Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shepherd's Salad with Crunchy Pita Croutons

Shepherd's Salad is one of my favorite things to eat when we go to our local Turkish restaurant. It's also one of my favorite things to bring to a BBQ or Summer Pot Luck party (just pack the pita chips separately add at the last minute). It's quick and delicious make-ahead recipe. Crisp and cooling, just what you need on a hot summer day (here's to hoping NY'ers).

Shepherd's Salad with Crispy Pita chips
Serves 4-6 people

2 teaspoons paprika
2 large whole wheat pitas, cut into wedges
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon, squeezed
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c olive oil, plus more for brushing on pita
1 large seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
3 medium tomatoes, seeded, squeezed of excess juice and chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded, deveined and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 c parsley, chopped
3/4 c feta cheese (our favorite is Bulgarian Feta, it's inexpensive and delicious!)!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of each pita with olive oil (about 1/2 tablespoon of oil for each pita). Sprinkle the pitas evenly on both sides with paprika and salt. Cut the pitas into 8 wedges. Separate the two layers of the pitas. Place triangles in a single layer on a aluminum foil lined cookie sheet. Bake until crisp-about 8 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and parsley. Pour over the dressing and toss to evenly coat.

Top with crumbled feta and pita chips.

Note: If you are making this ahead of time and want your veggies to stay very crisp, leave off the dressing, the feta and the pita chips. Assemble everything right before service.

This salad can be fully assembled ahead of time and will keep in your fridge (minus the pita chips)for about 3 days.

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