This is our go-to everyday lentil salad, and serves as the main protein element of our meals at least once or twice a week. It’s so easy and while not the most visually appealing dish, it tastes great and works well with any number of sides.
When we’re not sure what to make for dinner, nine out of ten times it ends up being these dressed lentils, potato wedges or mixed root veg roasted in the oven, and red cabbage. This is especially true in wintertime and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet! I know it’s not the most colourful, beautiful dish, but it really is excellent and I highly encourage you to try it.
For some more easy meal ideas that store well, try my carrot red lentil soup, spicy marinara (make a batch and freeze for later), or quick vegan refried beans. These are all standard quick dinners for us that we make all the time.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Lentils: brown, black, or green lentils can all be used. Red lentils will not work for this recipe.
- Mustard: Dijon mustard is best but any middle-spice mustard is fine. Don’t use yellow hotdog mustard.
- Vinegar: apple cider, balsamic, white wine, and red wine vinegar are all very good and can be used interchangeably. I most often use ACV and balsamic.
- Honey: sub maple syrup for a vegan alternative.
- Herbs: any soft fresh herb can be used, but parsley is my favourite (see parsley substitutes). We quite often make the salad without herbs and only add them if they’re growing in the garden.
- Garlic: this is optional, and it can be left out if you’re quite sensitive to raw garlic.
Step by Step
Step 1: cook the lentils in well-salted water and drain completely.
Step 2: add the vinaigrette components directly to the lentils.
Step 3: stir to combine fully – the honey will melt with the hot lentils so it does mix in.
Step 4: stir in the herbs and serve warm or cold.
This can be served hot, immediately after mixing, at room temperature, or chilled from the refrigerator. The key is to mix the salad while the lentils are still warm, but after that, the temperature no longer matters and it’s good warm or cold.
Try adding various raw or roasted vegetables – cucumber, pepper, roasted pumpkin – or use different herbs or other additions. Feta or another crumbly cheese, preserved lemon (omit the salt if using), and salad greens would all be tasty.
How to Store
Storage: keep the salad in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Freezing: I’ve never tried freezing this, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
- Dry the lentils: much like you do for mashed potatoes, it’s a good idea to let the hot lentils dry a bit after draining, or you risk having a slightly soggy salad.
- Season well: the water for cooking the lentils should be seasoned in the same way that you would to cook pasta. It doesn’t increase the cooking time.
- Old lentils take longer: depending on the age of the dried lentils being used, they may take more or less time to cook. Just like beans, fresher ones will need less boiling than very old lentils.
If you make this Lentil Salad or any other vegetarian main dishes 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.
Simple Lentil Salad
- 250 grams dried lentils black, brown, or green
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Water to cover
- 1 clove garlic finely grated, optional
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 handful fresh parsley finely chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Add the lentils, salt, and enough water to cover by at least 10cm (4 in.) to a pot. Cook, covered, until the lentils are cooked, 15-20 minutes.250 grams dried lentils, 1 teaspoon sea salt, Water to cover
- Drain the lentils very well and let them dry, uncovered, for a few minutes. Add the grated garlic, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey. Stir well to combine.1 clove garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- Add the parsley and stir to combine, then season to taste. Serve warm or cold. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days.1 handful fresh parsley, Sea salt and black pepper to taste
* 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.