My first introduction to Balela salad was when my daughter-in-law stocked up some vegan options from Costco for Alan and me. I thought it was pretty good, but, since I don’t get to Costco very often, didn’t give it much more thought. Then I saw it at Trader Joes, so I picked some up.
Never satisfied with plain old “from the store” food, I fancied it up some with extra onion, cucumbers, and a few other things. Hmm, it was pretty good. I thought, though, that this simple Middle Eastern salad would be, well, simple to re-create on my own, with a little California flair.
And by the way, whenever I say California flair I mean “with avocado.” Just sayin’.
Balela Salad. California Style
Balela Salad is basically a chickpea and black bean salad, with tomato, onion, lemon, and herbs. It’s very simple and quick to make, though if you allow it to absorb the seasonings for a few hours it will taste even better. I served it on a half avocado, on a bed of wild rice with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. It is so good I could almost eat it daily.
- 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 medium tomato, chopped
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- ½ cup cucumber, chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup mint, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 avocados, peeled and halved
- 2 cups cooked rice of your choice.
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- Combine the beans, tomato, onion, cucumber, parsley, and mint in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Prepare the dressing: Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Toss the dressing into the salad.
- For each serving, spoon rice onto plate and add a half avocado. Spoon the Balela over the avocado. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and a dash of cayenne pepper.
Have you ever tried Balela Salad?
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