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Mediterranean Black Lentil Salad

Mediterranean black lentil salad makes a great main dish or side dish. It’s full of plant-based protein and crunchy vegetables, is very adaptable, and is naturally gluten free and dairy free. 

Looking for more salads? Try my 5-minute raw carrot salad, zucchini corn salad, or Italian artichoke salad.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Protein-packed – Black lentils are full of plant-based protein which helps make the salad more filling and satiating.
  • Crunchy – This hearty lentil salad is full of crunchy vegetables that give it a nice texture.
  • Customizable – This salad is easy to customize. You can switch out the vegetables depending on what’s in season or add extra ingredients to bulk it up for the main course. You can also use a different dressing. See the Make It Your Way section for substitution and add-in ideas.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this black lentil salad:

  • Black beluga lentils – also known as beluga lentils got their name because of their physical resemblance to caviar. They have a small but mighty structure and hold their shape when cooked due to their thicker skin.
  • Vegetable broth or water – infuses flavor into the lentils.
  • Bay leaf – this helps flavor the lentils as they cook.
  • Crunchy veggies – red cabbage, cucumber, sugar snap peas, and red bell pepper.
  • Fresh herbs – such as basil, mint, or parsley. 
  • Sun dried tomato vinaigrette salad dressing: extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, fresh basil, dijon mustard, maple syrup, garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper.

How to Make Black Lentil Salad: Step By Step

Here are some quick visual instructions. The full instructions and ingredient list will be in the printable recipe card below!

1. Cook through the lentils. Sort through and discard any discolored lentils or pebbles. Rinse well in a fine-mesh sieve and add to a medium saucepan with the vegetable broth and bay leaf. Cook covered, then drain, and rinse with cold water. Shake off as much excess water as possible.

2. Make the dressing. Add all the dressing ingredients to the base of a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

3. Combine. In a large bowl, toss the lentils, vegetables, herbs, and dressing together. Chill covered in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Helpful Tips

  • Where to find black lentils. These hearty lentils can be found at many larger grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Target. You can also buy them online.
  • If substituting the black lentils. The only other type of lentils that will work for this salad are French green lentils. Brown, green, and red lentils don’t hold their shape as well once cooked and have more of a mushy texture, which isn’t great for salads.

Quick Tip: Speed up the salad by using pre-cooked lentils. You can buy pre-cooked black lentils in a pouch at Target. You’ll need about 2 1/2 cups of cooked lentils.

Storage

Fridge: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this Mediterranean lentil salad using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No black lentils? – use French green lentils (also called puy lentils) for a similar texture.
  • No red wine vinegar? – you can also use balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
  • Add-ins – massaged kale or thinly sliced Tuscan kale, tender baby spinach, chopped nuts, bacon or pancetta, garlic cloves, thinly sliced red onion, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, green olives, green onions, feta cheese, crispy prosciutto, etc.
  • Use a different dressing – such as basil balsamic vinaigrette or shallot vinaigrette.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat black lentils cold?

Once the black lentils are cooked, they’re delicious served cold or at room temperature.

Do you need to pre soak black lentils?

There’s no need to pre-soak black lentils, but you do need to rinse them under cold water in a fine mesh strainer before cooking them in fresh water.

Can you eat black lentils raw?

Whether you make a lentil salad or something else, lentils should always be cooked. Consuming raw or undercooked lentils can cause serious harm. Cooking the lentils destroys the toxic compounds (lectins), making them safe to eat.

More Salad Recipes

I hope you love this Mediterranean Black Lentil Salad If you make it, be sure to leave a comment & a star rating so I know how you liked it!

Mediterranean Black Lentil Salad

5 from 1 vote
A white oval platter with a black lentil salad with diced red peppers, cucumbers, sliced red cabbage, sliced sugar snap peas, and fresh basil.
Mediterranean black lentil salad makes a great main dish or side dish. It's full of plant-based protein and crunchy vegetables, is very adaptable, and is naturally gluten free and dairy free. 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serving Size 6

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup black lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or salted water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas trimmed and sliced on an angle
  • 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup diced English cucumber
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves thinly sliced
  • sun dried tomato vinaigrette

Instructions

  • Sort through the lentils and discard any discolored lentils or pebbles. Rinse well in a fine-mesh sieve and add to a medium saucepan with the vegetable broth or salted water and bay leaf.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low (it should be gently simmering) and cover with a tilted lid so the steam can escape. Cook for 18-20 minutes.
  • Once the lentils are tender yet firm, drain the excess water through the fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain off as much liquid as possible.
  • While the lentils drain, make the dressing.
  • In a large bowl, toss the lentils, vegetables, herbs, and dressing together until well combined. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Chill the salad, covered, in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. The flavor is even better the next day.

Notes

  • This salad serves 4 if eaten as a main dish.
  • You won’t need all of the dressing. Start with 1/3 cup and add more as needed.
  • You’ll need about 2 1/2 cups of cooked lentils if using pre-cooked lentils. See the blog post for details.
  • Find more helpful tips and storage instructions in the blog post.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No black lentils? – use French green lentils (also called puy lentils) for a similar texture.
No red wine vinegar? – you can also use balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
Add-ins – massaged kale or thinly sliced Tuscan kale, tender baby spinach, chopped nuts, bacon or pancetta, garlic cloves, thinly sliced red onion, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, green olives, green onions, feta cheese, crispy prosciutto, etc.
Use a different dressing – such as basil balsamic vinaigrette or shallot vinaigrette.
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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