Monday, February 18, 2013

Fattoush-Inspired Chopped Salad with Tahini-Buttermilk Dressing, Chickpeas, Sumac, and Pine Nuts

Fattoush-Inspired Chopped Salad
A chopped salad with many of the flavors found in Fattoush.

A few years ago a reader sent me her recipe for Fattoush, and I was smitten at first bite with the traditional Lebanese salad that includes romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parsley, toasted pita chips, and lemon-sumac vinaigrette.  Since then I've become a huge fan of London chef and cookbook author Ottolenghi.  I have all his cookbooks, and in the most recent book, Jerusalem, I was intrigued by a recipe for Fattoush with buttermilk in the dressing.  I love buttermilk in just about anything, and Ottolenghi's dressing inspired me to combine it with olive oil,  lemon, garlic, Tahini, dried mint, and Sumac to make the dressing for this Fattoush-Inspired Chopped Salad.  I experimented with the dressing ingredients for a couple of weeks to get it just right, and Jake and I loved the flavor combinations in this salad   Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

This is my Meatless Monday recipe for the week, and I loved the Tahini-Buttermilk dressing, but if you'd like a vegan version, just use the lemon-sumac vinaigrette from my original Fattoush.   And if you happen to have any fresh mint or flat-leaf parsley I'd chop up some of that and add it to the salad.  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)

Dump a can of chickpeas into a colander, rinse with cold water, and let drain.

Whisk together olive oil, Tahini, lemon juice, buttermilk, red wine vinegar, Sumac, dried mint, garlic, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.

When the chickpeas are drained, toss them with 1/4 cup of the dressing and let marinate while you prep the other ingredients.

I used small diced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, radishes, and sliced green onion (not shown) for my salad, but if I was making this in the summer I'd add a generous amount of chopped fresh mint and parsley.

Toss the salad ingredients together.

Then toss in the marinated chickpeas.  Toss together with the other ingredients, adding more dressing as needed so the salad is as moist as you'd like.

The toasted pine nuts on top are definitely optional, but good!

Fattoush-Inspired Chopped Salad with Tahini-Buttermilk Dressing, Chickpeas, Sumac, and Pine Nuts
(Makes about 4 servings; buttermilk dressing was inspired by the Fattoush salad in Ottolenghi's Jerusalem.)

Dressing Ingredients:
(This is a generous amount of dressing for this much salad, but it's tasty on many other things.)
2 T olive oil
2 T Tahini
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Sumac
1 tsp. dried mint (probably optional, but good)
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 small Persian cucumbers, diced in pieces about 1/2 inch (1 cup diced cucumber)
1 cup diced grape tomatoes, diced in pieces about 1/2 inch
1/3 cup diced radishes, diced in pieces about 1/2 inch
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Dump garbanzo beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears.  Let beans drain until fairly dry (or blot dry with paper towels.)

While the beans drain, whisk together the olive oil, Tahini, lemon juice, buttermilk, red wine vinegar, Sumac, dried mint, garlic, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.  When the beans are well-drained, put them in a small bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing.  Let the beans marinate while you chop the other ingredients.

Chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, and radishes into same-size pieces.  (I made pieces about 1/2 inches across, but the size is a matter of personal choice.)  Slice the green onions.  Toss together the cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, and green onions.  Add the marinated garbanzo beans (with the dressing they're marinating in) and toss with the salad ingredients.  Then add as much more dressing as you prefer until the salad is moistened to your liking.  (I used about 2 T more dressing.)  

If you're using the pine nuts, toast them in a dry frying pan over high heat for about 1-2 minutes, just until they start to become fragrant.  Toss pine nuts over each serving of salad.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Everything about this low-glycemic salad is approved for all phases of the South Beach Diet, but beans are a limited food for phase one, so limit portion size if eating this for phase one.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Salads with Chickpeas and Middle-Eastern Flavors:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Moroccan Chickpea Barley Salad ~ Simply Recipes
Garbanzo, Tomato, and Cilantro Salad with Lime and Chile Dressing ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Harissa ~ Healthy Green Kitchen
Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Capers, Mint, and Sumac ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Salad ~ Not Derby Pie
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. I've yet to meet a dish of Ottolenghi's that I didn't love! This salad sounds delicious and the the idea of a buttermilk/tahini blend!

  2. I love everything about this salad! The tahini-buttermilk dressing sounds to die for.

  3. Thanks guys; we could not get enough of this salad!

  4. Can't wait to try the tahini buttermilk dressing (I always have powdered buttermilk in the pantry, for times when I need just a small amount).

  5. Lydia, you are so brilliant! I must buy powdered buttermilk so I can make this more often.

  6. Great flavors Kalyn! I am especially intrigued by the tahini-buttermilk combo!

  7. This salad sounds amazing! I love fattoush, and haven't had it in far too long. :) Love the idea of a tahini vinaigrette too!

  8. Looks so fresh and full of great flavor. Can't wait to give it a try soon. I need to pick up some sumac.

  9. Thanks Eileen. Fattoush is probably my favorite summer salad!

    Lindsey, Black Cherry Market in 900 South has a good price on it.

  10. I love that book. And now I have just one thing to say-LUNCH! Well, I'm not very good at just one thing, but this sounds like a great one!

  11. Abbe, I love all his books; he is such a talent!

  12. This is absolutely delicious! I didn't have pine nuts so I subbed peanuts and they were amazing in it. Thanks!

  13. I'm all for chopped salads and this one looks incredible, Kalyn! Thank you!


  14. Kalyn could I use zatar for the sumac? I just bought some from Penzey's.

  15. Yes, I think Za'atar would be great in this.

  16. Kalyn - I will be using your dressing in my next post and will make sure I credit will be perfect for what I have in mind.

    Will be following your wonderful blog...

  17. Sounds delicious, but one question. When you list Tahini, I'm assuming you are referring to the plain sesame paste, not the prepared sauce? Thanks in advance.


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