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Lebanese Chicken Salad
© Frances Janisch

Lebanese Chicken Salad


Don't be put off by the long ingredient list here. All are available at supermarkets, and the salad is easy to assemble.


  1. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  3. 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  4. 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  6. 1 teaspoon ground sumac or 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)


  1. 2 large pita breads, split horizontally
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  3. 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  4. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  5. 1/3 cup canola oil
  6. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 large romaine lettuce heart, cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
  9. 1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  10. 1/2 small European cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  11. 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  12. 1/2 cup purslane or watercress leaves
  13. 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  14. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sumac or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  1. In a blender, combine the olive oil, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, sumac, coriander and cayenne; puree until smooth. Pour the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade; reserve the marinade. Grill the thighs over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally and brushing with the marinade until browned and cooked through, about 18 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°. Bake the pitas directly on the rack for 10 minutes, or until dry and crisp but not browned. Let cool, then break into 1-inch pieces.
  4. In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in the canola and olive oils until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, purslane, mint and sumac with 1/2 cup of the dressing. Add the pita pieces and toss; add more dressing if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the salad to a platter, top with the chicken and pass the remaining dressing separately.

Suggested Pairing

A crisp Italian Pinot Grigio will complement this tangy, spicy salad.