Lentil Salad with Feta

This fresh and zesty Mediterranean-style lentil salad is packed with big flavor and lots of protein! It’s perfect as a side dish recipe or lunch idea.

Lentil salad

Lentils may just be the perfect food. They’re cheap, good for you, and packed with plant based protein. On top of that, they’re shelf stable for up to 3 years! I mean, what other food can boast those credentials? Here’s a top-notch lentil recipe to add to your arsenal, and man is it tasty. This fresh and healthy lentil salad is Mediterranean-style, mixed with fresh veggies, feta cheese and pistachios. It’s a delicious way to add protein to a vegetarian meal as a side dish, or bring to work as a lunch throughout the week. Alex and I couldn’t stop eating it!

An even easier lentil salad? Try our French Lentil Salad.

Lentil salad with feta

What’s in this lentil salad?

This lentil salad is bursting with fresh flavors: the brightness of the lemon dressing contrasts with the earthy lentils, and it’s punctuated with fresh mint and crunchy bell peppers. Alex and I made a big batch and ate off of it for days for lunches and main dish dinner salads! It’s also perfect as a showy side dish (we plan to bring it to Christmas dinner). But it works for any season, so make it for winter meals or as a summery salad on the patio. Here’s what’s in this lentil salad:

  • Black or French lentils: This type of lentil is small and holds its shape when cooked, making it perfect for salads. If you can’t find black, use French lentils.
  • Zesty vinaigrette: The salad is covered in a dressing made from lemon, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and spices.
  • Bell pepper, shallot, arugula & radishes: The lentils are combined with colorful, crunchy fresh veggies. Radishes aren’t required but add a lovely pink color as the garnish.
  • Feta crumbles: Feta cheese adds a salty component that rounds out the salad.
  • Pistachios: For even more protein, bright green pistachios add a crunch.
What are black lentils

What makes French and black lentils special

Black and French lentils are worth seeking out for this lentil salad! The most common type of lentils are green, red, and brown lentils. You might have had these in a lentil soup or curry. Brown, red and green lentils fall apart easily when cooked, making them perfect for soups and curries. In this Indian Masoor Dal, the lentils take on a texture almost like a puree.

On the other hand, black lentils (beluga lentils) and French lentils (Puy or du Puy) hold their shape when cooked. This makes them perfect for using in salads because the texture holds together.

Where to find black lentils

Black and French lentils should be available at your local grocery store! It’s harder to find black lentils, so French is pretty interchangeable. We like using black lentils in this salad because the color is stunning and the flavor is a little milder than French lentils. But either will do! If you’re having a hard time finding them, you can buy them online here.

Lentil salad

Leftovers taste even better!

One great part about this lentil salad is that it saves well and leftovers taste even better! The dressing will marinate even more with the lentils and they’ll soak up the flavors more. This recipe a perfect contender to make for desk lunches throughout the week. Alex and I also used it for “throw-together” dinners because it was perfect for adding vegetarian protein to a plate!

Ways to serve this lentil salad

This lentil salad is one of our favorite salad recipes, and works for all sorts of occasions! It works a vegetable-heavy healthy side dish for a dinner party, or an easy lunch to take to work. Here are a few ways we’d suggest serving it:

Lentil salad

Can you omit the feta?

This lentil salad is vegetarian but not fully plant based because of the feta cheese! The feta brings in the perfect salty, savory element. We’d recommend using the feta, or try another cheese crumble like goat cheese. If you’re serving it for a crowd, you could leave the feta on the side so people can customize it to their liking.

For a 100% vegan lentil salad, we’d suggest a non-dairy cheese crumble if you have a good brand. Or leave out the cheese entirely and add a little more kosher salt to the salad.

This lentil salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the feta and add more salt to taste, or use a dairy-free cheese crumble.

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Lentil salad

Lentil Salad with Feta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (22 votes, average: 4.41 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 810 as a side 1x

Description

This fresh and zesty Mediterranean-style lentil salad is packed with big flavor and lots of protein! It’s perfect as a side dish recipe or lunch idea.


Scale

Ingredients

For the lentils

For the lentil salad

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or chives (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup baby arugula, plus more to serve
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, plus more for garnish
  • 3 radishes, for garnish

Instructions

  1. For the lentils: In a large saucepan or deep skillet, simmer the lentils with the broth, water, kosher salt, thyme, and garlic powder for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain excess liquid.
  2. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, onion powder, and oregano. Whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s creamy and emulsified.
  3. Chop the veggies: Thinly slice the shallot. Thinly slice the red pepper, then cut the slices in half to make pieces about 2-inches long. If using the herbs, chop them.
  4. Mix together the salad: Place the lentils in the large bowl with the dressing. Add the shallot, pepper, herbs, baby arugula, feta cheese, and pistachios. Add the 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and mix to combine.
  5. Serve: If desired, serve over arugula. Garnish with thinly sliced radish, with an additional sprinkle of feta and pistachios. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days (if you’re planning to make for lunches, omit the pistachios). It saves well and leftovers taste even better!

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Lentil Salad

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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.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim C
    April 20, 2020 at 10:45 am

    This was very delicious and super easy to make! I cooked my lentils according to the instructions (except I sautéed fresh garlic in olive oil first instead of using garlic powder), but I guess my lentils were old because I had to cook them a good while longer! Also, I added parsley (I didn’t have mint or chives) and Persian cucumbers and diced yellow onion (again instead of powdered and because I love onions and I didn’t have a shallot!) and it tasted fantastic! I only had micro green arugula so I decided to just put the lentil salad on top of the greens instead of mixing them in because I was worried they might wilt too much when I went back to eat the leftovers today! Thanks for a really lovely, elegant and easy salad! Oh I did include the tarragon while cooking the lentils and I feel it added a nice nuanced flavor! Yum! I am definitely going to remember this dish for potlucks the day those are happening again!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      April 20, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it! Don’t you love that tarragon?

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