Fattoush

I started making fattoush salads when I lived in the Middle East about twenty years ago. I experienced the month long holiday of Ramadan celebrated in Islam while I was there. They fast during the day and break their fast with this flavorfully fragrant salad in the evening. When it comes to a fresh taste, this simple salad stands out in the crowd. The mint and parsley give this salad the upper edge in freshness. Adding ground sumac, a dark red powder found in ethnic food stores, lends a lemony flavor that gives an extra punch. Sumac is certainly optional, but if you're in an ethnic store keep your eyes open for this spice. It's wonderful sprinkled on chicken, hummus, and vegetable-type salads.  
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Ingredients

1 - 2 slender peeled and diced cucumber 1 small head Romaine lettuce leaves, shredded or torn 4 medium tomatoes, cubed 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional) 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions 1/2 cup finely chopped flat parsley 1/4 cup finely chopped mint 3 cups whole grain pita chips 1 - 2 tsp ground sumac (optional)

Directions

1) Combine the vegetable and herbs. Sprinkle salad with sumac (optional). Pour dressing over the salad, tossing with pita chips just prior to serving.

Fattoush Dressing Ingredients

2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tsp sea salt 1/2 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup olive oil 1 tsp ground sumac (optional)

Fattoush Dressing Directions

1) In a glass jar or bowl, mash the chopped garlic and salt together with the side of a knife or spoon. Add lemon juice to garlic-salt paste. Shake or whisk the olive oil into mixture. If you have sumac powder shake or whisk 1 teaspoon of it in too, but no worries if you don't have it. If you want to soften the lemon juice with a touch of maple syrup or raw honey you can, but it's not authentic.