This chopped salad with fresh herbs and toasted pita is a favorite spring and summer salad. It is a great last-minute dish as it requires only a handful of ingredients to compose: juicy grape tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, sharp red onion, fresh herbs, Feta cheese, toasted pita bread, and, a zesty lemon dressing.
The addition of bread to salads and soups is very common in the Mediterranean cuisine. Not only it is a great way to use up day-old bread, but also it is an ingenious and frugal way to stretch a meal to feed the family. The Tuscan tomato and bread soup, the classic ribollita soup, and the Italian panzanella salad are classic examples of this technique. The very popular Greek panzanella salad is another delicious salad that utilizes toasted, well-seasoned bread.
Any vegetables can be added to this salad–a couple of handfuls of crisp lettuce or arugula would actually be a lovely addition–and of course you can use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand: parsley, mint, dill, or even cilantro. This time I tossed the pita with za’atar, a citrusy, aromatic mix of herbs very popular in the Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. All ingredients are tossed with a simple lemon vinaigrette and a fresh, delicious and completely uncomplicated salad is ready for you to enjoy!
Ingredients for chopped salad with fresh herbs & toasted pita
- 2 tsp. za’atar
- 3 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 6-inch pitas, sliced in half crosswise and ripped into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Persian cucumbers, cut lengthwise, then crosswise ½ inch thick
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ¼ cup small red onion, sliced paper thin
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
- ¼ cup fresh mint, minced
- 1 TBSP. fresh dill (optional)
- ½ cup Greek feta cheese, crumbled
- For the lemon vinaigrette
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
- 1 med clove of garlic, minced very finely
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a small bowl, mix the za’atar with the extra virgin olive oil. Cut the pita into pieces and add them to the bowl. Toss well to coat and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast the pita, tossing once, until golden and crisp, about 10–15 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
- To make the vinaigrette, place everything in a glass jar and shake well to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Place the vegetables and the fresh herbs in a large bowl. Pour two thirds of the vinaigrette over the vegetables and mix well. Next, add the pita chips and the crumbled feta and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If necessary, add more vinaigrette. Serve the salad at once.
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