This big, beautiful bowl of goodness is a mash-up of two traditional Mediterranean salads. It gets its primary flavors from a Greek salad, with feta, scallion, dried oregano and plenty of cucumber and tomato in a lemon-olive oil dressing. And it owes its hearty crunch to a Middle Eastern fattoush, a salad that originated as a way to use up day-old pita and involves tossing shards of the toasted flatbread with dressed crisp greens, vegetables and herbs.
One of the delightful things about the accompanying recipe is that there is a lot of play in terms of ingredients, so feel free to add or substitute whatever inspires you at the market or is begging to be picked from your garden. Instead of the dried oregano, you could use fresh dill or mint, for example. Substitute red onion for the scallions, or use another variety of lettuce instead of romaine. Bell peppers and/or radishes also would be a welcome addition.
For the pita, you could use rounds of the bread, day-old or not, brushed with oil, toasted in a 375-degree oven until crisp and broken into pieces. But in the interest of keeping the kitchen cool, I chose to use store-bought pita chips here. When they’re tossed with the salad, the dressing makes them soften just a bit while still retaining some crunch.
On its own, this salad makes for a satisfying lunch or light dinner. It’s also nice as part of a mezze spread, with hummus, roasted vegetables, olives and stuffed grape leaves. Either way, it is a tasty and healthful way to satisfy your appetite and make the most of prime seasonal vegetables on a hot summer’s day.
Krieger blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.
Greek Salad With Crispy Pita
Yield: 4 servings
From cookbook author and nutritionist Ellie Krieger.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 large head romaine lettuce, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 5 cups lightly packed)
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1/2 large English (seedless) cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced into half-moons
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, each cut in half
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
2 ounces whole-wheat pita chips (about 24), broken into pieces
Whisk together the oil, the lemon zest and juice, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to form a dressing.
Toss together the lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and scallion in a large serving bowl. Add the feta, the toasted pita chips and the dressing. Toss well to coat and incorporate; serve right away.
Per serving: 240 calories, 9 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 520 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar