Lentil Salad

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.

Enjoy!

This healthy Lentil Salad is made with cooked lentils, 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.

Lentil Salad

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.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Salad
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

About The Author

36 thoughts on “Lentil Salad”

  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!

  2. Katerina @ Diethood

    This salad is gorgeous! I, too, love lentils! So many people I meet have never even tried them. The nerve! 😉

  3. Aimee @ like mother like daughter

    I don’t think I’ve ever made anything with lentils but this salad looks super yummy I may need to try it!!

  4. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet

    We love lentils around here but I often shy away from cooking them. This salad looks amazing and I am thinking my hubby would dig right in!

  5. jamie@makeuplifelove

    5 stars
    This is such a great recipe. OMG it looks amazing. I have been trying to find a good lentil recipe and I think I totally found it.

  6. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

    Love the freshness of this recipe! So perfect for the summer!

  7. This looks like a great summer recipe! I’m about to buy some lentils today for another recipe and will have a lot left over. It looks like neither my husband nor daughter will even touch this, so maybe I’ll just make it for lunch and keep it all for myself? 😉 Pinning this for later!

  8. Kate - Catching Up With Kate

    5 stars
    I have all of these ingredients! I am going to make a big batch to eat this week – thank you!

  9. I love cold bean salads in the summer and your lentil salad is so colorful. I know what I’ll be haing for lunch tomorrow!

  10. I love lentils as well and am always on the lookout for ways to change up how I eat them. I will definitely be making this salad!

  11. You are a genius! I’ve been using all my lentils in soup even though it is in the 90’s. Hello, salad.

  12. Kacey @ The Cookie Writer

    I love lentils; they are great protein in a vegetarian/vegan diet. I use them for my vegetarian tacos (and sometimes I can skip the ground beef altogether for tacos because my husband likes the lentil variation!)

    1. You can use lentils in so many dishes, Kacey. My 19-year old is a vegetarian and I incorporate lentils in so many of our favorite dishes to make them meatless. Thanks!

  13. Levan @ MyWifeMakes.com

    5 stars
    I’m a huge fan of lentil and this salad is no exception. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe Joanie! 🙂 FIVE STARS!

  14. OMG yum! I am so uncreative with food but love to eat things like this. I will need to bookmark this recipe. xx

    1. I hope you get to make this recipe, Anna. There are so many wonderful flavors in this salad. Thanks so much!

  15. Crysta @ WellWornSuitcase

    Yum, it all looks delicious! I will have to try a couple of those salads!

  16. Katie @ Recipe for Perfection

    5 stars
    I have just started playing with lentils- this looks like a lovely salad to try!

    1. Lentils are so good and very versatile. If you get the chance to make this salad, I’d love to know what you think of it. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I am trying really hard to like lentils. I am trying to choke them down, and always looking for new recipes to try that will be a good addition to my meals. This will be going on this weeks menu!! Thanks!

    1. I think the green lentils are pretty mild as far as taste goes. The flavorful dressing along with the crunch of the vegetables make this recipe all come together. Hope you get to give it a try. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Julie @ Texan New Yorker

    Yum! So beautiful, lentil salads are one of my favorite things to throw together for healthy weeknight meals.

  19. Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom

    We eat lentils all winter long too–however, I have not made a fresh salad with them–I need to remedy this ASAP!

    1. I love lentils cold in salads. Hope you get to give this one a try 🙂 Thanks, Kristen!

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