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Lentil Salad Recipe

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This Lentil Salad Recipe is loaded with fresh vegetables, herbs, and creamy tahini for a hearty vegan meal bursting with flavor and nutrients. Serve it on its own or as a filling side! 

overhead image of a large white bowl full of lentil salad with veggies and a tahini dressing

The Best Lentil Salad

We grew up enjoying recipes like Koshari and Lentil Soup, meaning lentils were a big part of our diet. Today, we continue this tradition with new recipes like this refreshing lentil salad! Easy to throw together it’s a family favorite and one of our go-to recipes all year long. Loaded with fresh veggies and a creamy tahini dressing, it’s absolutely bursting with flavor and so good for you, too! Even better, the kids love it, and it’s perfect for meal prep to take to work or school. Thanks to all the fiber, it’s super filling on its own, but you can also bulk it up with your favorite add-ins. Basically, it’s one of the most versatile recipes you’ll ever make and is guaranteed to become a staple in your meal prep rotation, too! 

What Are Lentils?

A super budget-friendly ingredient, lentils are a type of edible legume that are also considered to be vegetables. A nutrient powerhouse, they’re high in plant-based protein and low in fat. They come in various colors ranging from Flat Green, Flat Black, French Green, Black, Red, and Yellow. Although very similar, each variety has a slightly different taste and texture. For more information on their differences, keep reading here. However, for this recipe, we used common brown lentils which have a mild flavor and soft texture once cooked. 

How to Cook Brown Lentils 

Lentils cook similarly to quinoa or buckwheat. We’ve outlined the basic process below. For a more thorough breakdown, keep reading here

  1. Rinse in a mesh sieve until the water runs clear. 
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Then, simmer your lentils until they are soft and tender. 
  3. Drain the cooked lentils with a fine colander or strainer. 

Do I Need to Soak Lentils Before Cooking? 

You don’t have to soak your lentils before cooking, but doing so can help reduce the cooking time by nearly half. It also allows for easier digestion and better nutrient absorption as the phytic acid begins to break down binding the nutrients. 

close up image of chopped tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber, green peppers, yellow peppers, parsley, red onions, and brown lentils ready to be mixed for lentil salad

Ingredients You’ll Need

For this salad, we broke the ingredient list down into two components. The first is for the salad. The second is for the accompanying dressing. Here’s what you’ll need: 

For the Salad

  • Lentils – As mentioned, we included brown lentils, but any variety can be used. For quicker prep, you could also use canned lentils. Just be sure to opt for a low-sodium variety, and be sure to rinse and drain them well. 
  • Veggies – A combination of bell peppers, red onion, English cucumber, and tomatoes makes for a vibrant salad that’s full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. 
  • Herbs – Fresh parsley adds a light, peppery taste. 

For the Dressing

  • Olive Oil – High-quality extra virgin olive oil forms the base of the dressing and adds a savory flavor along with healthy fats.
  • Garlic – For the boldest flavor, use fresh garlic, and mince it yourself.
  • Tahini – A paste made of sesame seeds, tahini is nutty, delicious, and super healthy, too! 
  • White Vinegar – The acidity helps balance out the bitter taste of tahini.
  • Lemon – Used to lighten up the dressing.
  • Spices – Cumin, salt, and pepper add a warm, savory flavor that pairs perfectly with the lentil salad. 

How to Make this Vegan Lentil Salad Recipe

This salad is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever prepare! Just follow the steps below, and it’s ready in no time. 

  1. Prepare the lentils: Rinse the lentils, and boil them for about 20-25 minutes or until tender. Then, drain, and set them aside to cool. 
  2. Combine: In a large bowl, mix together the cooked lentils, chopped veggies, and parsley until the ingredients are well combined. 
  3. Make the dressing: In a mason jar or dressing container, add all of the ingredients for the tahini dressing, and shake, mix, or whisk until smooth. 
  4. Toss: Pour the dressing over the lentil salad, and toss until all of the ingredients are coated. 
  5. Serve: Divide the salad into 8-10 portions, serve, and enjoy! 

two bowls full of lentil salad

Variations

Feel free to experiment with different flavor combinations and add-ins to make this lentil salad your own. Some of our favorite options include: 

  • Cheese – If you’re not following a vegan diet, sprinkling in some feta or goat cheese adds an extra creamy texture and touch of saltiness we love. 
  • Protein – For a complete meal, toss in your favorite protein like grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp, or even tofu. 
  • Veggies – Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand! Some additions include olives, eggplant, and zucchini. 
  • Dressing – We love the warm taste of this dressing, but you can easily swap it out with any other you prefer. 

Serving Suggestions

Serve this lentil salad chilled on its own or as a side dish with proteins like baked salmon or chicken kofta. We even like to serve it over a bed of greens for a light lunch. Not to mention, it pairs perfectly with a side of homemade garlic bread or burrata with roasted tomatoes!   

Storage

This lentil salad can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Leftovers make for great meals the next day!

More Salad Recipes You’ll Love

If you enjoyed this lentil salad, you won’t want to miss out on these easy recipes as well! 

overhead image of a large white bowl full of lentil salad

Lentil Salad Recipe

Food Dolls
This Lentil Salad Recipe is loaded with fresh vegetables, herbs, and creamy tahini for a hearty vegan meal bursting with flavor and nutrients. Serve it on its own or as a filling side!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course dinner, lunch, Salad, Side
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Servings 10
Calories 258 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups uncooked brown lentils
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup parsley

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove grated garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the lentils. In a pot, add lentils, and cover with water (about 5 cups). Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and let cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, add the cooked lentils, chopped veggies, and parsley. Mix to combine.
  • Add all ingredients (oil, garlic, tahini, white vinegar, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper) to a mason jar or dressing jar. Mix until smooth. Pour over salad, toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately, and enjoy!
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 600mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1301IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 4mg
Keyword lentil salad, lentil salad recipe, lentils recipe
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