recipe: balela

I spend a lot of time making Middle Eastern food. I spend a lot of time eating Middle Eastern food. I spend a lot of time thinking about making and eating Middle Eastern food (no really, it sometimes keeps me up at night). But I had never ever heard of balela, a bean-based salad with parsley and mint, until I saw it at Trader Joe’s a few years ago. The balela at Trader Joe’s comes in small 8 ounce containers, but at $3 or so a pop I decided it was time to start making it myself. Enjoy balela on its own or over a lettuce salad. It’s also super delicious in a wrap slathered with hummus, tzatziki, or tahini sauce.


1 15-oz can garbanzo beans
1 15-oz can black beans
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3/4 cup tomatoes (I used sundried), chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly. Pour them into a large mixing bowl and toss gently with the remaining ingredients. Serve right away if you must, but it tastes so much better the next day.

Serves 4-6

Originally posted in May 2010

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