Middle Eastern Syrian Salad

This flavorful Middle Eastern Syrian Salad is dressed in lemon juice, fresh garlic, olive oil, and mint.

syrian salad

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

Liz chopping red peppers

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.

Syrian Salad 10 WEB

Once ingredients are all in the bowl, take your fresh lemon and squeeze the juice over the top, catching any seeds.

Syrian Salad 12 WEB

Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the za’atar and fresh herbs.

Liz grating garlic over syrian salad

Then use a microplane to grate the raw garlic cloves over the top.

Syrian Salad 16 WEB

Finish by drizzling the olive oil over the top before tossing to evenly coat.

Syrian salad.

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.

Middle Eastern Syrian salad.

More Fresh Salads

Eat It, Like It, Share It!

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.

Liz enjoying Syrian 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.

Syrian Salad 20 WEB

Middle Eastern Syrian Salad

4.62 stars average
This easy to make and flavorful Middle Eastern Syrian Salad is dressed with lemon juice, fresh garlic, olive oil and mint.
PREP: 10 minutes
TOTAL: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Recipe Video


  • 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.


Calories: 120kcalCarbohydrates: 16.9gProtein: 3.5gFat: 5.2gSaturated Fat: 0.8gSodium: 11mgFiber: 4.6g

33 thoughts on “Middle Eastern Syrian Salad”

  1. 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.

    1. 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!

  2. This recipe looks delicious! I have spearmint growing at my house. Can I use spearmint instead of mint in the salad?

      1. 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!!!

  3. 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?

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    1. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!!

    1. 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.

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