Middle Eastern Salad with Lemon, Mint and Garlic (Syrian Salad)

This flavorful Lebanese salad is dressed with lemon juice, fresh garlic, olive oil and mint.
Lebanese Salad - The Lemon Bowl

**Recipe featured on Cooking Channel website – Finalist for Perfect 5 Recipe Contest.**

Considering the theme of The Lemon Bowl, it is probably no surprise that my favorite and most common salad contains all of my favorite ingredients: lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. This is, of course, the basis of a Syrian (or Lebanese) salad.

Za'atar - The Lemon BowlI grew up shadowing my Great Aunt Vieve as she would prepare this delicious, fresh and addictive salad. Dressing the salad directly on the greens, I sat in awe as she seasoned, tasted and adjusted. No measuring, no teaspoons, just instinct. Utensils were no where in sight. Instead, she would simply use her hands (your greatest tool in the kitchen) to gently toss the salad, being careful not to bruise the lettuce and herbs.

Although I have no proof, I am a firm believer that my Great Aunt Vieve lived a long and healthy life due to the daily consumption of raw garlic. (Cooked whole garlic has very little, if any, medicinal benefits.) Not to brag, but I may or may not have written a research paper about the health benefits of garlic for my International Cuisine elective at Boston University. Shocker.

When consuming a rainbow of produce, don’t forget about the allium (or white) family which includes garlic, onions, scallions, etc. Chopping, mincing, crushing and grating garlic is the perfect way to release the essential oils and increase the flavor profile of any dish. I eat raw garlic in my salad because it tastes good, but here are some added health benefits:
-Containts anti-oxidant properties and is a source of selenium
-Lowers blood pressure
-Prevents blood clots and thus reduces the risk of stroke
-Reduces the risk of cancer, especially in the digestive system
-Lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol
-Helps regulate blood sugar levels
Syrian Salad - The Lemon BowlA typical Syrian salad is very simple: romaine, cucumber and tomato. My husband doesn’t eat cucumbers or tomatoes so our typical salad will also include red peppers and radishes. This week at the Farmer’s Market I bought the white, spicy radishes but you could add anything you wish – carrots, celery, yellow peppers, red leaf, you name it. Heck, this dressing would be delicious on roasted cauliflower. Whatever you do, don’t forget the raw garlic.
Your fork is waiting.
Middle Eastern Salad with Lemon, Mint and Garlic (Syrian Salad)
Prep time
Total time
This flavorful Lebanese salad is dressed with lemon juice, fresh garlic, olive oil and mint.
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4
  • 6 c romaine - chopped
  • 1 large tomato - chopped
  • 4 white radishes - thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper - diced
  • 1 peeled cucumber - chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped mint or 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves - grated/crushed
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons za'atar (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place your salad ingredients of choice in a large bowl.
  2. Add fresh herbs.
  3. Squeeze juice of one lemon around the bowl, carefully holding your opposite hand underneath to catch the seeds.
  4. Grate garlic directly over the salad using a microplane.
  5. Drizzle olive oil around the edge of the salad (this will help ensure the salad is dressed evenly as you toss.)
  6. Using, hands, gently toss the salad together. Sprinkle with zaatar, salt and pepper to taste.
(Excellent source of mono-unsaturated fatty acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin A.)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 120 Fat: 5.2g Saturated fat: .8g Carbohydrates: 16.9g Sodium: 11mg Fiber: 4.6g Protein: 3.5g Cholesterol: 0


  1. says

    I can not wait to get my hands on some za’atar! I love raw garlic on my salads with lemon & olive oil just like this!! So fresh & perfect!!


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