This is the Ultimate Lentil Salad Recipe! It's a plant-based lunch that's super satisfying thanks to the crunchy veggies and tangy dressing.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Lentils – use either dry brown or green lentils for this recipe.
- Olive oil – or another neutral cooking oil like avocado or canola oil.
- Lemon juice – freshly squeezed lemon juice is best but bottled lemon juice can be used in a pinch.
- Red wine vinegar – apple cider vinegar would be the best substitute here.
- Dijon mustard – try using stone-ground mustard instead.
- Garlic – use freshly minced or jarred minced garlic.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Red onion – you can substitute for white onion, but it has a milder flavour.
- Celery – substitute for another crunchy veggie, or add more pepper or carrot.
- Red pepper – or any colour bell pepper of your choice.
- Carrot – swap out for more celery instead.
- Parsley – fresh basil or oregano would be the best substitutes here.
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How to make lentil salad
Step 1: Cook the lentils.
Cook lentils in 3 cups of water in a pot on the stove until liquid has absorbed and lentils are fully cooked, about 20 minutes. This can be done up to 2 days in advance, or you can use drained and rinsed canned lentils to skip ahead.
Step 2: Chop up the veggies.
Meanwhile, prepare veggies and toss other ingredients together in a large bowl.
Step 3: Toss everything together.
When lentils are done cooking, let cool for 1 hour then toss with remaining ingredients.
Step 4: Serve and enjoy!
Let sit for at least 1 hour to let the flavours combine, then serve and enjoy!
How to cook lentils for salad
To cut down on prep time for this lentil salad recipe, you can cook the lentils up to 2 days in advance. Just cook them on the stovetop for about 20 minutes until the water has been fully absorbed – the liquid to dry lentil ratio is 3:1, so for every 1 cup of dry lentils, you’ll need 3 cups of water. You can also make them in the pressure cooker using my Instant Pot lentils recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Like the name suggests, lentil salad is a salad where lentils are the main ingredient. This recipe is made with other veggies including red onion, celery, red pepper and carrot.
I find that this lentil salad recipe goes well with the tangy dressing that’s made of olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Feel free to try out different salad dressings and add in any more veggies you might have kicking around your fridge!
Lentils are super healthy, which is what makes this lentil salad a healthy lunch idea. Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, fibre, iron and folate, so they’re a great addition to your diet.
Storing and reheating
This lentil salad recipe will last in the fridge for 4 to 5 days in glass bowls, meal prep containers or even mason jars. In fact, it might even taste better the next day because the lentils have had more time to soak in all the yummy flavours! Since it’s a salad, you don’t need to worry about reheating – just pull it out of the fridge and dig in.
Can you freeze lentil salad?
I wouldn’t recommend freezing this entire lentil salad, as the other veggies won’t defrost well. That being said, you can cook and freeze the lentils up to 3 months in advance. Freeze them in a Ziploc bag, then just let them defrost in the fridge overnight before using them to make a fresh salad.
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The Ultimate Lentil Salad
- 1 cup dry brown or green lentils rinsed well
- 3 cups water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice preferably fresh squeezed
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 small red onion finely diced
- 2 stalks celery finely diced
- 1 red pepper finely diced
- 1 carrot grated
- 1/3 cup parsley finely chopped
- Cook lentils in 3 cups of water in a pot on the stove until liquid has absorbed and lentils are fully cooked, about 20 minutes. This can be done up to 2 days in advance, or you can use drained and rinsed canned lentils to skip ahead.
- Meanwhile, prepare veggies and toss other ingredients together in a large bowl. When lentils are done cooking, let cool for 1 hour then toss with remaining ingredients.
- Let sit for at least 1 hour to let the flavours combine, then serve and enjoy!
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