Adding to my short list of favorite nutrition-packed power salads: Balela Salad! And how fresh and festive too?!

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada!

Balela Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Bright, flavor-packed Mediterranean chickpea salad with chopped veggies, lots of herbs, and favorites like olives and sun-dried tomatoes. A zesty dressing brings it all together! A simple recipe from TheMediterraneanDish.com #balela #chickpeasalad #mediterraneanfood #mediterraneanrecipe

Let's start with a simple definition. In Arabic, the word “balela” means “cooked chickpeas.” Balela salad is an ancient Middle Eastern chickpea salad. It is simple, wholesome, bright, and flavor-packed. A winner on all fronts!

There are many variations of balela salad, but this recipe is closer to what you'd find in the restaurants and food joints of Alexandria, Egypt.

Balela Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Bright, flavor-packed Mediterranean chickpea salad with chopped veggies, lots of herbs, and favorites like olives and sun-dried tomatoes. A zesty dressing brings it all together! A simple recipe from TheMediterraneanDish.com #balela #chickpeasalad #mediterraneanfood #mediterraneanrecipe

Balela Salad My Way

The gist: cooked chickpeas, chopped veggies, copious amounts of fresh herbs, and Mediterranean favorites like olives and sun-dried tomatoes. A zesty salad dressing with garlic and sumac brings everything together.

Tip: to allow the flavors to meld, make the balela salad ahead of time, at least a half hour before serving!

Turn your balela salad into a meal!

Clearly this beautiful and festive salad can be served as part of a special dinner. But with nourishing and satisfying chickpeas, being the star ingredient in balela salad, it can really stand alone as a meal.  You can also serve it in warm pita pockets with a drizzle of tahini, or add it to an impressive vegetarian mezze platter with baba ganoush and roasted red pepper hummus.

Balela Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Bright, flavor-packed Mediterranean chickpea salad with chopped veggies, lots of herbs, and favorites like olives and sun-dried tomatoes. A zesty dressing brings it all together! A simple recipe from TheMediterraneanDish.com #balela #chickpeasalad #mediterraneanfood #mediterraneanrecipe

Have you heard about the ½ Cup Habit?

I get excited when I see balela salad at my local deli. Good on them! It's one brilliant way to pack lean protein and plant-based nutrition into your diet! And if there were a list of textbook-Mediterranean-diet-recipes, Balela salad would make the top!

As you know, one of the powerful secrets of the Mediterranean diet is in nutrition-filled pulses, like dry chickpeas; lentils; peas; and beans. Pulses pack a lot of protein, and they are rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber and B vitamins!

Balela Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Bright, flavor-packed Mediterranean chickpea salad with chopped veggies, lots of herbs, and favorites like olives and sun-dried tomatoes. A zesty dressing brings it all together! A simple recipe from TheMediterraneanDish.com #balela #chickpeasalad #mediterraneanfood #mediterraneanrecipe

If you don't already eat a good portion of pulses, a simple goal would be to add to your diet just ½ cup of pulses three times per week (a total of 1 ½ cups of pulses per week, which is what USDA recommends). This is what USA Pulses and Pulse Canada call the Half-Cup Habit! Check it out here. And, I've included some more of my favorite recipes below!

 

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Balela Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Bright, flavor-packed Mediterranean chickpea salad with chopped veggies, lots of herbs, and favorites like olives and sun-dried tomatoes. A zesty dressing brings it all together! A simple recipe from TheMediterraneanDish.com #balela #chickpeasalad #mediterraneanfood #mediterraneanrecipe

Balela Salad


Description

This festive and wholesome Balela Salad is a Middle Eastern favorite! Filled with tons of nutrition from chickpeas and chopped veggies. And packs lots of flavor from fresh herbs, a zesty dressing, and Mediterranean favorites like olives and sun-dried tomatoes. A must-try!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • ½ green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 ½ cups grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), slice in halves if you like, or leave whole
  • 3-5 green onions, both white and green parts, chopped
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (use ones that have been preserved in jars with olive oil)
  • ⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives
  • ½ cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • ½ cup freshly chopped mint or basil leaves

For Dressing

  • ¼ cup Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and black pepper, a generous pinch to your taste
  • 1 tsp ground sumac
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix together the salad ingredients: chickpeas, vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and fresh herbs.
  • In a separate smaller bowl or jar, mix together the dressing ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper, and spices.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix gentle to coat. Leave aside for 30 minutes before serving, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, give the salad a quick mix and taste to adjust seasoning if at all needed. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Turn your babela into a meal! This wholesome, nutrition-packed salad can easily be turned into a meal. Serve it in warm pita pockets with a drizzle of tahini. Or add it to an impressive vegetarian mezze platter with baba ganoush and roasted red pepper hummus.
  • Recommended for this recipe: Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives). And from our all-natural spice collection: Sumac and Aleppo Pepper.
  • SAVE! Try our olive oil bundle or the Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle! Or create your own 6-pack of spices!
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: Balela salad, Middle Eastern salad, healthy salad

