Mediterranean Lentil Salad
Mediterranean Lentil Salad is a great high plant protein vegetarian salad that makes a perfect side or main dish. This crowd-pleasing cold lentil salad is made with lentils, cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives all tossed in a homemade vinaigrette.
I love everything about this cold lentil salad. It’s delicious, healthy and super quick and easy to make!
This cold lentil salad recipe is a quick and easy one to make. I start off by cooking the lentils, then while the lentils are cooking, I’ll whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Then all that’s left to do is slice and chop a few vegetables and toss it all together.
Mediterranean Lentil Salad Recipe
Here’s everything you’ll need for this cold lentil salad.
- Dried lentils. I use either green or French green lentils for this salad because they hold their shape better than orange lentils.
- Cucumber. Crispy cucumber add a lot of crunch to this salad. You can use garden cucumber, English cucumber or Persian cucumber. If I use a garden cucumber, I will usually peel it and remove the seeds using a spoon before slicing it. English and Persian cucumber have thinner skins and fewer seeds and taste less bitter.
- Cherry tomatoes. I use cherry tomatoes for this salad because I like the flavor and texture of them, but you could also use chopped Roma or any other garden variety of tomato you like.
- Red onion – thinly sliced red onion can be soaked in a cup of water while you finish preparing this salad. Soaking onions for a few minutes in water mellows the flavor quite a bit and is less offensive for those who aren’t a fan of onions.
- Marinated artichoke hearts – Marinated artichoke hearts add a lot of flavor to this salad. Either toss them in whole or chopped. If you prefer, you can use plain artichoke hearts that aren’t marinated.
- Kalamata olives – I add Kalamata olives to this salad, but you can toss in green or black if you prefer. Just make sure the olives are pitted.
- Flat leaf parsley – Parsley adds a pop of freshness and nutritional benefits. You can use either flat-leaf or curly parsley for this salad.
- Vinaigrette – This salad is tossed with a delicious and easy-to-make Italian vinaigrette.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
Cold Lentil Salad Variations
These are also great additions to this salad!
- Cheese. Sprinkle in grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled Feta for added flavor.
- Pepperoncini – these add a lot of flavor to a salad. Either toss them in whole or sliced. I always use mild pepperoncini.
- Extras – toss in chopped sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers.
- Vegetables – crowd the salad even more with veggies like red peppers, celery, broccoli, zucchini and radishes.
- Herbs. Toss in fresh basil ribbons for a pop of fresh flavor.
- Dressing – We use a simple Italian vinaigrette for this salad, but you can also toss this salad with Greek Salad Dressing, Cleansing Lemon Herb Vinaigrette and Lemon Basil Vinaigrette.
Mediterranean Salad Dressing
This dressing comes together in a pinch. Just add the ingredients to a bowl and whisk, or add the ingredients to a mason jar, seal the lid and shake well.
- Lemon juice
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Dried oregano
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
How to Make Mediterranean Lentil Salad
This easy lentil salad comes together in about 30 minutes start-to-finish.
- Cook lentils. Place the dried lentils in a colander and rinse with cold water. Add the lentils to a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer just until tender. Remove from heat and drain. Set aside to cool.
- Make dressing. While the lentils are cooking, whisk the salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Prep ingredients. Slice onion and soak onion slices in cup of water until ready to use. This takes the bite out of the onion. Slice cucumber (if you’re not using English cucumbers, then peel and remove seeds of garden cucumber). Cut tomatoes in half. Chop parsley.
- Toss salad. After the lentils have cooled, add them to a large bowl. Drain onion slices and add to bowl. Toss in tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts. Gently toss with dressing. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
How to Make Lentils
Lentils are quick and easy to make and unlike other legumes, they don’t require soaking first.
- Rinse. Place green lentils in a colander and pick through removing any little stones and debris you may find. Rinse under cold water.
- Combine ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a large pot.
- Add water. Pour in enough water to cover lentils by 1-1/2 inches.
- Simmer. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until lentils are just tender.
- Drain. Drain and season with salt and pepper.
How Long Does Mediterranean Lentil Salad Last?
Store leftover Mediterranean Lentil Salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
What Are Lentils?
Lentils are included in the legume family with beans, chickpeas, split peas and peanuts. They’re also referred to as “pulses” which are the dry edible seeds of the legume plant. They’re low if fat and they’re an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B and plant protein. They’re a great substitute for meat as a source of protein, making them popular in vegetarian and vegan diets. There are several types of lentils to choose from, all are pretty inexpensive to buy and they can be stored for up to a year. There are a number of health benefits of legumes, including helping to reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels.
What Are The Different Types Of Lentils?
- Brown Lentils. Brown lentils hold their shape pretty well (unless overcooked, then they turn a little mushy). These are a common lentil to cook with and they’re great for soups, stews, vegan chili, vegan bolognese and vegan taco meat.
- Green Lentils. The texture of green lentils stays slightly firm even after they’ve been cooked. They’re also great for soups, stews, vegan chili, vegan bolognese, vegan taco meat.
- French Green/Puy. French Green Lentils maintain a more firm texture after they’ve been cooked and they need a little extra cooking time. They’re good to use for salads and sides.
- Red Lentils. Red lentils cook quickly and become very soft losing their texture when cooked. They’re perfect to use to make soups with or to add to soups when you want a thicker soup base.
- Black/Beluga. Black lentils (also called Beluga lentils) remain slightly firm even after they’ve been cooked and they require a little longer cooking time. They’re also good to use for soups and salad
Are Lentils Healthy?
Lentils are rich with protein, iron, fiber, folic acid and magnesium. They’re also a good source of polyphenos which are compounds found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. Polyphenols act like antioxidants helping to reduce inflammation linked to chronic disease. (1) (2)
Want more lentil recipes to make?
Looking for more legume salad recipes?
- Mediterranean Bean Salad
- Mexican Bean Salad Recipe
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- Chickpea Tuna Salad
- Chickpea Egg Salad
This post has been updated since it was originally published on November 5, 2020.
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut in half
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced thinly and soaked in water for 5-10 minutes
- 3/4 cup kalamata olives, whole or sliced in half
- 2 jars of marinated artichoke hearts
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Lentil Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 garlic clove, peeled, smashed and minced
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place the dried lentils in a colander and rinse with cold water.
- Add the lentils to a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then place lid on saucepan and reduce heat to low and simmer just until tender.
- Remove from heat and drain. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- After the lentils have cooled, add them to a large bowl.
- Drain onion slices and add to bowl with lentils.
- Toss in the tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts.
- Gently toss with dressing.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Lentil Salad Dressing
Whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl or place in a small mason jar, tighten the lid and shake well.
- You can add or swap out any of the ingredients for the following:
- Parmesan cheese
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Fresh basil
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 171mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g
theharvestkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate information, however, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations.