Best Ever Balela Salad

July 14, 2022

If a fresh, vibrant salad is calling your name this summer, then I have got the perfect recipe for you! My Best Ever Balela Salad is a Middle Eastern-style salad that is full of fresh flavors, fun textures, and NEVER gets soggy! Serve this salad with pita chips, in pita pockets, or simply eat it on its own. When it comes to a Balela Salad, there’s no wrong way to enjoy it.

A large bowl, sitting on a countertop, with the balela salad inside of it. A fork rests inside the bowl.

Friends, we are t-minus 3 months away from the launch of my debut cookbook, LOVE TO EAT. Can you believe it?! I can’t believe it’s coming so soon, and it really feels as if time is flying by. It feels like just yesterday I was writing the initial draft, and now it’s almost in your hands. The thought feels absolutely surreal!

But part of the reason I am so excited about LOVE TO EAT is not just because I’ll be able to officially call myself a cookbook author. Rather, I am so excited because while the book is full of over 75+ delicious recipes, it is chock-full of Middle Eastern-style recipes that truly make my heart so warm!

In case you didn’t know, I am Armenian and grew up eating Armenian and Middle Eastern dishes. From kofta kebabs to falafel, Middle Eastern food holds a very special place in my heart, and anytime that I get to share a recipe from my culture, I am so excited. So, knowing that the book is full of so many nostalgic recipes that come straight from my family and my heart means more to me than I can put into words.

But until the book comes out, I’m excited to share more Middle Eastern-style recipes here. So, without further ado, let’s get into this recipe, shall we?!

A large bowl of the balela salad, sitting on a countertop, with two smaller bowls of salad sitting beside it.

What is a Balela Salad?

If you aren’t familiar with Balela Salad, it’s a Middle Eastern-style salad that generally includes chickpeas, black beans, tomatoes, onion, parsley, garlic, mint, sumac, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper! It’s super simple and delicious, and as I mentioned above, the best part about it: it doesn’t get soggy!

Because this salad is lettuce-free, it will last for up to a week, when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. In fact, as this salad sits, the flavors will develop more over-time, making this salad even more delicious. And how often can you say that about a salad?!

Traditionally, you can find this salad served as a side dish, or stuffed into a pita pocket and topped with your favorite protein. Personally, I love to eat it scooped with pita chips. It makes for a simple, easy, and delicious snack!

What You Need to Make This Middle Eastern-Style Salad

You only need a few simple ingredients to bring this salad recipe to life! When you see just how easy it is to put together, you will want to add this recipe to your weekly repertoire. 😉

  • Garbanzo Beans: The star of this recipe is truly the garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas! Chickpeas are a delicious source of plant-based protein, and are very inexpensive, making this recipe accessible to everyone. Plus, don’t forget to save the water from your can of chickpeas – you can whip it into aquafaba and make Vegan Homemade Mayonnaise from it!
  • Black Beans: Black beans are another one of my favorite sources of plant-based protein.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Fresh cherry tomatoes are an essential ingredient when it comes to Middle Eastern Cuisine, and adds brightness and acidity to this salad.
  • Herbs: In this recipe, we’ll be using fresh mint, Italian parsley, and dill. Yum!
  • Red Onion: Red onions are delicious raw, and add a nice texture and balance of flavor.
  • Olive Oil:Olive oil is my favorite oil to use in salad dressings because it tastes amazing and it’s such a great heart-healthy oil.
  • Lemon: The lemon juice gives the dressing a tangy flavor – yee haw!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: You do need apple cider vinegar in this recipe. Any other vinegar will not work the same, so please save yourself the trouble of a failed recipe and use apple cider vinegar.
  • Jalapeño: While this may seem like an unconventional ingredient, jalapeño adds a slightly spicy kick that really brings this dressing to life. If you can’t handle any spice, you can omit it, although I highly recommend it.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is always best, as it really does create the best flavor.
  • Sumac: If you haven’t tried sumac yet, then you absolutely need to! Sumac is a member of the cashew family, and has a tart, lemony flavor that is absolutely addictive. Plus, it’s fairly high in antioxidants as well! You can find sumac at most natural grocery stores, as well as in Middle Eastern markets.
  • Sea Salt & Pepper: And, of course, you can’t have a good salad recipe without a little sea salt and pepper!
All of the ingredients needed to make this balela salad, sitting unmixed in a large bowl. A cutting board with some of the salad ingredients can be seen in the background

How to Make This Simple & Easy Salad Recipe

Making this salad is totally a breeze! Simply start by washing, chopping, and preparing all of your produce; drain and rinse your chickpeas and black beans, chop your herbs, onion, and cherry tomatoes, and add all of your produce to a large bowl.

Next, prepare your dressing by adding all of your dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust your seasonings as desired.

Finally, pour your dressing over your produce and toss until the dressing fully coats all of the salad ingredients. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Enjoy!!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! And, since I practically live on Instagram, be sure to tag me in your creations so that I can repost them! xx

** Photography by Gayle McLeod
A large bowl, sitting on a countertop, with the balela salad inside of it. A fork rests inside the bowl.
Dairy Free/gluten-free/Grain Free/Nut Free/Paleo/Refined Sugar Free/Vegan

Best Ever Balela Salad

5 from 1 vote
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
SERVES 6 Servings
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If a fresh, vibrant salad is calling your name this summer, then I have got the perfect recipe for you! My Best Ever Balela Salad is a Middle Eastern-style salad that is full of fresh flavors, fun textures, and NEVER gets soggy! Serve this salad with pita chips, in pita pockets, or simply eat it on its own. When it comes to a Balela Salad, there's no wrong way to enjoy it.

Equipment

  • 1 Blender

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 2 Cans Garbanzo Beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 Cans Black Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes halved
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Mint finely chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Italian Parsley finely chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Dill finely chopped
  • 1/2 Red Onion finely chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Jalapeño sliced with the seeds removed
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Sumac optional, but I highly recommend it!
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Start by washing and preparing all of your produce; drain and rinse your garbanzo beans and black beans, wash and chop your cherry tomatoes, chop your fresh herbs, and dice your red onion.
  • Next, add all of your produce to a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Now, prepare the dressing. Add all of your dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Once your dressing is fully combined, taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  • Finally, pour your dressing over your salad and toss to fully combine.
  • Serve immediately, or store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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