This is a gorgeous salad. The textural elements enhanced by the sweet tomato juices swirling with fresh lemon, extra virgin olive oil and sumac create bites that will remind you of summer. The salad is best enjoyed with toasted pita, grilled vegetables and meats and basmati rice. If you find yourself needing an easy, colorful salad during summer tomato season ~ make this one! The better the tomato, the better the salad.

Balela is a Middle Eastern-style salad that’s typically made with garbanzo beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, fresh mint, dill and Italian parsley, fresh garlic, fresh lemon, a good extra virgin olive oil, sumac, cracked black pepper and sea salt. While not traditional, I added a little watercress to my salad because I liked the way it looked.  We enjoyed the Balela with Middle-Eastern spiced grilled chicken and za’atar toasted pita. It was even better the next day in a wrap!

We hope you give this salad a try. Make enough so you can enjoy it for several days. It gets better with time ~ there are no greens in the mix so the ingredients hold up beautifully.


  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 C fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T fresh lemon zest
  • 3 T fresh garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 T sumac
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • (2) 13 oz cans organic garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, patted dry
  • 1 C organic tri-colored cherry tomatoes, quartered (not in-season and growing our own? Go to Trader Joe’s)
  • 1-1/2 C organic cucumber, diced (approximately two medium cucumbers)
  • 1/2 C organic red bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 3/4 C red onion, finely diced
  • 1 C fresh organic parsley, stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C fresh organic mint, stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1/4 C fresh organic dill stems removed, finely chopped (optional but so good!)


In a blender, add olive oil, lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, sumac, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Once blended, add drained garbanzos to a medium size mixing bowl and pour all the dressing over the garbanzos. Set aside until all other salad ingredients are prepared.
In a large mixing bowl add in quartered tomatoes, diced cucumbers, diced bell pepper, diced onion, parsley, mint and dill. Add in garbanzos with all the dressing. Toss until fully incorporated.  Let stand for about 30 minutes (or covered and refrigerated over night) before serving. Serve with toasted pita, hummus, basmati rice, grilled vegetables or grilled meat.