French Lentil Salad

It’s easy to make this unique variety of lentils taste incredible! This French lentil salad features a Dijon dressing, shallots, goat cheese and fresh mint.

French lentil salad

Looking for French lentils recipes? Try this French lentil salad recipe! It’s full of flavor and so versatile: it works as a healthy lunch idea or a simple side dish for dinners. It’s perfect as a summery salad to eat on the patio, or you can eat it in the dead of winter (we have). It’s covered in a zingy Dijon dressing and paired with shallots, goat cheese and mint. There’s so much flavor going on, you’ll be obsessed with this simple way to prepare this healthy plant-based protein.

Looking for more? Here are our Best Lentil Recipes.

What are French lentils?

French lentils, also known as French green lentils, are very different from the standard green, brown or red variety you’ll find in the store. They’re small and dark greenish gray in color, with an earthy, peppery flavor. Here’s the key difference: French lentils hold their shape when cooked. This makes them work well in salads, side dishes, and soups where you want them to hold together.

Uncooked French lentils

Ingredients in French lentil salad

This easy French lentil salad has a handful of components we selected to bring big flavor in minimal ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • French lentils: They hold their shape when cooked, making them perfect for salads. You can also substitute black lentils, which are similar.
  • Dijon vinaigrette: The salad is covered in a simple dressing made from apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. (It’s similar to this Dijon mustard salad dressing.)
  • Shallots: Shallots bring a delicate onion flavor.
  • Goat cheese: Soft goat cheese is often paired with French lentils; you can also substitute feta cheese crumbles.
  • Walnuts or pecans: Nuts add a contrasting crunch.
  • Fresh mint: Fresh mint adds an herbaceous nuance! Substitute chives, oregano, thyme or basil if you’d like.
French lentils

Variations: other veggies to add!

This French lentil salad is easy to customize: you can easily add other vegetables! Don’t add a large mass of veggies since the flavoring is adjusted to about this level. But you could easily sneak in a few of the following to bring even more color to the salad (like the look of this Lentil Salad with Feta):

  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Sliced ripe tomatoes (cherry tomatoes or heirloom chunks)
  • Diced red pepper (fresh or jarred)
  • Baby arugula
French lentils

Where to find French lentils

French lentils are packaged under the various names, including Puy lentils, du Puy lentils, lentilles du Puy, or French green lentils. (Don’t confuse that with just “green lentils,” which are entirely different!) You should be able to find French lentils at your local grocery store next to the other varieties. Not all grocery stores carry them, so you’ll have to survey your local options. You can also find them online.

French lentil salad

How to serve this French lentil salad

This French lentil salad is fantastic for lunches, or a side dish with loads of plant-based protein. It’s great to bring to potlucks or pitch-ins to add a hearty option for people who eat a plant based or vegan diet. For vegan, omit the cheese and consider adding another veggie like chopped tomatoes for visual appeal.

French lentil salad

This French lentil salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the cheese and add chopped tomatoes, sliced radishes or jarred red peppers for a little color and variety.

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French lentil salad

Easy French Lentil Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 4.30 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 as a side 1x

Description

It’s easy to make this unique variety of lentils taste incredible! This French lentil salad features a Dijon dressing, shallots, goat cheese and fresh mint.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Easy French Lentils
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped mint leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 2 to 3 ounces soft goat cheese (or feta cheese crumbles*; omit for vegan)

Instructions

  1. Make the Easy French Lentils.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey or maple syrup. Whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s creamy and emulsified.
  3. Thinly slice the shallot, then separate them into rings with your fingers. Roughly chop the mint.
  4. Place the lentils in the large bowl with the dressing (if you’d like to cool them quickly, drain them until cool water). Add the shallot, mint, walnuts, and crumbles of the soft goat cheese. Add the kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and mix to combine. Taste and add more salt to taste. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days (if you’re planning to make for lunches, omit the nuts and add when serving).

Notes

*If using feta instead of goat cheese, decrease the kosher salt to 1/2 teaspoon, then add additional salt to taste (feta is saltier than goat cheese)

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Lentils

Keywords: French Lentil Salad

Lentils nutrition

French lentils are full of nutrition benefits! Here are a few of the major benefits:

  • Protein & Fiber: Lentils are a good source of plant-based protein. 1 cup of cooked lentils has about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. (Source)
  • Low in Fat & Calories: Lentils have virtually no saturated fat and are low in calories.
  • Protect Against Heart Disease: Lentils are rich in polyphenols, micronutrients thought to help protect against cardiovascular disease. (Source)

And, a few more lentils resources:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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