Mediterranean Lentil Salad
One of my most popular recipes last summer was my Greek Salad with Chickpeas. I couldn’t believe it when that little video soared to over a million views on Facebook. It’s one of my favorite summer salads though, so I understand why it was so popular. As much as I love chickpeas, I often make a similar salad with all those great Mediterranean flavors, but with lentils.
This cold lentil salad has so many bright colors and and flavors. Since it doesn’t have any lettuce that would wilt, it’s perfect for packing in a jar and taking to work, making early in the day and bringing to pot-lucks, making on food prep day, or enjoying for dinner on a warm day.
This easy Mediterranean lentil salad is made with simple everyday ingredients. I’ve shared a bunch of other lentil recipes here, from my super popular Vegan Lentil Meatloaf, to Lentil Bolognese, Lentil Meatballs, to Lentil Stuffed Mushrooms. Don’t miss my post all about How to Cook Lentils. In the winter, of course, I’m all about my favorite Lentil Soup. I love lentils because they are a great source of plant-based protein and iron. Lentils pack about 18 grams of protein per cup, according to the USDA. They’re also filling and packed with fiber.
I like to use French green lentils here and cook them myself, as opposed to using the vacuum packed lentils you can find at Trader Joe’s. You wouldn’t want to use red lentils in this recipe as they are too soft. Save those beauties for something like Indian Dal. Cook, drain, and cool the lentils until they are ready to go into the salad bowl with the veggies and vinaigrette.
I use traditional Greek or Mediterranean salad ingredients here like cucumber, red and yellow bell pepper, kalamata olives, sliced red onion, and tomatoes. If you don’t like raw onions (I love them), try thinly sliced shallots, which are milder. I love to add flavor and freshness with heaps of fresh herbs. Italian parsley and mint work well here. Unfortunately I was out of herbs for the photo shoot, but you’ll see them in the video.
Feta is the traditional cheese to use in Greek style salads and it really adds such nice salty creaminess. As I try to avoid dairy, I like to use a soft cultured nut-based cheese from brands like Heidi Ho, Treeline, or Kite Hill. They are incredibly tasty.
The light vinaigrette dressing for this Mediterranean lentil salad is similar to what I used in my Greek Chickpea Salad. It’s a classic combination of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon, and oregano. I like to add a little Dijon mustard to help emulsify the dressing.
Add as much dressing as you’d like and then mix the whole thing together. This flavorful lentil salad keeps for several days in the fridge, so you can grab a bowl of it whenever you’re hungry. I love knowing there’s always an easy meal or snack ready to go that’s is filled with vitamins and minerals to fuel my day.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups cooked, drained, and cooled French green or brown lentils
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup sliced Persian cucumbers
- 1 cup diced red or yellow bell peppers
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled soft cheese such as Feta (I use a non-dairy cheese from Treeline, Kite Hill, or Heidi Ho)
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- To make the dressing, in a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, oregano, and salt. Set aside. Note, the vinaigrette will probably separate and need whisking again before dressing.
- In a large salad bowl, arrange the cooked lentils, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, olives, onions, cheese, and parsley.
- Dress with desired amount of vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate, or enjoy right away.
Nutrition information is approximate and calculated by a third party site. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/6 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196 Carbohydrates: 15g Fiber: 5g Protein: 7g