Fattoush is the Middle Eastern answer to panzanella bread salad. Crispy pita; grilled, tender zucchini; velvety cheese; earthy lentils; lively herbs; and a vibrant tomato dressing come together in a composed salad that’s jumpy with attention grabbers. If halloumi is not available, some torn fresh mozzarella would be a good stand-in (just don’t try grilling it). Those who are watching their sodium intake can make the salad without olives.
3/4 cup (180 mL) green or black lentils
8 oz (225 g) package halloumi cheese
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 tsp + 3 Tbsp (5 mL + 45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
4 tsp (40 mL) za’atar
2 large pitas
1 large tomato
2 Tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped shallot
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp (1 mL) crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
1 head romaine lettuce
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced mint
1 cup (250 mL) sliced parsley
1 cup (250 mL) sliced radish
2 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup (80 mL) sliced Kalamata olives (optional)
In medium saucepan, place lentils and 3 cups (750 mL) water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a light simmer, and cook until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
Build a medium-hot fire in charcoal grill, or heat gas grill to medium and grease grill grates.
Upend halloumi and slice lengthwise into 2 slabs. Brush halloumi and zucchini with 1 tsp (5 mL) oil. Grill cheese until crispy in a few spots, about 3 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, slice halloumi into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) cubes. Grill zucchini until tender and darkened in a few spots, about 4 minutes per side.
When cool enough to handle, slice zucchini into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces.
Mix za’atar with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil. Spread on tops of pitas. Grill pitas until golden and crispy, about 1 minute per side. Be careful not to burn pitas. When cool enough to handle, break pitas into 2 in (5 cm) pieces.
Slice tomato in half and grate cut sides down to the skin with the large holes of a box grater. Discard skin and whisk grated tomato with remaining 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, vinegar, shallot, lemon zest, crushed red pepper flakes, and black pepper.
Cut romaine into 1 1/2 in (3.75 cm) thick rounds.
Place rounds on serving plates and top with lentils, zucchini, mint, parsley, radish, green onion, olives (if using), halloumi, and toasted pita pieces. Drizzle Tomato Vinaigrette overtop.
Say cheese: Halloumi is a remarkable salty cheese, as it doesn’t melt when sent to the flames. On the grill, the outside gets crispy and the inside turns tender. It’s the ultimate grilled cheese. Find blocks in Middle Eastern grocers and an increasing number of supermarkets.
Each serving contains: 585 calories; 32 g protein; 28 g total fat (12 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 56 g total carbohydrates (9 g sugars, 24 g fibre); 751 mg sodium