Lentil Salad

Quick Summary

This healthy Lentil Salad is made with green lentils, crunchy cucumber, sweet red bell pepper, onion, herbs, and a simple lemon dressing. It’s packed with flavor and a favorite for lunch or dinner.

lentil salad in bowl with spoon

Okay, I know a Lentil Salad doesn’t sound all that exciting, BUT hear me out. Lentils are GOOD…if you’ve tried our Lentil Soup, you know of their goodness:)

This Lentil Salad is one of my very favorites. Seriously! I make it all of the time and eat it for days because it’s so good!

Lentils are really easy to cook and they absorb flavor wonderfully, making them the perfect base for the salad. I also love how nutritious lentils are. They are full of protein, iron, and fiber. This is a filling salad, but it still feels light thanks to the fresh vegetables, herbs, and lemon dressing.

How to Cook Lentils

I love lentils because they are affordable, easy to keep in the pantry, and super easy to cook.

For this salad, I like to use green lentils. First, make sure you give them a good rinse and pick out any debris or stones.

Did you know that you don’t have to soak lentils before cooking them? Another reason to love them! They only take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. Just put them in a pan with water or vegetable broth (I also add a bay leaf for more flavor) and bring them to a boil. Simmer until they are tender, but not too soft. You don’t want them to be mushy in the salad.

Rinse them quickly with cold water and that is it! The lentils are ready for the salad.

Simple Lemon Dressing

While the lentils are cooking, you can make the salad dressing. I love this simple dressing because it is light and refreshing. Plus, I always have the ingredients on hand.

  • Olive oil
  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey or pure maple syrup
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl or you can put the ingredients in a sealed jar and shake, shake, shake!

lentil salad recipe

How to Make

Once the lentils are cooked and the dressing is made, it is time to assemble the salad!

  • In a large bowl, combine the lentils, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, parsley, and mint. Drizzle with the dressing and toss until well combined. The flavors are SO fresh!
  • You can serve the salad immediately, but I like to let it sit for 30 minutes so the flavors can meld.
  • If you want to add in crumbled feta cheese, you certainly can. It adds a nice creaminess. You can also add tomatoes, olives, or artichoke hearts.
  • For extra protein, feel free to add in grilled chicken, tuna, or salmon.

Serving Suggestions

You can eat this salad alone as a meal or serve it in smaller portions as a side. If you want to bulk up the salad a little, you can serve it over a bed of greens, I personally love arugula with this salad.

You can also serve it with pita bread or my Homemade Pita Chips. I love stuffing a warm pita with lentil salad or using the salad as a dip with pita chips.

How to Store

This lentil salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. I always love having this salad in the fridge for an easy lunch, dinner, snack…and I have even enjoyed it for breakfast. It really is good anytime of the day!

lentil salad with cucumber, pepper, onion, and herbs

More Salad Recipes

Lentil Salad

This healthy Lentil Salad is made with green lentils, crunchy cucumber, sweet red bell pepper, onion, herbs, and a simple lemon dressing. It’s packed with flavor and a favorite for lunch or dinner.
4.84 from 6 votes

Ingredients
  

For the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed well and picked over
  • 3 cups water (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 English cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeds removed, and finely diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan, combine the lentils, water or broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then turn to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are soft, but still slightly firm. Do not overcook or the lentils will be mushy.
  • While the lentils are cooking, make the dressing. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey or maple syrup, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • When the lentils are done cooking, use a colander to drain the lentils. Discard the bay leaf. Rinse quickly with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the cucumber, red pepper, red onion, parsley, mint, and feta cheese, if using, to the bowl. Stir. Drizzle with dressing and toss until well combined. Serve immediately or let sit for 30 minutes so the flavors can meld.

Nutrition

Calories: 217kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 21mg, Potassium: 448mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 897IU, Vitamin C: 35mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 3mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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Photos by Molly from Yes to Yolks

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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Comments

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  1. This salad has me looking forward to spring! I agree lentils might not look like much… but that doesn’t mean they aren’t tasty!

  2. 5 stars
    This is so bright and tasty. I made it as written, except I swapped cilantro for the parsley (because that’s what I had) and added celery for extra crunch. Delish!

  3. 5 stars
    Yummy recipe, we skipped the honey/syrup in the dressing and it still tasted delicious! We might put chopped apple or even raisins next time. Thanks for all your recipes….much appreciated 🙂

  4. Discovered your blog a few months ago and have tried several of your recipes. They have inspired me and my family to shift toward a more vegetarian lifestyle. As an RN working in this crazy Pandemic world I really appreciate the simple ingredients and easy recipes that are so easy to throw together that my 11 year olds can handle the prep and some of the cooking when I am on my way home from work exhausted. We have definitely added several of your recipes to our monthly rotation of faves. Thank you so much and looking forward to trying the lentil salad!!

  5. 5 stars
    We love this salad. My in-laws brought back huge amount of lentil from Turkey and I could cook it only so many times in soups or curry… And this salad came just in time. My husband loooves it. We had it for dinner last night and he praised so many times that I decided to share this with you. I made it as it is, only last night we had only hard goat cheese (instead the feta that is from cow milk) and it had this extra punch that I loved so much! Thank you for the amazing recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    Wonderful, easy recipe for lentils. I did not have all of the veggies and herb ingredients on hand and it was still delicious with substitutions. I did not have red bell pepper or an entire cucumber, so I threw in a carrot and tomato. I gathered little bits of different herbs I had on hand and used them instead of just mint and parsley. I had all of the other ingredients. The dressing and feta cheese really make this salad delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I made this salad a few weeks back with some grilled chicken and naan bread for a lunch with my daughter in law. It was delicious! I added the olives, feta and tomatoes and we loved it. I am making it for a family bbq tomorrow (doubling the recipe!) Thank you for this recipe I’m sure it’s going to be a hit tomorrow! And to any who haven’t tried it… TRY IT…. So good, cold and refreshing!

  8. I’m wondering if red lentils would work? Love your blog and all the recipes I’ve tried. Thank you!

    1. Sure, if you like red lentils, go for it! Thanks! I am glad you are loving our recipes!

  9. Hello! Can’t wait to make this, just wondering if you can use tinned lentils if you have to…….?

  10. Delicious, fresh and textural as written. Love the mint in it! I did use basil instead of mint once when I didn’t have any mint and it was also very good. Dressing is bright with the lemon zest and juice! I do add feta cheese, and dried cranberries for a pop of sweet tartness! Made this salad several times this summer. Use French lentil as they hold their shape and bite well.