Lebanese Panzanella Salad
Pita chips replace the traditional Italian-style croutons in this Lebanese Panzanella salad. They soak up the precious juice we wouldn’t even consider leaving behind. The mix of lemon with rice vinegar gives the sweet tomatoes the perfect pop of tartness we love so much.
Sometimes I think that the whole purpose I am here, back home in Michigan, is to have access to weeks like these. Mom has her Abowd siblings here, some of them at least, and I get to be a fly on the wall to their conversation. At this point in their lives, with more than one beloved spouse and sibling gone, they want to talk about their past. They want to talk about their parents and their childhood, and they go to great lengths to place events on the timelines of their lives.
I ask: does it all seem like long ago? In some ways yes, and in other ways, not at all. They agree on that.
So I can’t help but wonder when my siblings and I get together way on down the line, what are the memories we’ll hold dear, and laugh the hard, real laughter over? Will this time, right this second now, be the thing that was so long ago? It was the summer I published my book, yes, that must have been 2015, when Mom and the Abowds got together here, and we heard so many good stories. Like that?
Will I taste from the bowl of tomato salad that will surely be on the table if we’re Up North in August for this later-in-life gathering, and remember it was August when the Abowds got together, Because we had tomato salad every day, must have been August. Like that?
No doubt I will recall that back then, which is right now, it reminded me of when we were all kids, and we wrangled to get into the salad bowl at the end of dinner for the nectar, the leftover tomato salad juice.
No doubt I will recall how my brother Dick would get after the salad drippings with pieces of pita bread dipped in to soak it all up. And how every time I eat tomato salad, I think of this and want to do exactly as he did.
For the taste, for the flavor of it all.
Lebanese Panzanella Salad
- 2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes, all shapes, colors, and sizes, cut in 2-inch pieces
- 1 sweet onion, cut in half-moon slices
- 1 1/2 cups toasted pita chips
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- • Combine the tomatoes, onion, and pita chips in a salad bowl. In another small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt. Toss the salad with the dressing, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then top the salad with the mint and freshly ground black pepper.
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I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!
Yes, exactly Maureen-some of my fondest childhood memories are of my dear Mother and her beloved sisters sitting around our kitchen table in LA (when they have flown in from snowy Chicago and western PA) and they would talk and laugh and tell stories about one another and their beloved brother and Mother as they were all growing up together in PA–sometimes they would laugh so hard tears would roll down their beautiful faces. TY TY TY TY always for stoking the fires of such treasured memories for me! And, the salad is gorgeous and I know how delicious it is!
Nice twist on a classic panzanella!
I use this dressing constantly and am happy to have another reason to use it. Love the pita twist!!!
I love all sorts of salads with bread in them. I have to make this but in Pretoria, S. Africa where I just moved pita bread is hard to find. At an outdoor market here, I met someone from the Jordanian embassy selling middle eastern sweets. He gave me his number and said he could tell me where to find ingredients. It’s always an adventure.
add sumac and lemon juice instead of rice vinegar and it is how i make fattoush, one of the many ways i survive summer.
The Tomato Kibbee recipe is great!
Loved reading your post this morning!!! Beautiful food and writing!
Any chance your Abood family has traces to Scranton, PA? My grandmother was an Abood….. Came from Zahle with her family when she was young.
Hi Kathy! Not that I know of. The Aboods in my line come from Diermimas, in southern Lebanon.
I thought we were the only ones to sop up the juice at the bottom of the salad or pour it over a slice of bread.
You are so not alone!
What a lovely post. I enjoy reading your post because it always give me an idea of making dishes. Thanks for sharing
Hello ! I love this recipe !thank you so much . Do you make sfoof? (Lebanese yellow cake with turmeric ) ? I’ve tried so many recipes but I was never really satisfied …thanks !
Hi Lara–you know, sfoof is on my hit list, so please stay tuned for that recipe. I’d love to know what you look for in a good sfoof cake (why have the ones you tried disappointed?).
It looks so colourful and healthy! Really nice salad.
Hello ! Hope you’re doing good 🙂 well the cake was very “compact ” (I used butter ) , but I remember that i had some really good sfoof at à lebanese restaurant , it was Light ,spongy and fluffy ,and when I asked for the recipe (that I never got ) they said that they use vegetable oil , powdered milk and anise water.
Thank you for the details Lara, very helpful! Stay tuned…
It looks so delicious and yummy! It is so healthy and nutritious too! I love this recipe so much! Thanks for sharing this great recipe! Have a nice day ahead
This looks delicious and my daughter LOVES tomatoes so we will definitely be trying this!
Wow this salad looks awesome. It should be pretty easy to keep for a picnic if leaving the crisps out until ready to eat. I think it would also help the flavors marry together.
Fantastic photos, Maureen!
Thanks Tara–it’s such a good salad!
I am so happy to find you. I know Alvy Kennan and Marion and Kathy and that’s how I was introduced to you. I attempt to cook Lebanese food but it never tastes like my Mom’s of blessed memory. Now with your help and recipes, I’m excited to impress my brothers. Thank you. Janice Atiyeh
Hi there and thank you so much Janice!