Lentil Salad

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This healthy Lentil Salad with cooked lentils and diced carrots, celery, bell pepper, onion, parsley, and lemon juice is perfect for making ahead for lunch as the flavors only get better overnight.

Lentil Salad
Lentil Salad

I love warm lentils, like in my Chicken and Lentil Soup and Lentils and Rice with Eggs and Bacon, but I was never really a fan of lentils in a salad (I’m a picky legume eater). But that all changed years ago when I bought a cold lentil salad at a health food store. I enjoyed everything about it – except for the high price. Lentils are so affordable to cook at home, so I knew I had to try making the salad myself. My homemade version was a fraction of the cost of the store-bought one, so save your money, and make this salad ASAP! It’s also vegan, high in fiber and protein, and only about 100 calories per serving.

Lentil Salad

What is lentil salad made of?

  • Lentils: Brown lentils cook with bay leaf and fresh thyme. Green or black lentils would also work, and canned lentils are fine if you’re in a hurry. If you don’t love lentils, make it with any legume or grain, such as white beans, chickpeas, quinoa, or a mix.
  • Vegetables: This salad recipe calls for celery, bell pepper, and carrots, but feel free to use whatever you have. Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chopped baby spinach, and celery would all work.
  • Onion: Swap red onion for shallots or scallions.
  • Herbs: Sub fresh basil, mint, or chives for parsley.
  • Dressing: Add the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper directly to the lentil mixture – no need to whisk separately. You can also substitute the lemon juice for red wine or white wine vinegar.

How to Cook Lentils for Lentil Salad

Lentils cook much quicker than dry beans. Plus, you don’t have to soak them before cooking.

  1. Combine the lentils, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cover the lentils with an inch of water. Don’t add salt to the water at this point or they will take much longer to cook.
  3. Bring the lentils to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 16 to 20 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
  4. Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaf.

Lentil Salad Meal Prep

This cold lentil salad recipe makes a lot, so you’ll get a few meals out of it. It lasts in the fridge for three days and is perfect as leftovers for lunch. If you’re looking for more meal prep salads with legumes, try my Black Bean, Avocado, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad and Fiesta Bean Salad.

salad ingredients with lentilsLentil Salad

More Lentil Recipes You’ll Love:

Lentil Salad
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4.92 from 36 votes
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Lentil salad

1
181 Cals 10 Protein 29.5 Carbs 3.5 Fats
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Yield: 5 servings
COURSE: Lunch, Salad
CUISINE: American
This healthy Lentil Salad with cooked lentils and diced carrots, celery, bell pepper, onion, parsley, and lemon juice is perfect for making ahead for lunch!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, *
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan combine lentils, bay leaf, and thyme.
    lentils
  • Add enough water to cover by 1 inch.
  • Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 16 to 20 minutes.
  • Drain lentils and discard bay leaf and thyme.
  • Place in a large work bowl with carrots, celery, red pepper, red onion, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Toss to combine and serve chilled or room temperature.
    How To Make Lentil Salad

Notes

Makes 4 1/2 cups.
*If you want to use cooked lentils, use 3 cups.

Nutrition

Serving: 1scant cup, Calories: 181kcal, Carbohydrates: 29.5g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 3.5g, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Sodium: 251mg, Fiber: 5.5g, Sugar: 3g
WW Points Plus: 3
Keywords: Vegetarian Meals

 

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129 comments

  1. I love any kind of lentil soup or salad

  2. This is delicious!! Based on the comments, I doubled the recipe, and I’m so glad I did! I was hoping the prep work would be worth and it definitely was. Looking forward to having it for lunch this week and sharing with a friend.

  3. Sounds delicious . Wondering if anyone has tried with some other seasoning, ie. Mediterranean, Moroccan, Greek? I think would be great.

    • I have tried several variations of this wonderful recipe. They are all delicious. Use cucumbers , tomatoes, olives and feta for a Greek twist (and then I add a little olive brine to the dressing.) For a latino slant, I use cilantro and a little fresh mint, tomatoes and cumin, with lime juice instead of lemon. As a lifelong member of WW( weightwatchers), I love to add extra veggies of every kind. I just made it with rainbow carrots-so pretty! And as another person commented, I almost always add a little shot of balsamic vinegar to mellow it all out.  

  4. This is the third time I’ve made this….. I just love it! Took it too a pitch in luncheon last week and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. 

  5. Is this salad freezable? I am keen to make this and keep it for lunches to bring to work.

  6. This is amazing. I love the texture and the flavor is perfect. I didn’t have red pepper so I just added basil and cucumber, Followed the rest of the recipe as is. Thank you so much. I will def make this again.

  7. Great Lentil salad.  I added some shredded zucchini from the garden and two diced Shishito peppers.  Used rice vinegar and red wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice.  Great idea for lunch.

  8. Made it today for meal prep. Tastes great and easy to make!!

  9. This recipe is amazing. I’ve eaten this all week on top of a bed of baby kale with a little hummus on the side – awesome lunch, tons of flavor, and enough dressing to flavor the kale too! This is a keeper! Thanks, Gina. 

  10. I made this salad couple days ago and it was absolutely delicious!!! I made lentils in IP and then assembled salad and put in fridge for several hours!!! It was so scrumptious 

  11. It’s absolutely delicious!!!

  12. Holy Cannoli!!! Just made this and it’s PHENOMENAL!!! This is not zero effort but it is sooooooo worth it!!! Next time I’m doubling it for leftovers. Thanks again for an amazing dairy-free (and low ww point) recipe!!

  13. Delicious! Added a few splashes of balsamic vinegar to balance out the flavors 

  14. This was so delicious! I subbed red wine vinegar for the lemon juice and topped with a little feta cheese and Kalamata olives. So yummy!

  15. I am interested in making this salad, but I am intimidated by cooking lentils on the stovetop. They just never seem to get “done.” I think they would cook great in the instant pot, though. Since this is a repost of an old recipe, would be nice to update it with instant pot instructions included.

  16. I love your recipes, making shrimp and asparagus tonite(date nite)! In this recipe,could I use dry split green peas,have small amt.,left from another recipe. Thank you for ALL you do

  17. This is the best!  I make it even easier by using a package of precooked lentils.  Great as a picnic side and if leftovers makes a quick complete lunch.  Love it…❤️

  18. Loved it! Perfect meal for hot summer days! I added some cubed vegan cheese https://violifefoods.com/ on top. Will definitely keep the recipe and make again. Thank you!

  19. I have a question, are the carrots cooked? This looks amazing and I want to make it ASAP!