Lebanese Salad (Salata)

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My traditional Lebanese Salad (salata) is a crisp salad of romaine, cucumbers, onion, and tomato with a garlicky, lemony vinaigrette. Mouthwatering! We eat this one almost every day.

Lebanese salad in a white bowl
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When my mother used to say “we had a salad on the table every night growing up,” Lebanese salad is what she was referring to. No matter what other foods are on the plate, this salad is so versatile, so fresh and crisp and bright, that it “goes down easy!” with everything.

I love this salad, also known as salata (SUH-luh-tuh), for the crave-able flavors it brings to the plate: all of the fresh, crisp romaine and veggies dressed in a very lemony vinaigrette. This is the salad I make the most, as do many cooks of Lebanese recipes.

There are a couple of versions of Lebanese Salad—one version is a “village salad” that contains no lettuce. My Lebanese salad recipe is for the version made with romaine lettuce and just a few other ingredients. Here’s how it’s done, with ease:

Ingredients for Lebanese Salad on a board

Ingredients to make Lebanese Salad

Romaine lettuce. Choose big, fresh, leafy heads of romaine. The lettuce is the centerpiece and must be fresh, cold, and crisp when eaten!

Red onion or sweet vidalia onion.

Persian cucumbers. These narrow, smaller cukes are sweet and have few seeds.

Tomatoes. In summer, I’m all about beefsteak, cut in juice chunks. Rest of the year here in Michigan, I go for bright red cherry or grape tomatoes and halve them.

Fresh Mint. THE Lebanese food flavor maker to beat all flavor makers!

For the vinaigrette: Garlic, lemon, salt, extra virgin olive oil (try these, from Lebanon!), dried mint

Lebanese salad being tossed in a white bowl

How to make salad, Lebanese-style

Step 1: Remove the Romaine leaves from the core. Lay the leaves in a stack. Slice down the center lengthwise along the rib to halve the leaves. Then, cut crosswise into pieces. If these still seem too big, give them a little chop to cut the large pieces smaller.

Romaine lettuce cut down the length of the rib on a board

Step 2: Chop the other vegetables. Cut the cukes into small wedges. Cut the tomatoes in chunks or halve cherry tomatoes. Slice thin strips of onion; make these pretty by first halving the onion, then cutting the slices across from the core or stem end.

Step 3: Make the vinaigrette. I like to grate the garlic on a microplane grater (used for zest)—this makes such quick work of mincing garlic! You can adjust the garlic level here; one large clove is my go-to for a family salata. Whisk the grated garlic with fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, dried mint, and olive oil.

Dried mint in a bowl for vinaigrette

Step 4: Finely chop the mint. Use dry fresh herbs for the easiest chop that won’t clump as you chop.

Step 5: Get your big salad bowl out and toss the romaine and mint with vegetables and then the vinaigrette.

Ingredients for Lebanese Salad (Salata) in a white bowl

How to store Lebanese Salad

Once the salad is dressed, it is best served right away. Leftover salata is truly loved in our household, eaten casually with some flatbread or pita rather than served at another meal, because it becomes very soft and “marinated” with the vinaigrette. Store leftover salad in an airtight container.

How to make ahead

To make the salad ahead up to one day ahead, prepare the lettuce and all of the vegetables. Keep them chilled, undressed, until you’re ready to serve the salad. Dress the salad just before serving. Store the undressed salad in zip lock bags, airtight containers, or right in the salad bowl, covered with plastic wrap.

Make the vinaigrette up to 5 days in advance. I keep vinaigrettes on hand so salads with the Lebanese flavors we love come together very quickly. I make a double batch (or more!) in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator. Because the olive oil solidifies when chilled, take the vinaigrette out of the fridge a good hour before using so the olive oil will come to room temperature. To speed this process up, run the jar under warm water and shake it several times to take the chill off the dressing faster.

Romaine, tomatoes and onion and mint in a bowl for salad

What to serve with Lebanese Salad

This salata recipe is so versatile! That’s because the flavors are so bright, fresh, and easy that they pair with many, many meals. Chicken, beef, fish, lamb: yes! Kababs, shawarma. Grilled vegetables. Baba gannouj, labneh, my hummus recipe. I could list my entire website, minus dessert, here! Though we kind of eat this salad for dessert…the juices at the bottom of the bowl are so delicious that we practically fight over who gets to dip a piece of flatbread or pita in to soak up the goodness when dinner is done.

Lebanese Salad is delicious on its own too, as a light meal with flatbread or pita bread. Tear off a piece of bread, pick up a bit of salad with it, and you are happy! My gluten-free friends can enjoy it too by dipping gluten-free bread.

Top Lebanese Salad with any protein or with some chickpeas or other legumes.

More Lebanese Salad recipes to enjoy

Lebanese Village Salad

Lebanese Potato Salad

Malfouf, Lebanese Cabbage Slaw

Easy Cabbage Salad with Garlic and Lemon

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Mint

Lebanese Fattoush Salad

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4.80 from 10 votes

Lebanese Salad (Salata)

My traditional Lebanese Salad (salata) is a crisp salad of romaine, cucumbers, onion, and tomato with a garlicky, lemony vinaigrette.Mouthwatering! We eat this one almost every day.
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

For the salad:

  • 8 cups coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely diced, or 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, cut in wedges
  • 1/2 small red onion or vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 leaves fresh mint, chopped

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Few grinds black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
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Instructions 

  • In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, onion, and fresh mint.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dried mint, and olive oil until combined and emulsified. Pour over the salad, toss to coat evenly, and serve.

Notes

Storage: Once the salad is dressed, it is best served right away, as leftover salata becomes very soft and “marinated” with the vinaigrette. Store leftover salad in an airtight container.
Make ahead: You can make the salad up to one day ahead. Slice and chop all of the vegetables and store them undressed in zip lock bags or airtight containers chilled in the refrigerator. You can make the vinaigrette up to 5 days in advance. Take the vinaigrette out of the fridge a good hour before using it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 593mg | Potassium: 408mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 8615IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Lebanese
Servings: 4
Calories: 155
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6 Comments

  1. Amy Areddy says:

    We also had this salad every night growing up!!! EVERY NIGHT!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      YES!!!!!

  2. Cyrina Anthony (Abowd) says:

    We grew up having salata with every dinner.
    I never knew other then our Lebanese salad dressing (lemon, garlic and olive oil) that there was other salad dressings:)
    I was in my early 20’s before I realized it.
    Thank you for all the recipes you share-truly Lebanese that my Sitto’s taught me! ♥️

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Cyrina cousin thank you so much! That is hilarious about that being the ONLY dressing! I was always surprised too about bottled dressings at other people’s homes. xoxo

  3. Christina says:

    We had this same salad every night growing up, too! The only difference is that ours had parsley instead of mint and green onion instead of red. We still make it regularly- even at Thanksgiving!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Oh my gosh yes, Thanksgiving has to be both Leb and American flavors…!