This is a great salad for a healthy lunch that you can easily pack if you are on the go. Inspired by Italian Panzanella and Fattoush from the Middle East we combined tomatoes, chickpeas, roasted garlic, red onion, cucumbers, avocados, olives and toasted flatbread. We finish this with fresh herbs and a simple vinaigrette. Included is also a Greek yogurt dressing recipe as an additional option with the salad. Read our full story for other options with pita bread and roast chicken.
What is a Levantine Salad?
Levantine salad origins come from Middle Eastern cuisine. Yup, the same place that created hummus. Hummus is deeply rooted in many Eastern European food cultures including Greece and Turkey. Levantine cuisine covers the area from Cyprus and Syria down through Israel and Jordan. The Mediterranean countries share some commonalities. If you started from Italy, their version is the Panzanella salad. Moving eastward there are the Greek salads. Next is our Levantine salad. Then popular in the Middle East is the Fattoush salad. There are many similarities and subtle differences. I was thinking about a raw salad similar to our Mediterranean Salad that we did early on, but slightly different. During the holidays, our family was very fortunate to have eaten well. But, my passion is cooking so we always have something to eat every day.
A great addition to your Paleo diet…
This is a vegetarian dish, but flavors were amazing and the dish was satisfying for a light lunch. We also did another version with shredded chicken if you wanted to add a protein. What I love most were all the bright colors. The roasted garlic was done ahead in olive oil. You can find the method for fast easy roasted garlic here. Or you could replace it with another ingredient. That is the great thing about salads. Here are some potential superfoods that could be potential replacements:
- Bell Peppers – Red bell peppers contain lycopin which is a powerful antioxidant. They also contain folate which we talked about before. It is an essential B vitamin during pregnancy and growth periods. In addition bells have vitamin C, K, A, E, B6 and fiber.
- Carrots – We always associate carrots with beta-carotene or vitamin A to aide vision. Similar to bell peppers, carrots also have minerals, fiber, folate, calcium and vitamin C.
- Radish – There are numerous types of radishes. They are all very essential to a healthy diet. The common red radish is known to help with digestion and it contains vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber.
PREPARING THE LEVANTINE SALAD
Make sure to wash all of your vegetables. I usually always keep roasted garlic cloves around, so I didn’t add it to the preparation time. However, it doesn’t take very long and it cools fast. The poaching oil becomes a garlic oil that you can use for other portions of this recipe like the vinaigrette and the yogurt dressing.
Prep all the ingredients then toss together except for the flatbread. Refrigerate the salad until till ready to use. flatbread, but store at room temperature. Add this to the salad right before serving.
This is a very basic vinaigrette. I actually used a honey dijon stoneground mustard because this is what I had in the refrigerator. I didn’t want to waste it. However, please note that the recipe lists dijon mustard and honey as separate ingredients. Combine all ingredients and whisk till you have an emulsion. It will not be fully emulsified, but the mustard will be enough of a binder that it won’t separate. Refrigerate until ready to use.
I love the combination of a creamy dressing with a vinaigrette. The idea started when I was a kid growing up and the occasional encounter with salad bars. One of the most memorable were the Friday night jaunts to Pizza Hut when they were a sit down restaurant with the mini-arcade and salad bar. The combination of red wine vinegar with olive oil and ranch dressing is what caused me to embrace salads because you cover all bases. There is the flavor, acid, creaminess and mouthfeel that works wonders with crisp fresh vegetables.
For the yogurt dressing combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
PLATING THE SALAD
Add vinaigrette to the salad based on preference. Toss with the toasted flatbread or pita bread. Distribute between plates and serve with yogurt dressing.
*Tasting Notes: For the salad I bought some Greek flatbread. I cut it in half so the bread was thinner, then toasted it. I also bought some whole wheat pita for sandwiches since I made enough salad for eight people. One or the other will suffice.
*Tips: This salad is easy to pack into a small container to take with you on the go. Just pack the vinaigrette separately.
I also got a roast chicken because my kids typically want more than a salad. With the chicken and yogurt dressing, they loved it.
Here is the same salad with shredded chicken breast and organic baby arugula.
PITA BREAD SANDWICH
Start by shredding some cooked chicken breast. Lightly toast pita bread then cut it in half. Open up the pocket and spoon some dressing on the bottom. Layer chicken and salad into the pita. I also had some baby arugula leftover so I added that as well.
*CrossEat Tip: If you any type of greens to use up like spinach, kale, Swiss chard or in my case arugula, add them to the salad.
Manju loves garbanzo beans for some reason. Weird, but she knows what’s healthy for her.
Yum! Hope enjoyed this post and it gave you some inspiration that healthy food is both fun and tasty.
In some cases, ricemonkee will share affiliate marketing strategies to help provide a means of upkeep for the website. We earn a commission when you click on a link and make a qualified purchase through our Amazon Associate or other affiliate links. We only promote products that we use or that we believe in. There is no additional cost to you, and we appreciate your support.
Shenandoah Valley Organic Focus is a partnership of multi-generational family farms. They abide by the philosophy of humanly raised chickens that are fed vegetarian diets with no GMO’s. Their commitment to organic, sustainable farming methods and traceable birds spans 60 individual family farms. Take a look at their chicken products online today and taste the difference.
We did receive a whole chicken in our custom curated bundle from Crowd Cow. The choice was either to roast whole or break it down to see how each part of the chicken cooks. We chose the latter and it was impressive. Even the breast after pan crisping the skin and roasting was tender, juicy and full of clean chicken flavor. We did not even brine the chicken. Highly recommend this product. We will have the chicken recipe in an upcoming post. Thanks for reading!