Lemon Chickpea Salad (Balilah)

January’s pick for the Cookbook Club is Falastin, by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley. I’ve been a fan of Tamimi’s for a long time, as he co-authored one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Jerusalem, so I was very excited about this pick. While Jerusalem looks at the food of Jerusalem from both the Jewish and the Arab lens, Falastin is devoted solely to the Palestinian food of Tamimi’s childhood. As you can tell if you’ve read through our recipes, we love Middle Eastern food and flavors, so we’re all excited to cook through this one. This particular recipe was an easy first option. It takes no time to put together and is a healthy, flavorful side dish for just about anything. I’m also going to be eating the leftovers for lunch for the next few days.

Lemon Chickpea Salad (Balilah)

(Adapted minimally from Falastin)
  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 2 large lemons
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ~1/2 cup of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 10 large mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions, white & light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 5+ turns of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Place them in a pot, covered in water. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for ~10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, zest both lemons into a large bowl. Peel and remove the white pith of one of the lemons. Chop it roughly, putting the flesh and juice into the same boil. Squeeze the juice from the second lemon into the bowl.
  3. In another, smaller bowl, stir together all of the remaining ingredients.
  4. When the chickpeas are cooked, drain them and then immediately pour into the bowl with the lemon zest, flesh, and juices. Stir to combine.
  5. Once cooled slightly, pour the remaining ingredients over the chickpeas. Stir to coat well. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed.
  6. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Serves 4-6 as a side

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