Say hello to the superhero of salads – this healthy lentil salad! It’s not just a medley of veggies and lentils; it’s a nutrient-packed powerhouse that’s about to elevate your taste buds to cloud nine. It’s fresh and hearty, and zesty herbs do a little dance on your palate when you bite in. A delectable creamy tahini dressing ties it all together.

Whether you’re in the mood for a complete meal or you’re looking for the perfect sidekick to your main course, this salad’s got your back.

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

Why You’ll Be Loving This Lentil Salad Recipe

We love lentils in recipes like our Egyptian lentil soup and koshari, but they’re also incredible in this lentil salad recipe! We know, it sounds a little strange, but we promise it’s great. 

Cooked until tender, they’re paired with crisp veggies, tossed with a creamy dressing, and served cold. The end result is a satisfying variety of tastes, textures, and nutrients that satisfy your tastebuds and keep you full. 

And, bonus — lentils are typically super affordable and easy to cook! With this vegan lentil salad, you’ll have a restaurant-worthy lunch or dinner that looks super fancy but is actually really easy to make. 

What Are Lentils?

A super budget-friendly ingredient, lentils are a type of edible legumes that are also considered to be vegetables. A nutrient powerhouse, they’re high in plant-based protein and low in fat. 

Lentils 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. 

Are Lentils Healthy? 

Yes! Lentils are an extremely nutritious food source, containing lots of vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein. 

For instance, lentils are:

  • Rich in folate, iron, thiamine, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. 
  • A good source of vitamin B6. 
  • Low in fat, including saturated fat and trans fat. 
Close up image of chopped veggies, parsley, and lentils for a lentil salad.

What Is Lentil Salad Made Of? 

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 the scoop on what you’ll need: 

For the Salad

  • Lentils – We include brown lentils which have a mild flavor and a soft texture once cooked, but any variety of lentils can be used. You could even use canned lentils for super quick prep time! Opt for low-sodium varieties, 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 best taste, 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 – The acidity helps cut through some of the heaviness of the fats, creating a vibrant, well-rounded flavor. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best, but bottled lemon juice also works. 
  • Spices – Cumin, salt, and black pepper add a warm, savory flavor that pairs perfectly with the lentil salad. 

How to Cook Lentils 

Lentils cook similarly to quinoa or buckwheat. It’s beyond easy! 

We’ve outlined the basic process of how to cook lentils below.

  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. 
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How to Make a Restaurant-Worthy Lentil Salad Recipe

With minimal prep time, a quick stint on the stove, and a grand total of just 30 minutes, it’s like the Olympic champion of salads – quick, easy, and a winner every time.

  1. Prepare the Lentils. Rinse the lentils, and drain the excess water. Then, add them to a large pot, submerge them in water, and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook the lentils according to package instructions until tender, and drain the water. 
  2. Combine the Salad. In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked lentils, chopped veggies, and parsley. Gently mix to combine. 
  3. Make the Dressing. In a small bowl, mason jar, or dressing jar, add all the ingredients for the dressing, and whisk or mix until smooth. 
  4. Toss the Salad. Pour the tahini dressing over the salad, gently toss to combine and coat the ingredients, and enjoy! 
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two bowls full of lentil salad.

Variations

Unleash your inner kitchen maestro and let the flavor experimentation begin! This lentil salad recipe is a blank canvas that you can use as your base. Here are some of our favorite flavor twists to spark your creativity:

  • Cheese – If you’re not following a vegan diet, sprinkling in some feta or goat cheese adds an extra creamy texture and a touch of saltiness we love. 
  • Protein – For a complete meal, toss in your favorite protein like grilled chicken, Mediterranean sun-dried tomato meatballs, salmon, grilled shrimp, shrimp kofta, or tofu. 
  • Produce – Feel free to use whatever veggies or leftover produce 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 vibrant mixed greens for a light lunch. 

It also pairs perfectly with a side of homemade garlic bread or burrata with roasted tomatoes. And you can never go wrong with brown butter brookies cookies or Biscoff tiramisu for dessert! 

Make Ahead and Storage

Become the master of meal prep and make a big batch of this vegetarian lentil salad — it gets even better with time!

Once combined, leftovers can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to four days. Just give your salad a good toss before serving to redistribute the dressing and ingredients. 

We do not recommend freezing this recipe, because it’s likely to become soggy once thawed. 

Common Questions About This Easy Lentil Salad Recipe

Can lentils be eaten cold? 

