This flavorful Middle Eastern Syrian Salad is dressed in lemon juice, fresh garlic, olive oil, and mint.
I grew up shadowing my Great Aunt Vieve as she would prepare this delicious, fresh, and addictive Lebanese salad. Dressing the salad directly on the greens, I sat in awe as she seasoned, tested, and adjusted. No measuring, no teaspoons, just instinct. Of course, I don’t expect everyone to able to use instinct to season things, so I’ve figured out the perfect measurements to make this delicious Middle Eastern Syrian Salad.
- Romaine: Crisp and clean, the perfect base for the salad is romaine lettuce, but you could also use green leaf.
- Tomato: Juicy and sweet, they add color and sweet flavor.
- Radish: We like to use white radishes in the salad, which are a bit milder in flavor than your smaller red radish, but still add a good crunch.
- Red pepper: The sweetest and healthiest of the bell peppers.
- Cucumber: Mild and sweet in flavor, I like to peel it before adding it to the salad as the skin can be quite bitter.
- Fresh herbs: The parsley and mint balance each other out and add a sweet and peppery flavor to the salad.
- Lemon: Fresh lemon juice adds a wonderful citrusy, acidic taste to help dress the salad.
- Garlic: Raw garlic is chalk full of health benefits, but also adds a pungent flavor to the salad dressing.
- Olive oil: Mild in flavor, this heart healthy oil is a common base for salad dressings and vinaigrettes.
- Za’atar: A blend of warm spices like oregano, dried sumac, salt, and more.
How to Make Middle Eastern Syrian Salad
Start your Syrian salad by washing all of your fresh produce, cutting your lettuce, tomatoes, red pepper, radishes, and cucumber and tossing them into a large bowl.
Once ingredients are all in the bowl, take your fresh lemon and squeeze the juice over the top, catching any seeds.
Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the za’atar and fresh herbs.
Then use a microplane to grate the raw garlic cloves over the top.
Finish by drizzling the olive oil over the top before tossing to evenly coat.
Serve and enjoy your Middle Eastern Syrian Salad!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a Lebanese salad made of?
A typical salad is very simple and contains romaine, cucumber, and tomato. My husband doesn’t eat cucumbers or tomatoes, so our typical salad will also include red peppers and radishes. But you could add carrots, yellow peppers, red onion, red leaf, whatever you have!
Does dried or fresh mint matter?
Dried mint works really well during the non-growing season! Either one is just fine!
What is in a Fattoush salad?
A Fattoush salad uses many of the same ingredients, as it is also a Middle Eastern salad, but it’s topped with pita chips.
More Fresh Salads
- Spelt Tabbouleh with Jalapeño Vinaigrette
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Italian Garden Salad with Fennel
- Greek Brown Rice Salad
- Chicken Tawook Fattoush Salad
Did you try this recipe and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your salad.
Whether you need a new salad to serve with dinner, or want something light and fresh for lunch, my family’s Syrian salad will hit the spot.
Your fork is waiting.
Middle Eastern Syrian Salad
- 6 cups 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)
- 1 lemon (juiced )
- 2 cloves garlic (grated/crushed)
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons za’atar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place salad ingredients romaine through cucumber, in a large bowl.
- Add fresh parsley and mint.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon around the bowl, carefully holding your opposite hand underneath to catch the seeds.
- Grate garlic directly over the salad using a microplane.
- Drizzle olive oil around the edge of the salad (this will help ensure the salad is dressed evenly as you toss.)
- Using, hands, gently toss the salad together. Sprinkle with zaatar, salt and pepper to taste.
33 thoughts on “Middle Eastern Syrian Salad”
When I lived in Cali, I used to ride my bike to a Lebanese restaurant that had the best salad. I’m wondering if they used Zatar, which I never heard of it before. I’m thinking that could be the secret. But it could be the garlic too. I’m gonna give it a try.
Za’atar is an amazing spice that is used in a lot of Lebanese and Middle Eastern cooking, give it a go!
The cucumber says peeled but your photo it isn’t peeled. Confusing/not good recipe. Taste is just ok.
