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This rice and lentil salad is vibrant, filling, and protein-packed! Make it as a side for a dinner party, or bring it along to a cookout or potluck.

Lentil and Rice Summer Salad | A Couple Cooks

A theme on our podcast for this year has been exploring the way food unites us. Recently, we spoke with Tanorria Askew about her unity tables, where women of different races come together to discuss racial issues while eating the same food. We spoke with Daniel Klein about the documentaries he makes about food traditions all around the world, and the positive immigrant stories he’s working on telling. We shared this story about a Middle Eastern boy whose mom shared food with his elementary school to create a sense of understanding and respect for his culture. In a fractured world, food is what brings us together. And it may be a recipe for how we can continue to understand our differences.

Related:25 Best Salad Recipes

Lentil and Rice Summer Salad | A Couple Cooks

How to make lentil salad

On to this recipe: which Alex and I ate over a discussion on our patio of how food is the great uniter. This rice and lentil salad has little to do with actual unity, unless of course you consider that it unites lentils and rice together in a dish! I created this lentil salad out of pure necessity, trying to use up items from our pantry. After boiling some French lentils and short grain brown rice, I decided to throw them together with a leftover red onion and some cherry tomatoes and fresh basil from our garden. For the dressing, pantry ingredients came to the rescue: a bit of smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, and mustard whisked with olive oil to create a quick sauce.

It all turned into the most delicious lentil salad that I knew we had to share here! What I love about this lentil salad is that it is filling and provides lots of plant-based protein. Many vegetable-based salads can be delicious but low on the filling factor. Combining this salad with a few other summer salads for a summer potluck can make for a filling summer meal; it’s also perfect alongside a vegetarian entree to fill in more protein. We’ve included this recipe in our summer grilling menu. Happy eating, and as always, let us know if you make it and what you think.

Related: 15 Best Lentil Recipes |Lentil to Water Ratio | What are Lentils?

Looking for summer salads?

Looking for other summer salads for a grilling menu or summer cookout? Here are a few of our favorite summer salads outside of this lentil salad recipe:

This lentil salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and refined-sugar free.

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Lentil and Rice Summer Salad | A Couple Cooks

Rice and Lentil Salad

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 as a side; 2 to 3 as a main 1x


This rice and lentil salad is vibrant, filling, and protein-packed! Make it as a side for a dinner party, or bring it along to a cookout or potluck.


  • 1 cup short grain brown or white rice (or 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup french lentils
  • 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 large red onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  1. Cook the rice according to How to Cook Rice or use the Instant Pot method. Cool the rice to room temperature before making the salad: an easy way to do this is to spread it out onto a baking sheet and place in the freezer for a few minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, boil the French lentils: place 1 cup lentils in a saucepan with 3 cups water. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until tender.
  3. Dice the tomatoes. Thinly slice onion. Chop the basil.
  4. Make the dressing: in a medium bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, mustard, and smoked paprika. Gradually whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until creamy and emulsified.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the rice, lentils, tomato, onion, and basil with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Pour on the dressing and mix to combine. Taste, and add additional salt and pepper as desired.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Lentil Salad, Lentil Rice, Lentil Recipes, Summer Salad, Vegetarian Side Dish, Vegan Side Dish, Plant Based, Plant Based Recipes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. On a restricted diet and need to keep saturated fats to a minimum. Does your cookbook have nutrition info for all recipes including saturated fat?

  2. It’s encouraging to know there are good people like you two who make the world a better place, one spoonful at a time! Thanks for thsi recipe!

  3. I think offering food and nourishing one another is so important, as it enables us to turn toward what is different and to listen when we might otherwise keep to ourselves. The salad looks great… I’ve been making a farro, lentil, pesto one that is pretty similar weekly lately for lunches!

    1. Thank you for reading! I couldn’t agree more: offering food and nourishing each other is one of the best things we can do to promote understanding!

  4. I think food shared around the table will play a big part in our collective healing if we let it. I have a 25# bag of organic lentils in the pantry, so I will be making this from now until February :)

    1. YES, let us know if you try this out! Perfect for huge bags of lentils (it would work with other kinds, as long as you cook them al dente).

  5. This salad warms my heart! It has all the flavors I love in a summer salad. Lentils are my favorite ingredient to add in salads.

    XOXO to the little one. <3