This simple Lebanese Chickpea Balila is a flavorful, warm mixture of soft chickpeas, rich olive oil, fragrant garlic and fresh parsley with a squeeze of tangy lemon.
There is a group of girls that are my lunch friends. The same group gets together about every other week and we typically choose sushi or, our favorite Mediterranean restaurant, Mandaloun.
This is one of those hidden gems that is tucked away in a non-descript strip mall. No one would ever know it was there other by word of mouth.
Lucky for them I have a pretty big mouth when it comes to local restaurants worth talking about.
The owner’s name is Pierre and he is originally from Lebanon. His family has a history of catering and hospitality that dates back to the 30s when their first restaurant was opened in the mountains of South Lebanon.
It’s no wonder that anyone I bring there is delighted. My two favorite items to order are an authentic, insanely and deliciously tangy, fresh fattoush salad and a salad bar-complete with naturally vegan options-lentil soup, steaming soft pita, creamy hummus, babaghanouj and beans, salads and a hot bar.
This was another plus to this restaurant. When I cut out meat and dairy, I could still come and get exactly the same thing I would normally get…..such as this balila. They only make it a few days a week and it was so amazing I asked him what was in it. A flavorful, warm mixture of soft chickpeas, rich olive oil, fragrant garlic and fresh parsley with a squeeze of tangy lemon. This is my (much quicker) interpretation. Enjoy!
Lebanese Chickpea Balila
Inspired by Mandaloun Mediterranean and this recipe
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup organic, sodium free vegetable broth
4 tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon)
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic and cumin about two minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Add chickpeas and salt, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Smoosh about 1/3 of the chickpeas with a fork.
3. Add broth and lemon, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 7 to 10 minutes or until thickened. Top with parsley and pine nuts.
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Dawn Hutchins is an educator, author and self-taught chef. She holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and is a certified Nutritional Therapist with a focus in epigenetics. Discover the benefits that over 35,000 people have experienced through her recipes, cookbooks and revolutionary programs, learning how to eat more whole, plant foods – and loving it!