Good Morning Alison! You’re welcome to use a traditional cucumber that you would peel or, like I did in this photo, use an English cucumber that is wax-free and doesn’t need to be peeled. Right now it’s cucumber season in Michigan so I’ve been using freshly picked pickling cucumbers that also don’t need to be peeled. :) Use what you have on hand is what I say! In terms of the recipe not being good or just tasting ok, can you explain a bit more? This is one of my most popular recipes of all time that millions of people have made and loved. I would love to help you brainstorm where you may have made a mistep. For example, did you add enough lemon? Did you use fresh garlic? Did you season with enough salt and pepper? Let me know – this is one of my most cherished recipes of all time I’d love to make it a win for you as well!
This recipe looks delicious! I have spearmint growing at my house. Can I use spearmint instead of mint in the salad?
Yes spearmint is the right mint! You want to avoid peppermint!
So happy that I found your website!!! I grew up in metro Detroit all my life, then took a job transfer at 47yrs old to Maryland…can’t just run out to the tons of middle eastern restaurants we have there or to my friends house for home made middle eastern food, so I had to learn to make the food I love so much!! Your site and recipes bring me back home!! THANK YOU!!!
This looks great! I see red onion in the photo at the top of the page, but don’t see any mention of it in the recipe. Does it make a big difference whether or not it’s included?
Nope – sometimes I use it sometimes I dont! :)
When do you add the dried herbs or do you actually use fresh mint?
Either one works!!
This is very good! My grandparents came over from Lebanon and I watched my Sitto makes this many times. Its been a staple in my home, too. However, I don’t ever remember her using za’atar. It’s a nice addition to the dressing!
That’s definitely an addition I’ve added because it has sumac in it and I love the flavor. :) I hope you love this! PS: Did you call your grandma Jiddo?
I called my grandfather Jiddo. So glad to have found your page. Really enjoy these recipes!
<3 I called mine Jid.
This is a great salad but the authentic recipe calls for Sumac not Za’atar. I tried I.T with Za’atar and it’s good but not nearly as good as with Sumac. It’s a 5 star recipe with Sumac but a 4 star with Za’ata.
That’s what’s so great about cooking – you can make it your own to suit your own tastebuds. Glad you found a way to make it your own!
Thank you for your kind comment! I hope you love the salad!
I packed this salad for lunch this week and my bestie at work loved it so much that I shared the recipe with her. I hope you don’t mind.
That makes me so happy!!!! Thanks for sharing!
What great timing that this was just reposted! I am in charge of an annual banquet at church that features food from around the world and this fit perfectly with the theme. I have a garden full of fresh mint to use and over 70 people enjoyed this salad last night with almost none left over. Thanks for such a delicious and healthy recipe.
Oh wow that is so wonderful! I’m so glad your church enjoyed this salad! We make it almost every night for dinner. :) I hope you get to try other recipes of mine!
Thank you for this recipe! It was very interesting to try. My five year old asked for more. The raw garlic had a bite- I never thought Id say this, but next time I’d use a little less. I didn’t think the mint added enough to the salad to justify its expense (we’re on a tight budget tho). My spice shop had the spice spelled Zahtar for some reason and again I was interested to try it but not sure this is the fattoush flavor profile I’ve enjoyed in the many Mediterranean restaurants here (we have a large Lebanese population here). I’ll keep looking for another fattoush recipe. So glad tho to have learned about grating garlic- never tried that!
Erin I totally understand about the fresh mint… we only use it in the summer when it’s growing like a weed in our backyard. Dried mint works really well during the non-growing season! As for the garlic- did you grate it with a microplane? If you do it that way it literally will melt into the vinaigrette. Just a few tips as raw garlic is super healthy. As for za’atar, it varies quite a bit brand to brand so keep experimenting! This is my favorite brand: http://amzn.to/1Rg5ca8
We had this for dinner tonight. I added some roasted chickpeas to mine, and served with toasted whole wheat pitas for a great vegetarian dinner. Thank you!
That sounds incredible – so glad you enjoyed it!
I’ve been craving this salad ever since I had it back in March and finally bought all the ingredients to make it this week!
Ahhh!! Yay!!! I hope you love it!
Can I do this without oil?
You could but it won’t taste as good. :)
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!!
I have made this 3 times and it is good..but not like my grandmothers? It looks just like hers..but the lemon and garlic is just a little too bitter? My grandmother came over from Lebanon when she was 50 and she did not speak English or change her recipes to North American standards. She made pita bread that was sooo good and use egg whites.
Oh wow Steve that’s incredible! I wonder if she used garlic powder instead of fresh or perhaps citric acid instead of fresh lemon juice?