Toasted Pita & Bean Salad

September/October 2009

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (78 votes)

Beans add protein to this tasty riff on the classic Middle Eastern salad fattoush, made with lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, mint and pita bread.

"Delish! The beans complimented the greens very well, better than I thought. I loved the dressing too. Definately will make it again, without the mint though. "
Toasted Pita & Bean Salad

Makes: 4 servings, about 2 cups each

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 2 6-inch whole-wheat pita breads, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ground toasted cumin seeds (see Tip)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans, well drained and slightly warmed (see Tip)
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes or 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup sliced romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread pita pieces out on a large baking sheet. Bake until crisp and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool on the pan.
  3. Mash garlic and salt with the back of a chef’s knife to form a paste. Transfer to a bowl, add lemon juice and ground cumin and whisk to blend. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking continually. Season with pepper.
  4. Place beans, tomatoes and cucumber in a serving bowl. Add the toasted pita, lettuce, feta, parsley, mint and the dressing; toss to mix. Season with more pepper. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the dressing (Step 3) for up to 3 days.
  • Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes. Let cool. Grind into a powder in a spice mill or blender.
  • How to Cook a Pot of Beans
  • 1. Pick over 1 pound dry beans to remove any pebbles or broken beans and rinse well under cold water. Place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak for 4 to 24 hours.
  • 2. When you’re ready to cook the beans, heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 small chopped onion, 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 chopped celery stalk (optional). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup hot water. When the beans are nearly soft, stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (Do not drain: beans are best stored in their cooking liquid and the liquid can be used in some recipes.)
  • Makes about 6 cups.


Per serving: 442 calories; 21 g fat (7 g sat, 10 g mono); 33 mg cholesterol; 47 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 13 g fiber; 697 mg sodium; 658 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Folate (49% daily value), Vitamin A (38% dv), Vitamin C (30% dv), Calcium (28% dv), Iron (22% dv), Magnesium (21% dv), Potassium (19% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 medium fat meat, 2 fat

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