At Mississippi Market, we celebrate the rich cultural diversity and food and farming traditions that immigrants bring to our community. Today we’re highlighting cultural food traditions from Iraq, a country whose cuisine staples include goat, lamb, and chicken; grains such as bulgar wheat, barley, and rice; fresh vegetables; and an array of aromatic spices. We highly recommend trying the following two vegetarian recipes for fresh fattoush and tabbouleh. These salads go great with homemade hummus, falafel, lamb meatballs, and chicken or beef kabobs and gyros.

Fattoush

A simple chopped salad made with toasted pita chips drizzled in olive oil vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of pita bread
  • Olive oil
  • ½ tsp sumac, more for later
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heart of Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 5 radishes, stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, stems removed

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Lemon juice from 1½ lemons, freshly squeezed
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground sumac
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice

Preparation

1. Toast the pita bread in the oven or a counter-top toaster oven until it is crisp but not browned. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. Break the pita bread into pieces, and place in the heated oil. Fry briefly until browned, tossing frequently. Sprinkle pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and ½ tsp of sumac on browned pita chips. Remove the pita chips from the heat and place on paper towels to drain.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, sliced radish, and parsley.

3. To make the lemon vinaigrette, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, and spices in a small bowl. Alternatively, mix all ingredients in a small glass jar, cover tightly with lid, and vigorously shake ingredients together.

4. When ready to serve, drizzle salad with lemon vinaigrette and toss lightly. Prior to serving, add pita chips and more sumac, then toss one more time. Transfer to small serving bowls or plates.

Recipe adapted from The Mediterranean Dish (themediterraneandish.com).

Tabbouleh

A zesty, herb-heavy salad that highlights bright colorful flavors.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup bulk bulgur wheat
  • Lemon juice from 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1-2 large bunches of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 large bunch of mint, chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • A few whole mint leaves for garnish

Preparation

1. Place bulgur wheat in a small bowl and cover ½ inch with boiling water. Set aside to soak until softened but still chewy, roughly 20 minutes.

2. While the bulgur wheat is soaking, juice lemon and chop parsley and mint. Slice scallions thinly and chop the tomatoes and cucumber.

3. When the bulgur wheat is done soaking, drain off any excess water and place in large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 pinch of salt. Toss to coat the grains. Add the herbs and vegetables to the bowl with the bulgur wheat.

4. Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil, another 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon ground allspice to the bowl. Toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.

5. To serve, garnish tabbouleh with a few whole mint sprigs and drizzle with additional olive oil. Serve at room temperature with flatbread crackers, fresh pita bread, or baked pita chips.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn (thekitchn.com).

View other posts in this series

Celebrate Community: Libya
Celebrate Community: Iran
Celebrate Community: Yemen
Celebrate Community: Syria
Celebrate Community: Sudan
Celebrate Community: Somalia