spice blend recipe below! Shawarma seasoning blends can vary but some of the core flavors are cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon and ginger - lots of things you probably already have!
The warm spices of the chicken go so well with the tart freshness of the salad, and adding the chicken makes it hearty and filling as a main dish.
But - if you're a vegetarian, just skip the chicken...I promise the fattoush salad is delicious all on its own!
Yummy noises await you!
A crisp and refreshing Middle Eastern salad full of fresh veggies and crunchy pita chips tossed in a bright lemon sumac vinaigrette, topped with grilled chicken flavored with warm shawarma spices.
- 1 ¼ lbs chicken breast (about 2 large breasts)
- 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 4 tsp shawarma spice blend (store bought or recipe below)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 pieces pita bread*
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt & pepper, to taste
- 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tsp sumac**
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, halved & thinly sliced
- 1 large English (or seedless or hothouse) cucumber, chopped
- 1 cup radishes, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp sumac**
Lay the chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness of about 1/2 to 3/4 in. thick. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and shawarma seasoning.
Add olive oil, vinegar and chicken to a zip top bag, press out as much air as possible and seal. Turn the bag to coat and massage the marinade into chicken, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add chicken to pan and cook until deeply browned on the outside and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cut around the perimeter of the pita bread and separate each piece into 2 rounds. (If you're able to find the super thin Lebanese-style pita bread, I prefer to skip this step and leave the halves of the pita together.) Cut pita rounds into 1 inch squares.
Toss pita pieces with olive oil, salt & pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until deeply golden brown and crisp, flipping halfway through the cooking time, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine, or combine in a medium bowl and whisk well.
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle over dressing, add pita chips and toss to coat. Top with cooked chicken and serve immediately.
*There are lots of different types of pita bread and most will work for making these pita chips, but it may take little longer to toast up depending on how thick your pita bread is. I have used the paper thin Lebanese-style pita bread (like this) and the thicker pocket pita (like this) and I like them both. The only change I make is that if I use the thicker pita bread I cut around the perimeter of the pita bread and separate each piece into 2 rounds, and if I use the thinner pita bread I leave the halves together.
**Sumac is a common Middle Eastern spice, it has a fruity, tart & somewhat lemony flavor - it's a distinct and essential flavor in fattoush salad!
Make your own shawarma spice blend at home with this savory mix of warm spices that you probably already have in your spice rack!
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Combine all spices in a small bowl and stir well to combine. Store in an airtight container.