This balela salad is a Lebanese chickpea salad that is made of chickpeas mixed with fresh tomato, onions, herbs, and spices. It can be enjoyed cold or warm for breakfast, lunch or dinner with your favorite flatbread or part of a mezze.
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What is Balela Salad?
Balela salad is a spin-off of traditional balila, a typical Lebanese breakfast food, made up of warmed tender chickpeas (semi falling apart) mixed through spices and topped with olive oil.
The spin-off is the addition of fresh vegetables and herbs.
How to Pronounce Balela in English?
Balela is the Arabic word for cooked chickpeas. It is pronounced bal·lee·lah
Some pronounce it a little differently, according to region, it is also written as balilah or balila.
😋Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Super quick to make, simply throw all the ingredients together. Whenever I am stuck on what to eat that’s super quick and healthy, I throw a bowl of balela salad together and happily eat away.
- Can be enjoyed both warm and cool
- This Lebanese chickpea salad recipe can be used as a base to add complementing ingredients
- Naturally gluten-free, vegan, soy and corn-free.
✔️Ingredients you’ll need
Notes on some of the ingredients, the full list of ingredients and their measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)- dry or canned can be used. If using dry, make sure to pre-cook the chickpeas.
Fresh white onion and tomato should be diced small.
Herbs should be fresh and not dried. These are finely chopped.
Garlic clove is best fresh without any blemishes and on the smaller side. You can adjust the amount of garlic used once this Lebanese chickpea salad is tossed.
Cumin is a strong spice and if overused can result in bitterness. A little goes a long way.
🔪How to Make Balela Salad
Step 1 - Over medium heat, add chickpeas with water, cumin, garlic, salt & pepper. Once warmed, turn off the heat.
Step 2 - Add all ingredients except fresh lemon juice and mix through. Serve by topping with lemon juice and sprinkling extra cumin.
💡What to serve with?
Balilah can easily be eaten on its own. It holds a good amount of protein and is filling. However, here are some suggestions;
Perfect for eating with Lebanese flatbread, also known as pita bread.
This pita bread can be eaten fresh or oven-baked to make them into pita chips.
This Lebanese chickpea salad normally features as part of a warm mezze where you can find items such as fragrant zaatar (a wonderful Lebanese herb blend that I can't live without), creamy baba ghanouj, hummus, cucumber and yoghurt salad, brined lupini beans and more.
Only fresh produce should be used, with the exception of chickpeas and spices. This ensures maximum flavor.
The ratios of ingredients can be altered to suit your taste, for example, I love to load mine up with garlic, however, my husband doesn’t.
If you’d like your balela salad to be creamy, add a teaspoon of tahini (affiliate link) and mix it well. This adds a lovely hint of sesame nutty flavor.
Use this recipe as a base and then add additional fresh flavors through it. I sometimes love to add fresh cucumbers, red cabbage, and red capsicum (bell pepper).
Note - The ratio of chickpeas is generally always greater than all other ingredients.
Whilst traditionally balila is served warm, sometimes I like to make a bigger batch and store it in the fridge to eat the next day. I find the flavors to be a little deeper.
Freezing balela is not recommended, it is always best to consume fresh. Any left overs can be placed in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to five days. Freezing cooked chickpeas can be done by placing portions into freezer bags and laying them flat in the freezer. Take out frozen chickpeas and defrost before using.
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Balela Salad (Lebanese Chickpea Salad)
- 250 grams Chickpeas canned or dry (pre-cook dry variety)
- 3 small Tomato diced small
- ½ small White onion diced small
- 1 handful Parsley flat leaf and roughly chopped small
- 10 leaves Mint roughly chopped small
- 1 small Garlic clove crushed
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- 15 ml Chickpea water aquafaba
- 15 ml Olive oil extra virgin
- 15 ml Lemon juice fresh
- Over medium heat, add warm chickpeas with water, cumin and garlic. Once warmed, turn off heat.250 grams Chickpeas, 1 small Garlic clove, ½ teaspoon Cumin, 15 ml Chickpea water
- Add all ingredients except fresh lemon juice and mix through. Serve by topping with lemon juice and sprinkling extra cumin.3 small Tomato, ½ small White onion, 1 handful Parsley, 10 leaves Mint, 15 ml Olive oil, 15 ml Lemon juice
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.