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.
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!
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.
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!
More Salad Recipes
- Fall Chickpea Salad
- Kale & Wild Rice Salad
- Black Bean Salad
- Cucumber Salad
- Green Bean Salad
- Easy Orzo Salad
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
- 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.
Have you tried this recipe?
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Photos by Molly from Yes to Yolks