Tabbouleh is a Levantine staple and while pulses aren’t traditional, a lentil tabbouleh salad makes for a nice light meal and has a similar texture to bulgur. It’s vegan and gluten-free as is. If you have some nice seasonal tomatoes on hand and plenty of parsley, definitely give this summer salad a try.
For an authentic version with a grain base, see my friend Aysegul’s easy tabbouleh. And if you love lentil salad as much as I do, try my simple lentil salad – a weekly staple for us – new potato salad with lentils, or crispy lentil, orange, and pomegranate salad.
This is a minimal recipe, so be sure to use good quality, in-season ingredients. Midwinter isn’t the time for tabbouleh.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Parsley: pictured is curly parsley, as a farmer friend gave us loads of it when we visited. I would usually use flat-leaf parsley – for almost any recipe – but curly worked well here. I don’t recommend parsley substitutes for this recipe because it is the main element.
- Mint: this adds a nice note without overwhelming the dish. If you want a milder mint, choose spearmint rather than peppermint, or sub another herb like marjoram.
- Tomatoes: cherry or small pear tomatoes are best, but a larger tomato, especially roma or paste, will be fine. Cut it into approximate 2cm pieces.
- Lentils: use black, green, or brown lentils, but not red. Soak them for a couple of hours before cooking if they’re rather old.
- Onion: use spring or green onion. Chives can substitute in a pinch.
Step by Step
Chop the herbs and vegetables while the lentils are cooking, mix everything together, and serve. This is ready in about 15 minutes, or the time it takes the lentils to cook.
Step 1: add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: mix until well combined and let the salad rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
If you prefer to cook the lentils in advance, no problem. Lentil tabbouleh is just as good made with cold lentils as with warm, and if they’re chilled you can add cucumber with no risk of it getting a little warm and weird. I haven’t tried this with canned lentils as I don’t find them more convenient than cooking them at home (since I carry all my groceries in a backpack!) but it could work.
This salad is all about the herbs, and the fresher, the better. Parsley and mint are two of the easiest herbs to grow at home and will spread like weeds if given the chance – especially mint, which should only ever be grown in pots – and they’re the first plants I put in a new home. Make sure you’re only using the leaves and avoid hard or woody stems.
How to Store
Make Ahead: to make a couple of days in advance, I suggest mixing everything but the tomatoes, as they can get a bit soggy. Mix the salad, cover well to store for up to three days, and add the tomatoes immediately before serving.
Storage: keep leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
- Drain the lentils well: give yourself enough time to not only properly drain the lentils in a colander, but also to let them dry a bit. Wet lentils will thin out the lemon and olive oil too much and make for a bland salad.
- Salt the water: lentils should always be cooked in well-seasoned water, just like pasta. This makes a big difference in the final dish.
- Season to taste: not only for salt, but consider the level of acidity as well and adjust it to your liking. If you like lots of acid, add a splash of white wine vinegar or an extra squeeze of lemon.
If you make this Lentil Tabouli or any other vegetarian summer recipes on Occasionally Eggs, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more OE, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, purchase the Occasionally Eggs cookbook, or subscribe for new posts via email.
- 150 grams dried green lentils or black or brown
- 1 small mild white onion thinly sliced or 4 spring onions
- 200 grams cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 large bunch fresh parsley leaves finely chopped
- 1 medium bunch fresh mint leaves finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice 1 lemon ~3 tablespoons
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Cook the lentils in well-seasoned water until tender, about 15 minutes. Once cooked, drain very well. Rinse with some cool water if you'd like to cool them down quickly but be sure to let it drain before mixing with the other ingredients.150 grams dried green lentils
- While the lentils are cooking, prepare the vegetables and herbs. Add the cooked lentils, onion, tomatoes, herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl and toss until combined.1 small mild white onion, 200 grams cherry tomatoes, 1 large bunch fresh parsley leaves, 1 medium bunch fresh mint leaves, 4 tablespoons olive oil, Juice 1 lemon, Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- For the best flavour, let it rest for about 15 minutes before serving. This will mellow the onions slightly. Best served at room temperature, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
If you’re looking for approachable, seasonal vegetarian recipes, you’re in the right place! Occasionally Eggs is all about healthier plant based recipes that follow the seasons.