Sitting down to write this, I can’t ignore the giant elephant in the room. As of today, it’s been exactly one year since I’ve posted anything on Former Chef.
It wasn’t intentional. Nothing overly dramatic happened to prevent me from posting. I wasn’t trekking across the Gobi Desert. I wasn’t kidnapped by pirates. Time simply got away from me. Life happened.
So why am I back now and why with this recipe? Can deliciousness be inspiring? I think so. This salad was so good I felt I finally had something worth sharing.
Last weekend we had some family members come into town with only enough time to stop for a visit at lunch. I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare and I knew that they ate mostly vegetarian. I made this salad, along with my favorite quinoa and butternut squash salad, a platter of grilled vegetables (asparagus, red peppers, zucchini), and some grilled eggplant with lemon thyme yogurt. The best part was that all of it was done before they arrived, maximizing the time we could spend together.
The meal was a hit, especially the balela salad. There were 5 adults at the table and there were little leftovers. Plus, it’s always nice to hear, “this was the best lunch I’ve had in years!” I was just happy to see the family, cute toddler included.
Balela is a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern salad, typically made with garbanzo beans and black beans, fresh herbs and a vinaigrette. I’ve taken some liberty here and added white beans as well as the red bell pepper (yellow would look nice too).
There’s not much other history or information as to the origin of balela available online, which is a bit surprising. You might recognize it if you shop at Trader Joes or Costco as they often have it there. If anyone knows anything, please share in the comments.
Balela salad, a Middle Eastern inspired bean salad.
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: salad, salad, healthy, side
For the salad:
1canwhite beans15.5 oz, rinsed and drained
1canblack beans15.5 oz, rinsed and drained
1cangarbanzo15.5 oz, rinsed and drained
1/3eachred bell peppersmall dice
1/2cupdiced red onionabout 1/2 of a medium sized red onion
1/4cupfresh flat leaf parsleychopped
For the dressing:
4fluid ouncesextra virgin olive oil
4fluid ounceswhite wine vinegar
2fluid ounceslemon juice
kosher saltto taste (about 1/2 tsp)
freshly ground black pepperabout 1/4 tsp
Rinse and drain the beans and place them in a medium mixing bowl. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and diced red onion.
Mix the dressing by combining all ingredients. Chop the herbs but keep separate.
Add the dressing to the beans, and fold all ingredients together to combine. Taste for seasoning.
Fold in the herbs. Taste again for seasoning.
The flavor is best if you can let it sit for at least an hour before serving.
I’d love to hear from you. Does this sound like a salad you would enjoy? Are there any types of food or recipes you’d like to see here in the future? Help a girl out! I’m looking for some inspiration!
Also, I didn’t completely disappear from the internet in the last year. I’ve been working a lot on my travel blog, www.wired2theworld.com, where we just had our 20th anniversary, which is positively ancient in blog years. I’ve completely redesigned the site and posted a lot of new content, so check it out if you love to travel!