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Lentil Salad

July 8, 2024

Fresh, healthy and tossed in an herby homemade dressing, this lentil salad recipe can be vegan if you want it to be, and is our very favorite make-ahead lunch.

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lentil salad made with cucumber, tomato, red onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, feta, olive oil, ACV & spices
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Best Lentil Salad Recipe

Lentil salad is everything we want lunch (or even a light summer dinner recipe) to be! It’s healthy but filling, flavorful and satisfying. Most of all? This lentil salad recipe can be made ahead of time! Lentils (green, brown or even French lentils) tossed with juicy tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers, all coated in a zippy, herb-flecked homemade dressing? Yum! It’s yummy cold from the fridge, or even at room temperature, and it travels beautifully. For more fresh and delicious summer salad inspiration, check out our Mediterranean Couscous Salad or our round up of our very Best Summer Salads.

lentils, cucumber, tomato, red onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, feta, olive oil, ACV & spices in prep bowls

Lentil Salad Ingredients

  • Lentils. Brown or green lentils will cook up in basically the same way, and you can use them interchangeably in this recipe. If you want to get fancy and use French lentils (also labeled Le Puy lentils) instead, that’s fine! Just know that you may need to adjust the cook time, so be sure to follow the instructions on the lentil packaging. We particularly love to use French lentils in our Tuna Lentil Salad.

  • Cucumbers. We suggest using a thin-skinned variety like English or Persian, so you don’t have to monkey around with peeling the cucumber.

  • Tomatoes. We call for grape tomatoes because their oblong shape feels just right to us in this lentil salad. But if you’ve got cherry tomatoes all ripe and popping in your garden, by all means, use those.

  • Red onion

  • Fresh flat leaf parsley

  • Lemon.

  • Garlic.

  • Feta cheese. We just love the salty, mediterranean vibe that crumbly, milky feta adds to this salad. It makes it feel like an even heartier lunch, too. However, if you want to make this a vegan lentil salad, simply leave out the feta. It’ll still be super delicious.

For the herby lentil salad dressing

  • Olive oil

  • Cider vinegar

  • Sugar

  • Garlic powder

  • Dried oregano

  • Dried basil

salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, and sugar being combined in a glass bowl to make dressing
lentils cooking in a pot of boiling water
dressing being poured over lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley, lemon juice & feta cheese in a glass bowl
lentil salad made with cucumber, tomato, red onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, feta, olive oil, ACV & spices

How To Cook Lentils

  1. Rinse your lentils and do a quick check for shriveled lentils or even little pieces of rock, and remove any thing that doesn’t look like a normal dried lentil.

  2. Bring a pot of unsalted water to a rapid boil. Repeat: do not salt the water!

  3. Pour in the dried lentils and let them simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy. It’ll take about half an hour, but we’d start checking for doneness after around 20 minutes, because the cooking time can vary a bit depending on the freshness of your lentils.

  4. Drain the lentils. Do this just as you would with pasta — just pop a colander in the sink and pour the lentils in. You can season the cooked lentils with salt now, if you’d like to.

lentil salad made with cucumber, tomato, red onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, feta, olive oil, ACV & spices

Lentil Salad Tips + How To Serve

  • Did we mention that this is the perfect make-ahead lunch and healthy meal prep recipe? The lentils can be cooked up to 7 days ahead of time, and stored in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to make the lentil salad.

  • Even though lentils are dried, fresher is better. If you have dried lentils in your cupboard that have been there for more than about 6 months, dump them in the compost and buy some new ones.

  • For this recipe, don’t use red, yellow or orange lentils. While we love those varieties for soups and stews (helloooo Red Lentil Soup!), they are a bit softer when cooked and aren’t quite al dente in the way we want them to be in a hearty salad like this.

  • Leftover lentil salad will keep in the fridge easily for up to 5 days. To extend the life of the lentil salad, leave the feta off until the last minute.

lentil salad made with cucumber, tomato, red onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, feta, olive oil, ACV & spices

Happy Lunching!

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Lentil Salad

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  30 min
  • Calories: 253

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups dry green lentils
  • 2½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup extra- virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups finely chopped English or Persian cucumber
  • 6 ounces grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese, (optional)

Method

  1. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the lentils and cook until tender, 25-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of the salt. Let the lentils sit for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.

    lentils cooking in a pot of boiling water
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl make the lentil salad dressing. Combine the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, and sugar.

    salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, and sugar being combined in a glass bowl to make dressing
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the drained lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley, lemon juice, feta cheese, if using, and dressing. Toss to coat.

    dressing being poured over lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley, lemon juice & feta cheese in a glass bowl
  4. Divide the lentil salad among 6 bowls and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    lentil salad made with cucumber, tomato, red onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, feta, olive oil, ACV & spices

Notes

Don't salt the water before you cook the lentils! If you add salt or acid to lentils before they are cooked, you won’t get tender results.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories253
  • Protein9 g
  • Carbohydrates25 g
  • Total Fat19 g
  • Dietary Fiber10 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium977 mg
  • Total Sugars2 g

Lentil Salad

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