Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vegan Middle Eastern Bean Salad with Parsley and Lemon (Balela)

This Vegan Middle Eastern Bean Salad with Parsley and Lemon makes a great lunch or side-dish salad any time of year.

Middle Eastern Bean SaladWhen I spotted this middle eastern bean salad called Balela on MeleCotte, I immediately saved it into my bookmarks under a recipe to try. That category always has lots of recipes saved, and I actually only manage to try a small percentage of them, but this time I had all the ingredients and made the salad right away. Simple recipes like this where you can use canned beans and still get a good result are my idea of convenience food, and this recipe was definitely a winner.

The star ingredient here is chopped fresh parsley, great to use in winter when other herbs are so expensive. (If it was summer, I might add chopped fresh mint too!) All that parsley flavor makes this fit the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. Here's more about how to enter WHB if you'd like to participate

Pour chickpeas and black beans one at a time into a colander placed in the sink, rinse well until no more foam appears, and let drain. (I often blot them dry with a paper towel if I get impatient and they still seem wet.)

While beans are draining, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic puree and let the flavors blend.

Mix the salad ingredients together and let it marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. (If I had more time I might marinate the beans for a few hours in the dressing, then mix in the other ingredients for the last 30 minutes.)

Middle Eastern Bean Salad with Parsley and Lemon (Balela)
Makes 4 generous servings, recipe adapted from Middle Eastern Bean Salad at MeleCotte who adapted it from the Balela Recipe at Relish.)

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained
1 cup chopped green onion (or less)
1 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato (about 6 small tomatoes)
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Dressing Ingredients:
3 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic puree (or use finely minced fresh garlic)
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

One at a time, empty canned beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears, then let beans drain well. (I sometimes blot them dry with a paper towel if they still seem wet.) Put well-drained beans into a plastic bowl.

While beans drain, chop green onions, tomatoes, and parsley and add to bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Gently mix dressing into bean mixture, stirring just enough to combine and coat the ingredients with dressing. Let salad sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before servings, then season with more salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

(If I had lots of time I would drain beans, mix dressing, and then stir in about half the dressing into beans and let them marinate for a few hours before I added the other ingredients.)

Despite the fact that tomatoes shouldn't be refrigerated, this was actually very tasty even after being in the fridge for a few days. If you know you won't eat it all right away, you could mix together everything but tomatoes and add them each time you eat some.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Salad like this with all low-glycemic ingredients is a great choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet. This would taste great as a side dish for something like Grilled Halibut with Garlic-Cilantro Sauce.

More Great Salads with Beans and Parsley:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Barley and White Bean Salad with Parsley, Lemon, and Capers from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea and Tuna Salad with Tomatoes, Olives, Basil, and Parsley from Kalyn's Kitchen
Carrot, Parsley, and Garbanzo Salad with Cumin from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tuna and Cannellini Bean Salad from Closet Cooking
Mixed Bean Salad with Walnut Dressing from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
(Want even more bean salad recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. This salad looks like it has so many fresh flavors, which sounds so good to me.

  2. Oh wow! That looks so fresh and delicious. I might have to make that to go with our dinner tonight. Mmm.

  3. Lovely salad! A perfect meal for me!

  4. ooh, YUM! I must try this one. :)

  5. All that color, all that healthy stuff - that's got to be on the list of perfect dishes. That is gorgeous Kalyn.

  6. i love how many colors are in that salad!

  7. That looks delicious! Gorgeous picture as well.

  8. So glad people can imagine how good this tastes from the recipe and photo. I just got my bottom braces on tonight, but I'm thinking bean salad like this would work, fairly soft and already cut into small pieces.

  9. I want to dive right into that salad! It looks brilliant!

  10. Oh, is that a gorgeous salad! And the best part - I have everything needed!

  11. carole with an "e" in NYCFebruary 27, 2009 at 6:47 AM

    You are certainly a trooper -- "got my bottom braces on today". Wow, good luck. But you have so many wonderful soup ideas on this blog that you should be ok for months. I still have some organic dried pintos in the house and will make this salad next week. Thanks for a great idea on how to use them.

  12. Sorry I am just getting to this now...I saw your comment, but haven't done any blogging while in NY. Your salad looks fabulous, Kalyn! I am thrilled you liked to as much as I did. Love the colors!

    Good luck with your braces...;)

  13. This salad is so refreshing and delicious! Instead of green onion I used a shallot. I also added a yellow bell pepper for some color. I halved some grape tomatoes and added them to the salad after the salad had set in the refrigerator all night. I also squeezed some extra lemon juice over it for more tang. I love this salad! Could you also sprinkle feta over it? I'm sure its also wonderful it you put it in a butter lettuce leaf and eat it like a wrap. Anyway, this was awesome and easy to make and I know it'll be part of my rotation!


  14. Thanks again everyone.

    Chris, hope your mom is doing okay!

    Sheila, I love your adaptations. Yes, I think some feta crumbled over this would be awesome!

  15. BTW Kalyn - I'm LOVING your website! I don't think I could stick with this anti-yummy pasta, no bread basket diet if it weren't for all your creativity and talent with these recipes! Thanks so much!

  16. Sheila, thanks! Comments like that make my day. So glad it's working for you.

  17. This is so bright, fresh and delicious looking!
    I love parsley and it is so healthy too (it's actually very good for the thyroid!)

  18. I have been looking for this recipe ever since I tried a container of Balela from Trader Joe's. This was perfect! A great Lenten luncheon. This one is definitely a keeper. Thanks so much for sharing!

  19. that salad is looking nice and healthy and good. I like all the beans.

  20. I think I have the ingredients. I can't wait to make this for lunch tomorrow.



    This site exactly quoted your post w/o credit.

  22. Anonymous, thanks for tipping me off about the site copying my recipe word-for-word. I have contacted them, but don't want to publish your comment because I don't want to send people to a site doing that soft of thing.

  23. We loved loved loved this salad!!! IT taste so fresh and has tons of flavor! Thanks!

  24. My husband was a HUGE fan of this! We all really loved it! So colorful and delicious!!

  25. Michelle, thanks. So glad you liked it.

  26. Thanks very much for publish this

  27. Can't wait to try this. Thanks for the recipe!

  28. Amy I don't think this would freeze well with the tomatoes and fresh herbs.

  29. Love this stuff. It's stick-your-face-right-into-the-bowl good!


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