Great salads begin with fresh vegetables that have been rinsed and stored properly. I believe the key to crisp, crunchy salads is rinsing and storing the vegetables a day in advance to ensure that they are firm and cool before you begin chopping.
As in other parts of a Lebanese meal, you may find that the salads in this chapter incorporate many of the vegetables that you use daily in unexpected ways. Cabbage and Beet Salad dressed with a flavorful, garlic vinaigrette replaces traditional cabbage salads, or my unique Eggplant Salad, where buttery pieces of eggplant melt in your mouth and tangy pickled turnips tickle your tongue, tossed together with freshly chopped vegetables in an olive oil–vinegar dressing. Toasted pita croutons coated in olive oil and sumak replace ordinary croutons with a delightful effect. These salads are favorites around my home, and I know they will become favorites around yours, too!