Friday, January 30, 2015


On a blog that I sometimes read, the writer was bewailing the lack of Trader Joe's in her area, a sentiment that I am totally familiar with....  Sigh....    The reason she was so upset was because she could no longer get her daily fix of Balela.  Balela?  What is THAT? I googled it, and found that Balela is one of Trader Joe's biggest sellers, a bean salad consisting of chick peas and black beans, with what sounded like a typical lemon juice based dressing.  Hey, I can make that!

And so, I did.

2 C cooked chick peas
2 C cooked black beans
1 large tomato, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 C minced fresh parsley
1/8 C minced fresh mint 

1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C lemon juice
1/3 C EVOO
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tsp sumac
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt to taste (approximately 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp cumin (optional)

 NOTES:   I didn't use cumin, but it would be delicious.  I hesitate to use much cumin in arabic food, because cumin isn't a feature in Lebanese cuisine, and my mother in law, who was the best Lebanese cook EVER, absolutely never, ever used cumin.  I know that other parts of the Middle East have a great affection for cumin, and I do too, but I don't usually use it in arabic food.  No, not even in hummus, so don't ask!

This is the end of January, and I promised myself that I wouldn't do any food shopping this month so that I would be forced to cook up all the food I have in my pantry.  As a result, fresh parsley?  Fresh mint?  Don't have 'em.  I used dried instead.  Fresh tomato? Nope. I used a can of diced tomatoes, drained well, and saved the juice for another purpose. 

I love sumac, so you might want to use a half teaspoon at first, if you are not familiar with the flavor.  This one is a keeper.  It's a wonderful, sour and tangy bean salad.  

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