Lentil salad offers a refreshing and delicious way to eat lots of protein and veggies. Mine is seasoned with fresh herbs and a lemon-based salad dressing.
Due to the lentils, this salad is packed with protein. The fresh veggies and herbs add color and a crisp flavor. The combination of lemon, honey, and mustard for the dressing brings a citrus brightness to the salad.
It’s a perfect way to bring some fresh ingredients into a cold dreary winter day.
Lentils are also high in fiber and are a great source of slow-burning complex carbs. While lentils do contain a high amount of carbs, they are naturally gluten-free.
What kind to use for lentil salad
There are three main kinds of lentils that you will find in any grocery store.
- Brown- This is the most common variety. If the bag has no other description, it is probably brown lentils. They have a mild flavor and hold their shape well during cooking, perfect for lentil lettuce wraps.
- Green- These lentils have a much more robust flavor. Their strong peppery flavor tastes great in salads. This is why I choose these for this lentil salad.
- Red or yellow- These lentils are always “split” meaning they are cut into small pieces. They have a sweet, nutty flavor. Because they are small, they tend to fall apart easier and are best used in stews, a crock pot lentil soup, or casseroles.
How do you cook lentils?
You can find canned lentils. If you use them, you just need to drain and rinse the legumes.
It’s easy to cook dried lentils though.
- Soak the lentils in lots of water overnight at room temperature. This is an optional step, but will reduce the cooking time the next day and make digestion A LOT easier.
- Drain and rinse the lentils.
- Put the lentils and plenty of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Tightly cover the pot.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until they are tender. If you have not soaked the lentils, it will take 15-20 minutes. If you have, the time will be reduced.
Another option is to cook your lentils in the Instant Pot. If you did not soak the lentils, it will take 15 minutes on high pressure. If you soaked them, set the Instant Pot for five minutes.
Always use a natural release to slowly stop the cooking process. There will be foam in the pot from cooking the lentils. If you perform a quick release, the foam could shoot through the valve and burn you.
How long does lentil salad last in the fridge?
The salad will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. This means you can make it in advance for a meal or use this recipe as meal prep.
This lentil salad makes four servings. Divide it into four containers and have lunches prepared in advance.
While you can not freeze this complete salad, you can freeze cooked lentils. Use frozen lentils within three months. Then the most time-consuming part of the recipe will be done in advance.
- 1 cup dried green lentils - or 1 can cooked green lentils
- 1 English cucumber
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch curly parsley
- 6 mint leaves
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp honey
- If you choose to cook your own lentils, soak lentils in abundant water overnight on the kitchen counter. The next day, drain and rinse them. Then cook them either in boiling water on the stovetop until soft or use the Instant Pot 5 minutes on high pressure plus natural pressure release. Else, open your can of lentils and drain and rinse the lentils. (see video)
- Wash and finely dice cucumber. Peel and finely chop the red onion. Wash and deseed tomatoes, then finely dice. Wash, dry, and destalk parsley and mint and chop extra finely.
- Add cooked drained lentils, chopped vegetables, and herbs, as well as crumble feta to a large salad bowl.
- Prepare the dressing by adding olive oil, juice of 1/2 the lemon, dijon mustard, and honey to a sealable container and shake.
- Pour dressing over lentil salad and give a good mix. Try the salad to see if it needs salt and pepper for your liking and add now, then give another mix.