Good day all! Today I have for you an incredibly easy Mediterranean style bean salad called ‘Balela’. It’s a combination of chickpeas and black beans, tossed together with diced tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, parsley and mint. Add to that a bit of sumac, olive oil, lemon juice, mineral salt and pepper, and you’re in for a deliciously, nutrient dense and satisfying meal!
If you’re an avid Trader Joe’s shopper, you may have already seen this salad in the refrigerated section, it’s by the prepared foods. Most of the time when I go to grab a tub, there’s only a few left. It’s a hot commodity at my local TJ’s. I set out to come up with my own version. Making it yourself is super easy and you’ll have much more than a little tub!
I used the ingredient list on the TJ’s Balela Salad package and came up with a version that takes just as good. The only addition I made was adding diced cucumber, which lends a refreshing flavor to the overall dish. The sumac called for in the recipe is a uniquely flavored spice. It’s noted for being slightly sour and bitter, as well as sweet and salty. It’s a new addition to my spices and I can’t get enough of it. If you haven’t added sumac to your spice collection or don’t have it on hand, your salad will be fine without it. There is enough flavor from everything else for it to be satisfying.
Dice your veggies. I diced them on the smaller side so they would be about the same size as the beans, or just slightly smaller. No need to skimp on the veggies, if you feel you’d rather use more of anything, by all means add as much as you like!
Throw it all together, mix and enjoy!
You’re likely to have leftovers, unless you’re taking it to a potluck or gathering. If you’re simply making it for yourself, you’ll be glad to have the extra for meals throughout the week/weekend. It may not even last that long!
Serve your salad with a handful of arugula thrown in. The arugula pairs well and looks great in the salad. Alternately, you can make pita sandwiches like shown below. This is a perfect filling for pita bread. Slather a bit of creamy hummus inside the bread, add a little arugula and fill it up with the bean salad. It’s flavorful and delicious!
- 2 cans (14 oz.) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drianed and rinsed
- 1 can (14 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 firm roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/2 english cucumber, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil (I used a garlic infuesed olive oil)
- juice of 1 large lemon
optional ingredients to serve with
- pita bread
In a large mixing bow, combine the chickpeas, black beans, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, garlic, mint and parsley. Add the sumac, a good drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This salad is perfect in pita bread that’s been slathered with hummus and layered with arugula. Alternately, you can add a large handful of arugula to the salad and serve with pita bread and hummus on the side.
Try adding a dash of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a little heat.