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 creating a copycat recipe.
The only special ingredient you'll need to make Balela is sumac.
Sumac is one of my favorite herbs.
I use it when I make Roasted Chickpea Fattoush Salad.
And it's also delicious sprinkled on top of White Bean Dip.
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.
Balela is incredibly easy to make at home.
You will need to following ingredients:
- chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- black beans
- fresh parsley
- fresh mint
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- lemon juice
- cayenne pepper
When you make Middle Eastern Bean Salad at home instead of purchasing it at Trader Joe's, not only will you end up with enough to feed a crowd, you'll also save a lot of money.
And all you need to do is combine the ingredients together to make this flavorful healthy salad.
Middle Eastern Bean Salad can be made as mild or spicy as you like.
The heat comes from the 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.
It's perfect for adding to your meal prep routine so you can enjoy it all week long.
Now let's make Balela!
Middle Eastern Bean Salad (Balela)
For the salad:
- 2 cans chickpeas, (garbanzo beans) (3 cups), rinsed and drained
- 1 can black beans, (1 ½ cup) rinsed and drained
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 dry pint grape tomatoes, (or cherry tomatoes) quartered
- ½ cup parsley, (fresh) chopped
- ¼ cup mint, (fresh) chopped
- 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.