This lentil salad recipe is everyone’s favorite: bursting with flavor and texture contrasts! It’s the perfect side dish or lunch idea.

Lentil salad

When it comes to side dishes and lunch ideas, there’s nothing quite like the humble lentil. Introducing, our family favorite lentil salad recipe! This recipe takes everything that’s good about this protein-packed legume and makes it sing. The flavor pops with tangy and savory notes: tender lentils coated in zippy white wine vinegar Dijon dressing, with crunchy cucumber and salty feta. It stays flavorful in the fridge for days, making leftovers even better.

Ingredients in this lentil salad recipe

This lentil salad recipe has classic, zingy flavors that get even better over time. This protein-packed salad is the perfect side dish, especially for vegetarian and vegan meals because it helps you to feel more satisfied than leafy greens. It’s also great as a lunch salad as it holds up well in the refrigerator: and again, that plant-based protein helps to keep you satiated all afternoon. Here’s what’s in our perfect lentil salad recipe:

  • Brown lentils: you can also use green lentils, since they cook similarly
  • Vegetable broth
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • English cucumber
  • Red onion
  • Baby arugula
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • White wine vinegar
  • Olive oil and neutral oil
  • Sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Oregano, garlic powder, and salt
  • Feta cheese, optional
Lentil salad recipe

Types of lentils

Brown lentils are the most “standard” varieties when you think of lentils. They cook quickly and tend to fall apart when cooked instead of hold their shape. They’re brown in color and have a flat, lens-like shape. What other types of lentils work for this recipe?

  • You can substitute green lentils for brown lentils. Green lentils have a more peppery flavor than brown lentils.
  • French lentils or black lentils are smaller and hold their shape when cooked. Cook until tender using the instructions below. These also work here, though we prefer the flavor with brown lentils.
  • Do not use red lentils. Red lentils break down quickly and become mushy; they’re best for soups and stews.
Lentil salad

Key to this lentil salad dressing

This lentil salad recipe has a dressing similar to the dressing from our favorite tortellini salad recipes. The key? A combination of neutral oil and olive oil. The olive oil is as healthy oil that adds distinctive flavor, but it can solidify and become chunky in the refrigerator. Neutral oil holds up well in the fridge, so mixing it with olive oil makes the salad texture save well over time.

Leftovers taste even better

This lentil salad saves well and leftovers taste even better! The dressing marinates even more with the lentils and they soak up the flavors more. This recipe a perfect contender to make for healthy lunches throughout the week. You can also use it for “throw-together” dinners because it’s perfect for adding vegetarian protein to a plate.

Lentil salad

A lentil salad for every diet

This lentil salad recipe tastes great on its own. If you eat feta, it adds a great salty punch: but it’s not needed! Here are a few notes on diet preferences:

  • For vegetarian and gluten-free, follow the recipe below.
  • For vegan and dairy-free, omit the feta cheese. You may want to add a few more pinches of salt.
Lentil salad recipe

More lentil recipes

Lentils are one of the most versatile legumes around! Here are a few more lentil recipes we love:

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Lentil salad

Favorite Lentil Salad

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 1 ½ cups dry brown lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes (5 ounces)
  • 1 cup finely diced English cucumber (½ cucumber)
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), roughly chopped
  • 2 cups baby arugula (or chopped spinach)
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil (grapeseed, vegetable or canola oil)
  • ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, to garnish (optional)


  1. In a large saucepan, simmer the lentils with the broth and ½ teaspoon kosher salt for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain them into a colander, then let them sit for 5 minutes to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and sundried tomatoes as noted above.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, olive oil, neutral oil, granulated sugar, Dijon mustard, oregano, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
  4. When the lentils are cooled, mix them in a large bowl with the dressing and the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, sundried tomatoes, and arugula. If desired, add the feta cheese (if serving without feta, taste and add a few pinches of salt if necessary). Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days. 
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Lentil salad, lentil salad recipe

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. Hi Sonja and Alex,
    I made this today and it was awesome delicious! I used black lentils because that is what I had on hand and they work well here. I loved the addition of Dijon for the extra flavor oomph! I just got a jar from Maille that is a mix of smooth Dijon and whole grain and I really like it. I realized tonight that I forgot the sun dried tomatoes, so I will add them tomorrow and make this salad even better. Thanks for a great recipe that I can make again and again. I always enjoy how healthy I feel after eating lentils. Keep up the great work!

  2. Why granulated sugar? Why not maple syrup or coconut sugar? Not as processed and better for you.

  3. Hi! I made this for lunch and it was fantastic. Now I have more for the week. I am making your pasta puttanesca for dinner.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

  4. The flavors in this salad are phenomenal! I did use maple syrup instead of sugar and it was absolutely delicious : )