Balela is a savory Middle Eastern Bean Salad made with chickpeas, black beans, and tomatoes. It’s easy to make and is naturally vegan and gluten-free!
Does this Balela salad look familiar to you?
Even if you’ve never tried it in a restaurant, you may have seen this Middle Eastern Bean Salad in the refrigerated case at Trader Joe’s!
Personally, I’ve been buying it for years. It makes a great lunch. And it can be paired with other favorites such as stuffed grape leaves, hummus and veggies, or a simple green salad.
But one day I asked myself why I keep buying it rather than making it myself.
So I jotted down the ingredients from the package and went to work.
And guess what? It turns out Balela is incredibly easy to make at home!
Plus it contains one of my favorite herbs, sumac.
There’s just something about this delicious spice!
It has a tangy, lemony flavor that brightens your food. If you’ve ever cooked with za’atar spice blend, it’s one of the components.
Sumac is often found in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. I recommend trying it in salads, on roasted vegetables, and sprinkled on hummus.
Are there any foods that you purchase from the market, like Middle Eastern Bean Salad, that you would like to learn how to make at home?
I would love to help, so be sure to leave a comment or send me a message!
Cooking your favorite dishes instead of buying them allows you to control the ingredients and flavors, plus it can save you a lot of money.
This Middle Eastern Bean Salad can be made as mild or spicy as you like. The heat comes from cayenne pepper. For me, a little goes a long way. But if your bottle of cayenne has been sitting around a while, it may have lost some of it’s kick. The moral of the story is to take a tiny taste before adding it to your salad. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out!
You can make this dish ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve it. In my opinion, it tastes even better the next day!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, be sure to let me know!
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Middle Eastern Bean Salad (Balela)
Balela is a savory Middle Eastern Bean Salad. Enjoy it as a meal, or serve it with other favorites like a green salad, stuffed grape leaves, or hummus and veggies.
For the salad:
Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake to combine. (Or you can whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.)
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. The salad will keep well for several days.
Add the cayenne pepper sparingly and taste test as you go. You can always add more, but you can't take it out!