Taste Test: Trader Joe’s Balela

This Middle Eastern chick pea salad is a winner
Dan Myers

This chick pea-based salad also contains black beans, tomatoes, onions, parsley, and a little hot pepper.

You’ve most likely not heard of the dish known as balela, but it’s apparently a Middle Eastern chick pea-based salad that also contains black beans, tomatoes, parsley, onion, vinegar, garlic, and a hint of hot pepper. We picked up an 8-ounce tub at our local Trader Joe’s for $3, and were quite impressed.

The mixture was fresh and quite strong with the flavors of parsley and vinegar, but not enough to overpower the other components. The chick peas were nicely cooked, and the mint and parsley complemented them very well. There’s also a hint of hot pepper on the back end, which gives it a pleasing but not overwhelming spiciness. The only downside is that it might be a bit too strongly-flavored for some, and could have used more black beans.


This balela could make for a great afternoon snack, and also wouldn’t be out of place right next to the potato salad at a cookout. It’s full of flavor, healthy and full of protein, well-balanced, and exotic.