Balila is a simple Lebanese Chickpea Salad commonly served as a hot or warm mezze in Middle Eastern restaurants.
The affordable Lebanese Salad features common pantry ingredients that are quickly tossed in a bowl in a matter of minutes.
Plump cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are combined with classic Middle Eastern flavours like olive oil, creamy tahini, fresh lemon juice, garlic, cumin and parsley.
Our Balila recipe will be your new favourite healthy salad, which is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free.
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What Is Balila?
Balila is a Levantine dish consisting of chickpeas that have been boiled along with lemon juice, garlic, and various Middle Eastern spices. It is served as a hot or warm mezze.
Traditional Balila is an affordable dish, served for breakfast to throngs of workers who gobble it up before heading to jobs on a construction site or at the office.
Cooking Balila is very simple as it features affordable ingredients you’ll likely already have in your kitchen pantry or fridge. Lebanese cooks toss together plump cooked chickpeas in a large salad bowl with classic Middle Eastern ingredients like olive oil, tahini, lemon, garlic, cumin and parsley.
Travel to Lebanon by Making Balila Salad at Home
I love traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Balila recipe via adventures that had me zig-zagging through Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Dubai. You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East include fragrant feasts featuring creamy spiced Balila Chickpea Salad.
I ate authentic Balila at a traditional Moroccan riad, on food tours of Istanbul and Bodrum, accompanied by Egyptian tea on a Nile Cruise and in bustling market in Cairo, late night snack in Amman, al fresco market lunch in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and accompanied by steaming bowls of soup at a massive Middle Eastern barbecue in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.
Where To Eat Lebanese Chickpea Salad
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Middle Eastern restaurant that serves a traditional Balila recipe.
Haven’t traveled to the Middle East before? It may be helpful to first sample Balila Salad at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You’ll get an idea for the perfect chickpea to dressing ratio, how much garlic and lemon to use in the sauce and what fresh herbs and spices to toss into the salad.
In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern restaurants that may serve a healthy Balila include Parallel, Byblos, Tabule, Fat Pasha, Maha’s, Masrawy Kitchen, Masrawy Kitchen and Paramount Fine Foods.
My Family Loves Healthy Vegan Balila
When my family moved to Oakville the first restaurant we visited was a local Egyptian and Lebanese restaurant called Agabi. Ranked as one of the best restaurants in Oakville, Agabi, became our family’s go-to Middle Eastern take out joint.
After falling in love with Middle Eastern food at home, we enjoyed vacations to the region, feasting on endless bowls of hummus, falafel and Balila.
My family enjoys preparing this easy Balila recipe whenever we’re serving a Middle Eastern lunch or dinner. It’s a delicious healthy salad to serve alongside spiced grilled meat, fresh seafood, Middle Eastern dips and crispy deep fried falafels.
Our homemade Lebanese Chickpea Salad recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
An excellent source of vitamin K, as well as vitamin C, folate, and iron, parsley helps keep your bones and blood healthy, and protects your skin from damage by free radicals.
A useful source of copper, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, sesame seeds help support circulatory, digestive and skeletal health.
Beans are rich in cancer-fighting vitamin C, energy-boosting B vitamins, and gut-healthy fibre.
A rich source of blood-building iron, cumin may also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also traditionally used as a digestive aid.
Lebanese Chickpea Salad Recipe Cooking Tips
If it’s your first time cooking homemade Balila be sure to review our detailed step-by-step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started:
- We suggest using canned chickpeas if you’re looking to make the salad last minute. Or soak dried garbanzo beans overnight and cook over the stove in a pot.
- Only use fresh lemon juice not store bought concentrate. If you want to add additional citrus flavour sprinkle in fresh lemon zest.
- We’ve used raw garlic in this recipe chopped into a fine mince but you could also use roasted garlic.
- Garnish Balila with a wedge of lemon, chopped parsley, sprinkle of cumin and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days. The flavours just keep getting better as the chickpeas soak in the creamy dressing.
What To Serve with Traditional Balila
If you’re serving a Middle Eastern lunch or dinner tossing together this simple Balila recipe is a must!
You can enjoy the healthy vegan salad all on it’s own as a light lunch with some flatbread or serve it as a warm mezze at a Lebanese-themed dinner party.
You may enjoy serving Balila with these other easy Lebanese recipes:
- Easy One Pot Lebanese Beef Hashweh Rice
- Mdardara Lebanese Caramelized Onion Lentil Rice
- Ejjeh Vegetarian Lebanese Herb Omelette
- Lebanese Spiced Minced Beef Stuffed Pita Arayes
- Vegan Lebanese Cabbage Malfouf Salad
- Moghrabieh Lebanese Chickpea Chicken Couscous
- Mutabbal Vegan Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip
- Healthy Chicken Shawarma Plate
- Lebanese Toum Kebab Shop Garlic Sauce
- Healthy Vegan Keto Za’atar Butter Bean Dip
- Lebanese Kibbeh Fried Beef Croquette
- Healthy Vegetarian Lebanese Eggplant Fatteh
- Lebanese Lamb Dumplings Shish Barak
- Lebanese Lentil Soup Adas Bil Hamod
After dinner why not delight your guests with Middle Eastern desserts like Mahalabia and Sweet Lebanese Sesame Tahini Rolls.
You May Also Enjoy These Salad Recipes…
- Chicken Yuk Sung Chinese Lettuce Wraps
- Arugula Fig Burrata and Prosciutto Salad
- Healthy Vegan Mango Pico de Gallo Salsa
- Healthy Vegetarian Indian Paneer Tikka Salad
- Mexican Vegan Cucumber Radish Salad with Chipotle Peanuts
- Warm Indian Vegan Sprouted Mung Bean Salad
- Scallion Dill Beetroot Salad with Yogurt
- Sangchu Geotjeori Sweet and Sour Korean Lettuce Salad
- Yum Woon Sen Thai Glass Noodle Salad
- Toasted Pecan Parmesan Pear and Rocket Salad
- Cambozola Currant Pear and Fennel Salad
- Healthy Romaine Salad With Tahini Caesar Dressing
- Cilantro Ginger Lime Cajun Shrimp Salad
- Vegan Spicy Turkish Salsa Ezme Salata Salad
- Vegan Citrus “Rojak” Singapore Salad
- Nam Tok Authentic Thai “Waterfall Beef” Salad
How To Make Balila Lebanese Chickpea Salad
Balila Lebanese Chickpea Salad
- mixing bowl
- French knife
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- 4 Garlic Cloves crushed
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tbsp Tahini
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 19 oz Canned Chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tbsp Parsley chopped
- In a large mixing bowl mix together the garlic, salt, tahini and lemon juice. Gently stir in the chickpeas. Drizzle the olive oil all over and toss.
- Garnish with cumin and parsley. Serve with flatbread.
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