Quarantine Kitchen: Chef Simone Saleh Lawson’s Fatoush celebrates colors of the season

by | Dec 6, 2020

This year has been full of unprecedented times and situations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families and individuals will be cooking at home this holiday season. That’s why we are bringing the dishes to you all month long in our Quarantine Kitchen series. We talked to twenty-three chefs who willingly shared some of their favorite dishes to prepare for the holidays. Stay tuned Dec. 1 through 24 on the blog as well as our social media channels for a new dish to feature in your home each day and let’s get cooking!

Ham, turkey, stuffing and other sides sometimes get the majority of the attention for a holiday feast. Chef Simone Saleh Lawson from Sassool restaurant offers us a dish that celebrates the colors of the season.

“Fatoush is an authentic Lebanese salad that is eaten year round, BUT we love to highlight it around Christmas because of its colors,” said Lawson. “The red from the tomato, onion and radish, and the green from the romaine, cucumbers and purslane make it a festive and healthy side to the dinner table. It is different from a regular tossed salad, not only because of the vegetable ingredients like purslane, but also because we use pure pomegranate molasses and dried sumac in the dressing. This combo gives the salad a nice zesty tang and touch of sweetness. We only use the State Farmer’s Market for our produce, so all vegetables listed come fresh to our restaurant each day.”

Fatoush is offered at their resturant, or you can make it at home with the recipe below.

Lebanese Fatoush Salad


  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and leaves separated
  • 3 small cucumbers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 5 radishes
  • 1 bunch purslane
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses


  • Wash and dry your vegetables fully before starting to chop.
  • On a cutting board, chop the romaine lettuce into 1-inch pieces and add to a large mixing bowl.
  • Slice the cucumber and radish into thin rounds and slice red onion into thin slices. Add to mixing bowl.
  • Cut the tomato into ½-inch pieces and add to mixing bowl.
  • Add the purslane leaves to the bowl.
  • In a small mixing bowl, add the lemon juice, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Whisk together.
  • Pour the dressing over the vegetables, and add the salt and sumac.
  • Toss to dress all the vegetables.
  • Taste before plating, adding more salt or sumac if necessary
  • OPTIONAL: Garnish with pomegranate seeds for an extra festive touch

Chef Lawson graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in business management and entrepreneurship. She and her sister Noelle manage the day-to-day operations of the restaurants located in Raleigh and Cary.

“It makes me excited to be able to talk to new customers, I am proud to tell them about the food and the restaurant,” said Lawson, “because it is food I believe in, and a history with tradition that will live on.”

In addition to Fatoush, the restaurant carries a large variety of other traditional Lebanese sides and offers platters and meals for all your holiday needs.