This chopped salad with toasted pita pieces is a favourite in the Middle East. A traditional flavouring is the dried, ground fruit of the sumac—a tree indigenous to the region. The spice provides a distinctive, lemony tang. You can find it in stores selling Middle Eastern products, but grated lemon zest is an acceptable substitute. Include other crunchy vegetables you have on hand (such as radish, daikon, or fennel), chopped into pieces of roughly the same size. I usually scrape the seeds from the cucumber to prevent the salad from becoming too watery.
- Serves: 4
- Course: Snack
- 1-2 pitas with pockets, split horizontally
- 6 tbsp olive oil, divided (90 ml)
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes
- 1 green pepper
- 2 green onions
- 1 cup baby arugula leaves (250 ml)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (30 ml)
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped (30 ml)
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (45 ml)
- 1-2 tsp ground sumac (5–10 ml) (or 1 tsp /5 ml grated lemon zest)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush pita bread on both sides with olive oil, using about 1 tbsp (15 ml). Sprinkle with a little salt and place on a cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned and crunchy, 8–10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Break into small pieces. Set aside.
- Slice cucumber lengthwise into quarters. Scrape away seeds and chop roughly. Chop remaining vegetables into pieces of about the same size.
- Combine cucumber, tomatoes, green pepper, green onions, arugula, parsley, and mint in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining olive oil, lemon juice, sumac (or lemon zest), and 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Just before serving, toss salad with pita pieces.