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Enjoy Magazine

Balela - Middle Eastern Bean Salad

03/24/2016 11:00AM ● By Lana Granfors

What's Cookin'

April 2016

Story by Lana Granfors

Photos by Kara Stewart

If I am out running errands, I often stop at Trader Joe’s for something quick for lunch. I peruse what I call the “grab and go” case trying new things, and I recently came upon Trader Joe’s Balela.  I immediately became obsessed with Balela. The flavors were amazing.  

It is a bit pricey, so I decided it might be more economical if I tried to make it myself, especially if you are serving it as a side with your family dinner. Also, by making it yourself, you can control the salt for a healthier version, or add other ingredients to make it even more to your liking.  

Looking at the list of ingredients, I played with it a few times and I think this recipe is pretty close to the Trader Joe’s version. It is a pretty simple recipe, but definitely a winner!


Servings: 4 - 6
Prep Time: 25 Minutes


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¹⁄³ cup fresh lemon juice

2 T red wine vinegar 

½ tsp. finely minced garlic, 1 clove

1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 – 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained 

1 cup finely chopped red onion

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

½ chopped jalapeno pepper, seeds removed (optional)

1 cup finely chopped Italian Parsley, packed

½ cup finely chopped mint, packed

Sea salt & pepper to taste 


STEP 1: Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and garlic. Set aside and allow flavors to blend.  

STEP 2: Rinse and drain beans and pat dry with paper towel or use a salad spinner, being careful not to mash beans. Place beans into a large mixing bowl.  Add red onion, tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, parsley and mint to the bowl and mix carefully.  

STEP 3: Place the beans in large bowl and gently toss this mixture with the dressing, stirring just enough to combine and coat the ingredients with dressing. For optimal flavor, let salad sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Season with more salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.