Healthy Recipe: Easy Balela Salad

May is International Mediterranean Diet month. There is compelling scientific evidence that following a Mediterranean style of eating reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. A Mediterranean style of eating can start by focusing on plant-based foods at meal times.  Here is one recipe to help you get started.

Balela is a Middle-Eastern garbanzo bean (chickpeas) salad drizzled with an oily, spiced vinaigrette. Variations of this nutritious garbanzo salad can be found in almost every country that surrounds the Mediterranean Sea. The recipe is versatile and can be served as an entrée or wrapped and made into a delicious Plant-Strong sandwich. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days. 

Balela Salad
Serves: 8


  • 2 cups cook garbanzo beans ( drained and rinsed)
  • 1 red bell pepper – diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper – diced
  • 1 ½  cup cherry tomatoes – halved
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes – diced
  • 1 cup cucumber – diced
  • ¼ cup red onion – diced
  • 10 olives – chopped  
  • 5 green onions – sliced thinly
  • 1 garlic clove – minced
  • 2 cup baby arugula
  • 8 tablespoons fresh mint – chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano


  • Place all ingredients, except baby arugula, in amixing bowl.
  • Mix well.
  • In a separate dish, arrange baby arugula into abed and top with Balela Salad.
  • Serve with warm pita and tahini if desired.
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 127.6, Total Fat 4.5g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 258.0mg, Total Carbohydrate 19.8g, Dietary Fiber 4.2g, Sugars 2.2g, Protein 4.0g.

Aboutthe Chef 

Rod Knight is executive chef at West Kendall Baptist Hospital.  In Chef Rod’s kitchen, “clean eating” and “farm to fork” are not simply catch phrases. He is committed to offering plant-based meals and better-for-you protein options that never compromise flavor. He and his skilled team craft the patient menu choices, Wellness Meals and weekly specials from scratch using the freshest, highest-quality ingredients. While at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, Chef Rod has collaborated with the hospital’s culinary ambassador, Chef Adrianne well as teams from Baptist Health Wellness and Homestead Hospital’s Grow2Heal community garden to identify new ways to improve quality of life with food. He also shares his healthy food philosophy and recipes with the community through lectures, cooking demonstrations, press events and blogs.  Chef Rod’s passion for delicious food that fosters wellness aligns with West Kendall Baptist Hospital’s goal to help our community become the healthiest in Florida.

Watch Lucette Talamas, registered dietitian, and executive chef Rod Knight live on The Health Channel on Tuesday, May 21 from 1 -2 p.m. (The rerun is set for 9 -10 p.m. that night.) They’ll discuss the Mediterranean diet and its multiple health benefits in honor of International Mediterranean Diet Month in May.  The program is presented by Baptist Health.

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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