Yes! Lentils taste great cold, especially when paired with other ingredients like they are in a salad. 

What’s the healthiest way to eat lentils? 

Lentils can be enjoyed in a variety of nutritious recipes. However, they should never be eaten raw! To get the most out of these little nutrient powerhouses, be sure to boil them first. 

Are lentils high or low in calories? 

Lentils are considered to be low in calories and high in nutrients.

Which is better for you beans or lentils? 

Both are nutritious food sources and what is healthier is largely dependent on your specific needs. However, in general, lentils are lower in carbs and phytates, meaning they’re less likely to cause flatulence or GI issues. 

What type of lentil is best for lentil salads? 

Black lentils are generally considered to be the most nutritious lentils for salads. 

Do you need to soak lentils before cooking? 

Soaking your lentils before cooking can help reduce the cooking time (sometimes by nearly half!) and can also allow for easier digestion and better nutrient absorption. However, doing so is not completely necessary.  

How can you tell when lentils are done cooking? 

The best way to tell when lentils are done cooking is to just give them a taste! 

More Salad Recipes You’ll Love

If this easy lentil salad has become your culinary crush, buckle up for a whole lineup of nutritious and delicious salads below:

overhead image of a large white bowl full of lentil salad.

Lentil Salad Recipe

4.91 from 30 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 10 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
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!

Ingredients  

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups uncooked brown lentils
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 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.
    2 cups uncooked brown lentils
  • In a large bowl, add the cooked lentils, chopped veggies, and parsley. Mix to combine.
    1 red bell pepper, chopped, 1 orange bell pepper, chopped, 1 green bell pepper, chopped, 1/2 red onion, chopped, 1 English cucumber, chopped, 2 medium tomatoes, chopped, 1/2 cup parsley
  • 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.
    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, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Serve immediately, and enjoy!
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | 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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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Recipe Rating




40 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this with Shawarma chicken for lunch – yummy. Also had it with Calamari starters on Sunday lunch with friends. Definitely have both of them again. Delicious !

  2. 4 stars
    Just needs a little more lemon and salt. Other than that, the salad is perfect and delicious and attractive to eat.

  3. 5 stars
    This is salad is absolutely delicious and gorgeous! It is easy to make and a crowd pleaser. It’s perfect as a main for a luncheon. This recipe is one of my go-to for entertaining.

  4. The salad dressing has just split, I used everything except the garlic, salt and pepper. What can I do next time?
    Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    This is absolutely delicious! My whole family liked it, including my mom and grandma who are picky! Only thing is, the second time I used about half the amount of lentils because it makes a TON. So so good, thank you!!!

  6. Yummy! I pickled the onions the way you recommend for the Mediterranean quinoa salad and it’s delicious! Bringing for my vegan niece for a family dinner before thanksgiving. Sure to be another winner from you!

  7. Does the dressing need to be stored in the refrigerator? Mine keeps kind of solidifying and i have to microwave it for a few seconds. Wondering if i could leave it out and addit when i have the salad for lunch

    1. It’s best to keep it in the fridge! It’s normal for it to become thicker. Just add a bit of water, and give it a stir to freshen it back up. 😊

      Xo,
      Alia & Radwa

  8. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and my husband and I loved it. It’s just the 2 of us so I’m glad we will be able to eat it for a couple of lunches. I just cut I avacado and we each had a half in our dinner portion. Thank you for sharing

  9. 3 stars
    Flavors are yummy and the dressing delish. I think 2 things I would recommend:
    I may have overcooked my lentils and/or you should cool them COMPLETELY before adding to the veggies—mine turned to mush, and doesn’t look as pretty as the photo.

    1. Oh no! We’re so sorry to hear that this didn’t work. We recommend cooking just until they are tender. Unfortunately, every brand of lentils can differ from one another. We hope you give this another try! xo, Alia and Radwa

  10. 5 stars
    This is the first recipe I tried from Food Dolls and everyone loved it! Love how it’s loaded with veggies and loved the tahini-based dressing. I’m a fan now ❤️

  11. My son is allergic to sesame seeds. Is there anything I can use in place of the Tahini? Recipe looks delicious! Thanks!

  12. I made this to accompany salmon for our New Year’s Eve celebration. It was a great success and everyone wanted the recipe and we’re certainly going to make it again..thank you.

    1. Some grocery stores have it near the nut butters, others have it in the International/Ethnic Foods section!