Balela Salad stars chickpeas, black beans, and fresh herbs in a lemony dressing. This Trader Joe's copycat version is ready in 15 minutes.
I first fell in love with Balela after purchasing it at Trader Joe's. This Middle Eastern chickpea salad is hearty and loaded with incredible flavors.
And while the store-bought version is convenient, it's much more affordable to make Balela Salad at home. Plus it makes a large quantity which is great for both make-ahead meals and feeding a crowd.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's a simple salad that's bursting with fresh flavors from lemon, parsley, and mint.
- It's easy to make in 15 minutes.
- It makes a large batch and is more economical than buying it pre-made from Trader Joe's.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- black beans
- fresh parsley
- fresh mint
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- lemon juice
- cayenne pepper
Sumac is one of my favorite spices. It's made from crushed sumac berries and has a bright citrusy flavor.
You may have seen it in shaker jars on tables in Persian restaurants. You can sprinkle it on sesame seed hummus and white bean dip and add it to seasonal roasted vegetables.
Balela Salad is easy to assemble. Simply combine the ingredients in a large bowl, whisk the dressing, and toss it with the salad.
This Middle Eastern style bean salad can be adjusted to suit your taste and the ingredients you have on hand.
- Skip the black beans and make it with three cans of chickpeas instead of two.
- Substitute red bell pepper in place of the tomatoes.
- Add sliced green or black olives or sun-dried tomatoes.
- Use green onions or red onion in place of the white.
- Try it with fresh chili pepper or dried Aleppo pepper instead of cayenne.
Balela can be enjoyed on its own or with other dishes. Try it with some bread and Vegan Yogurt Sauce.
Or make it a meal with Mediterranean Yellow Rice and Tomato and Zucchini Saute. It's also delicious alongside a bowl of Cold Spanish Soup.
Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
If you aren't able to purchase sumac for this recipe, you can substitute a little fresh lemon zest or lemon pepper.
Don't worry. Poison sumac is related to poison ivy and poison oak, but not the herb we're using in this recipe.
Balela is an Arabic word meaning cooked chickpeas.
More bean salad recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Balela Salad (Trader Joe's Copycat)
For the salad:
- 2-15 ounce cans chickpeas, (garbanzo beans) (3 cups), rinsed and drained
- 1-15 ounce can black beans, (1½ cups) rinsed and drained
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 dry pint grape tomatoes, (or cherry tomatoes) quartered
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
For the dressing:
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sumac
- pinch cayenne pepper*, (or to taste)
- salt, to taste
- Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake to combine. (Or whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.)
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine.
- Enjoy right away, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
Oh, Amy, you've saved the day.! I was sitting in my comfortable, cool apartment in the middle of 100degreeF, smoke-filled, rural Oregon wishing there was a delivery service that could find more than fast food in my community. So I've been looking at your recipes and found this! No Trader Joe's in area so I've never tried this salad. I had everything on hand except the sumac. I did have a fabulous Za'atar that is the Lebanese kind without thyme but adds wonderful hyssop, more sumac, I used that and am fixed for the week without a single use of heat and minimal effort on my part.
So summer in Oregon will be filled with easy Middle-eastern yum Thanks!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Kathleen! Za'atar is a great addition.
This is so AWESOME!!! I love it! I didn't have sumac though, and added extra lemon juice and Mrs. Dash lemon pepper. It was so good!! I did have a question, which I feel is a strange one, but I am on a low sodium plan for health problems, and can't eat any added extra sugar also. I wanted to buy some dried chickpeas, but noticed they had a few grams of added sugars. Will soaking them, help get rid of the sugars?
Thank you so much for these great recipes! I am so excited to try more, but would love to be able to get a bag of chickpeas! Yay!! YOU ARE WONDERFUL!!!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Patti! And to answer your question, yes, soak the beans, then discard the soaking liquid and use fresh water when you cook them. Thank you so much for your kind words! 🙂
Omg. Delicious. Makes a ton compared to what u would buy at trader Joes. I am so thrilled with this recipe! I used everything super fresh. Left out the sumac bc didnt have it. It was still super good. Going to add sumac in the next batch. Really good right when finished and super delicious if u can let it set overnight in fridge. Def a keeper. Thank u for the awesome recipe! 😊
I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Angela! And I think you're going to love the sumac. It adds a fresh hint of lemony flavor.
I've made this probably 20 times in the past two years. We LOVE it! I do usually increase the dressing by about 50%, but that's just my preference. This recipe is fantastic as is! Thank you for sharing!!!
Thank you so much, Joyce! I'm so happy you enjoy it!
Made this and it was delicious! Question...if it serves 8 what would the amount per serving be?
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Denise! A serving is about a cup.
I simply used one half a lemon for dressing along with cumin and coriander and it turned out splendidly! As the sole vegan in the family, I will definitely have to share, haha (:
Wonderful! I'm glad you enjoyed it!