Middle Eastern salad

    18 min

    Based on ‘fattoush’, the colourful, crunchy salad served throughout the Middle East, this version adds tuna fish for extra flavour and protein. Make sure you grill the pitta bread until really crisp to prevent it from going soggy when mixed with the other ingredients, and serve the salad as soon as possible after making.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 4 pitta breads, about 55g (2 oz) each
    • 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 6 spring onions, sliced
    • 340g (12 oz) ripe tomatoes, chopped
    • ½ cucumber, diced
    • 1 tin of tuna in spring water, about 200 g, drained and flaked
    • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh coriander
    • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh mint
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:3min  ›  Ready in:18min 

    1. Preheat the grill to high. Warm the pitta breads under the grill for a few seconds or until puffy, then carefully split them open through the middle and open out each one like a book. Return to the grill and toast for 2–3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and crisp. Roughly tear the pitta into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
    2. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice in a large serving bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the spring onions, tomatoes, cucumber and tuna, and toss gently to coat with the oil and lemon juice.
    3. Add the parsley, coriander, mint and torn pitta pieces to the serving bowl and toss quickly to mix. Serve immediately.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E. Good source of niacin. Useful source of calcium, copper, folate, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, zinc.

    Some more ideas

    Make a more substantial salad by adding 1 can black-eyed or aduki beans, about 400 g, drained and rinsed. * For a Mediterranean-style vegetable salad, whisk together 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp grated lemon zest, 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 tsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, and salt and pepper in a large serving bowl. Quarter 250 g (8½ oz) baby plum tomatoes and add to the bowl. Add 2 medium-sized courgettes, 1 small bulb of fennel and 1 red onion, all coarsely chopped. Toss to coat the vegetables with the dressing. Serve this salad with sardine toasts for extra protein and carbohydrate. Drain 1 can sardines in olive oil, about 120 g, and roughly mash with 2 tsp drained capers. Cut 12 slices of ciabatta or French bread, each about 1 cm (½ in) thick, and toast on both sides. Spread the mashed sardines on one side of each slice. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese and grill until golden brown, about 1 minute.

    Plus points

    Tomatoes, like so many other fruits and vegetables, are a good source of the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C. They also contain lycopene, a carotenoid compound that acts as an antioxidant and which is thought to be important in helping to prevent the development of cancer. * Using both the white bulb and leaves of spring onions increases the beta-carotene provided, as this all-important antioxidant is found in the green part of the vegetable.

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