This flavorful Middle Eastern Syrian Salad is dressed in lemon juice, fresh garlic, olive oil, and mint.
Considering the theme of The Lemon Bowl, it is probably no surprise that my favorite and the 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.
I 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, tested and adjusted. No measuring, no teaspoons, just instinct. Utensils were nowhere 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.
Frequently asked questions:
Contains 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
A typical Lebanese 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. 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!
Dried mint works really well during the non-growing season! Either one works!!
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 olive oil
- 2 tablespoons za’atar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place your salad ingredients of choice in a large bowl.
- Add fresh herbs.
- 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.
When do you add the dried herbs or do you actually use fresh mint?Dried mint works really well during the non-growing season! Either one works!! (Excellent source of mono-unsaturated fatty acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin A.)
Check out more Lebanese recipes on my Pinterest board!