 

More Recipes to Try:

How to Make Hummus

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

Spicy Spinach and Lentil Soup 

Egyptian Vegan Stew with Peas and Carrots

Mediterranean Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

Mediterranean Chickpea and Eggplant Salad with Za'atar

Balela Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Bright, flavor-packed Mediterranean chickpea salad with chopped veggies, lots of herbs, and favorites like olives and sun-dried tomatoes. A zesty dressing brings it all together! A simple recipe from TheMediterraneanDish.com #balela #chickpeasalad #mediterraneanfood #mediterraneanrecipe

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. What a gorgeous and deliciously healthy salad! The flavor is as bright as the beautiful colors and presentation it makes. I was never a big fan of chickpeas except in hummus until now. I have had sumac in my spice drawer for some time, but have not used it - we loved the fresh flavor it added to the dressing. Now I need the Aleppo pepper.
    I have been using some of your recipes since last summer when I found you as I was looking for ideas for a mezze platter. That has become my go-to for casual entertaining and is always well received. Now I will add the Balela to go along with the platter. We enjoyed it so much and I can't wait to share it with others! Thank you so much for all of your fresh, flavorful recipes!

  2. Spectacular. Such a wonderful, fresh side. I served it with your lemon chicken, which it pairs very well with. I will be making this again!

  3. I’ve made this delicious salad several times this summer. At first glance it looks like a lot of chopping but it’s very easy to prepare. Last weekend I started to make it and realized I didn’t have any chick peas so I used fava beans instead. We had leftovers and i found that it tasted even better after it set overnight in the fridge. I always serve it cold but my hubby and I found that it’s also delicious warm especially with a dab of yogurt on top

  4. Best balela ever. The ratio of of chickpeas to the rest of the salad ingredients was just right. The dressing was well-balanced. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great salad, but never know chick beans, garbanzo, hummus called Balela in any language, please in light me thanks!!

  6. That salad is amazing. A feast for all your senses. The dressing alone knocks your socks off. Thank you for "making me" try Sumac and Aleppo pepper. I never would have otherwise., which would have been a shame.

  7. This salad is one of my favorites. The many ingredients all complement each other., and the dressing is perfect. Believe me, it's worth chopping all the veggies (I've made this now 3 times).. The explosion of flavors made my tummy smile:)

    1. Yes, Velma! This salad will hold up nicely for the next day. And if you like, you can leave the dressing out and add it an hour or so before you need to serve it.

      1. Excellent!! Was thinking of incorporating tuna or shredded chicken into the salad, for a meal!

  8. I love this recipe so much! I’ve probab made it 20 times; it’s one of my favorite work lunches. I make a batch & then portion it into 4 lunches that I can easily just grab & go. Sometimes I sub diced pepperoncini for the jalapeño & it just as good.

    1. Cynthia, thank you! Sounds like a winning lunch. I'm going to try your idea of portioning some off to use throughout the week!

  9. Loved this!
    I made a small change, instead of green bell pepper which I really don’t like i used some celery i had on hand, and also used two cloves garlic in the dressing because i love garlic :))
    Had some stuffed into a baked red bell pepper with a side of pita chips, and another day had some ontop of baby spinach and arugula for a tasty filling salad. Will definitely make again!

  10. A quick question from a confused European - I've been trying a bunch of your recipes and they are all excellent, but one thing I have issues with is converting measurements sometimes. In case of fresh herbs especially - when you say that the recipe requires "1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves", how many grams (or ounces, or any other unit of weight) is that? There are multiple recipe converters online, but they give me wildly different results...

    Anyway, thanks a lot for all the delicious recipes - definitely am a fan after trying some of them!

    1. Thank you for sharing, Chris. 1/2 packed parsley would be approximately 30 grams. Now, luckily, most of our recipes are quite forgiving,and if you add a little less or more of a fresh ingredient, it should still be okay. But I hear your concern, and we hope to provide a better measurement at some point, we just have not found the right tool yet.

  11. Thanks for a great recipe!!
    In the pictures it looks like you added dill too...
    Is it part of the recipe??

    1. Thank you, Adi! Dill can be added as well...I do add it sometimes, but not always. A handful, like about 1/2 cup chopped dill would be fine to add.

  12. This recipe was AMAZING. The salad was so flavorful, healthy, and filling. And, it was so easy to prepare, even though usually I'm a disaster in the kitchen. I will definitely try a few other recipes from this site!!! Thank you for the delicious dinner, and thank you for boosting my super low confidence in the kitchen!!!

    1. Michelle, I am so glad you tried Balela. And I have a feeling, you are so much better in the kitchen than you're giving yourself credit for. I do hope you try more recipes. And do come back and tell me 🙂