Fattoush is my preferred salad of choice when it comes to Lebanese or Arabic cuisine – I almost always order it the same way, no bread, dressing on the side, and easy on the lemon (you would think that asking for dressing on the side would omit the need to say “no lemon” but several experiences have taught me otherwise). Oddly enough, it’s one of those dishes I’ve never even thought to re-create at home – perhaps because it seems on the surface, simple and uninspired. It is the everyday Arab man (or woman)’s garden salad if you will. Greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and a tangy pomegranate dressing – big whoop, right?
Well maybe not – but I find inspiration in the oddest of places. When it came time to re-imagine my version of fattoush I went for a nutritionally dense green for my base – kale. Wild radishes and plum cherry tomatoes, courtesy of the local farmer’s market were also a must.
Avocado makes a secret cameo appearance too – alongside tangy pomegranate molasses and fragrant sumac for that traditional flair.
Marinated Kale Fattoush
- 3 cups of kale, de-stemmed and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 a small avocado
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup plum cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup sliced radishes
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced cucumber
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
For the dressing
- 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbsp water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2-1 tbsp sumac to top
- 1/4 cup crisped toasted bread or gluten-free crackers (optional)
- Start by massaging the avocado, lemon juice, olive oil and salt into the kale using your hands. You really want to work it in there well for a few minutes until the kale starts to wilt. If you’re looking for a low-er fat salad, you can omit the extra oil, but note that the combination of fat (avocado and olive oil), acid (lemon juice) and salt help break down the tough texture of the kale to make it softer and easier to chew – not to mention deliciously “marinated”.
- Assemble the salad by combining the kale in a large bowl with the tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and onion slices. Top with crisp bread or crackers.
- Make the pomegranate drizzle by combining the molasses, water, salt and pepper to thin. Drizzle over the salad along with a hefty dose of sumac to finish, and serve.
An additional note is that fattoush is typically made with far more lemon – but as you may have gathered I generally have a qualm with Lebanese cuisine’s exhaustive use of citrus, so my version is a little toned down. If your tastebuds are not similarly afflicted I would recommend you up the lemon juice by an additional tablespoon or so.
Also if you’re seeking a gluten-free option – I highly recommend these chickpea flour crackers. They’re super easy to make and are delicious all on their own too.
If you’re looking to make this salad as a standalone meal, go ahead and add a cup of chickpeas per serving for a protein boost. I plan on doing just that for tomorrow’s packed lunch at work.
The best thing about kale salads is that you can make them in advance without having to worry about wilting, or keeping the dressing separate. In fact, I’ve found marinated kale actually tastes better once it’s been sitting around for a while – so it’s the perfect for barbeques, potlucks and the like.
Until next time dear readers!