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This healthy Lentil Salad combines lentils with finely chopped red onions, green peppers, red peppers, cilantro and parsley.  It’s perfect to make ahead for lunch or to enjoy on the side with a piece of salmon or chicken.

A bowl of Lentil Salad next to a large serving bowl with the remainder of the salad

If I had to pick a favorite food, lentils would be at the top of the list.  I love lentils, but what I’ve found is that most people either love them or they hate them.  The reality is that many of the people who say they dislike lentils may have only tried them alone or not in a flavorful recipe such as this one, or when they have tried them, the lentils have been overcooked and are now mushy.

Personally, I think lentils are pretty great.  They’re quicker to make than dried beans (no-soaking!) and they’re full of protein.  I really love the taste, too!

Lentils are a year-round staple at our house.  In the winter, I toss them into hearty soups or in our favorite Vegetarian Sloppy Joes.  In the summer, I love to serve them cold in dishes such as this Quinoa, Lentil and Black Bean Burrito Bowl.  Our new favorite way to incorporate lentils is in this very simple Lentil Salad.

This flavorful gluten-free Lentil Salad is super easy to make and ideal served as either the main course or as a side dish.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Lentil salad is hearty and filled with flavor. Lentils are briefly cooked on the stove, drained and cooled and then tossed in a simple but flavorful vinaigrette. A delicious, easy to make salad.
  • Lentils are rich in fiber, protein, iron, and folate.

Ingredient Notes

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions. 

  • Lentils: I recommend using brown lentils. Brown lentils take only about 20 minutes to cook in boiling water. Green lentils take longer to cook than brown lentils. Red and orange lentils will not hold their shape when they are cooked.
  • Red onion, green bell pepper, and red pepper: To add to the salad.
  • Seasonings: Cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • Olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil in this lentil salad recipe as well as in every other recipe on ZagLeft that calls for olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed form of olive oil. It is an unrefined oil and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy. Because of the way extra virgin olive oil is made, it retains more true olive taste. It also contains more of the vitamins and minerals found in olives. It’s my favorite type of olive oil to use but you may use a lighter olive oil instead.
  • White wine vinegar and mayonnaise: To add flavor.

How To Make This Recipe

  1. Cook lentils: Cook the lentils in a large pot until lentils start to soften but are still slightly firm
  2. Drain lentils: Drain the lentils in a colander.
  3. Combine lentils: Combine lentils with the chopped peppers, cilantro, and parsley. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  4. Toss lentils with dressing: Pour over the lentils and mix well. Serve.

Chopped green and red bell peppers, chopped red onion, chopped parsley, and chopped cilantro in a large metal mixing bowl

Expert Tips

  • Use brown lentils. This type holds its shape well after cooking.
  • You can enjoy this salad warm or cold.
  • The lentils can be made a day or two in advance and added to the salad when you are ready to enjoy it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Store Cooked Lentils?

Cooked lentils will stay good in the fridge, covered for 1 week.

What Are Brown Lentils?

Brown lentils are the most commonly found lentils and the ones you probably see most often in your grocery store. They have a mild, earthy flavor and hold their shape well after cooking.

Closeup of a bowl of Lentil Salad

I often make this salad ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator to eat for lunch for the week as the flavors get better overnight.

If you’re looking for a Lentil Salad for One recipe, you can find that recipe as well as many other single serving recipes by visiting our One Dish Kitchen site.


Lentil Salad

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
This healthy Lentil Salad combines lentils with finely chopped red onions, green peppers, red peppers, cilantro and parsley. It's perfect to make ahead for lunch or to enjoy on the side with a piece of salmon or chicken.


  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1 small red onion , finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper , finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper , finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro , finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley , finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  • Combine rinsed lentils in a large pot with 4 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until lentils start to soften but are still slightly firm.
  • Remove from heat and rinse lentils in a colander under cold water.
  • Combine lentils with the chopped peppers, cilantro and parsley.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour over the lentils and mix well.
  • Serve.
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Hi, I’m Joanie and welcome to ZagLeft where we share favorite recipes as well as exciting travel experiences that we’ve enjoyed while always trying to take the road less traveled.

More Ideas


  1. Just had this with a veggie butternut burger, great combination!
    Easy, healthy and delicious recipe! ? Just what I was looking for.
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us!