This healthy, satisfying Mediterranean lentil salad recipe with spinach, crunchy vegetables, and a zippy lime dressing is the ultimate power bowl! It's loaded with nutrition, easy to make, and it's even better the next day!

Lentil salad with pomegranates, feta cheese and vegetables

Lentils are an essential ingredient in my Mediterranean pantry. They are hearty, satisfying, and loaded with good-for-you nutrition--from plant-based protein, to iron, fiber, antioxidants and more!

But, aside from the fact that they are a food powerhouse, lentils are super easy to use. They don't require a whole lot of planning or soaking overnight, and they cook pretty quickly.

You can catch me reaching for a bag of lentils any night of the week to make a warm-your-belly vegan lentil soup, or my favorite lentils and rice dish Mujadara (both are so worth a try). Or a version of today's healthy lentil salad recipe, tossed with greens, crunchy veggies, and a bright lime dressing!

Power lentil salad in a bowl

What kind of lentils are best for lentil salad?

There are about a dozen lentil varieties. For salad, it is best to use a firm variety such as green lentils or black lentils--that can hold their shape after cooking. I do not recommend using yellow or red split lentils for this salad because they dissolve when cooking and are perfect for something like a creamy red lentil soup.

In this recipe, I use dry all-natural green lentils, which are heaty and have a mild and pleasant peppery flavor that's well-complimented by the vegetables and dressings in this salads. They take a little longer to cook, but even as they get nice and tender, they don't lose their shape and turn mushy.

Another great option for this salad is dry all-natural black beluga lentils. They're quick-cooking and have a nice creamy texture and earthy, deep flavor.

Ingredients for Mediterranean lentil salad

How to cook lentils for salad?

Lentils do not require soaking and you can cook them for this salad one night in advance, just drain and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to use. To cook 1 cup of dry lentils (green or black), you'll need 3 cups of water. Here is how to cook lentils for this salad:

  1. Start with 1 cup dry green lentils or black lentils
  2. Rinse the lentils well and drain
  3. In a saucepan, combine the lentils with 3 cups of water
  4. Bring to a rapid simmer over high heat, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover and let the lentils simmer anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. (Black lentils will cook in 20 to 25 minutes, while green lentils will cook anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes)
  5. When the lentils are tender and fully cooked, drain well and allow them to cool a bit. Then either store them in the fridge overnight or toss them in this Mediterranean salad and chill for later.
Ingredients for lentil salad in a mixing bowl

Mediterranean lentil salad: How to make it

This lentil salad recipe takes on some crunchy veggies and bold Mediterranean flavors you'll love!

Once cooked to tender perfection, drain the lentils and combine them in a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients--crunchy cucumbers, onions, and a large handful of leafy greens (baby spinach or kale are great options here).

When pomegranates are in season, I love to add a good cup of pomegranate seeds (arils)--the sweet, tangy, juicy pomegranate seeds add a little something unexpected and delightful.

The simple lentil salad dressing is made by whisking fresh lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, Kosher salt, and a dash of cumin and allspice (you can play with the spices to your liking as well, but the warm flavors work really well with the hearty lentils.)

One of my favorite things to add on top is some crumbled creamy feta, but if you're going for a vegan lentil salad, you can simply omit the cheese.

Lentil salad served in a bowl

Ways to serve this salad

I love how versatile this simple green lentil salad is!

Because it's so hearty, it can totally stand alone as a meal. I've served it for lunch with just a side of challah or crusty bread.  It also makes a great side next to:

Browse our collection of Greek recipes or top Mediterranean diet recipes.

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4.81 from 68 votes

Mediterranean Power Lentil Salad

Suzy Karadsheh
Mediterranean lentil salad
This healthy, satisfying Mediterranean lentil salad recipe with spinach, crunchy veggies, and a zippy lime dressing, is the ultimate power bowl! It's easy to make and even better the next day. Add pomegranate seeds (arils) when in season, or leave them out. Keep it vegan or add a sprinkle of creamy feta.
Prep – 10 mins
Cook – 30 mins
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 6 up to
Course:
Salad

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup dry green lentils or black lentils
  • Seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • ¾ English cucumber small diced or chopped (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 2 to 3 cups baby spinach or other leafy green of choice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Crumbled feta cheese for garnish

Lime Dressing

Instructions
 

  • Cook the lentils. In a saucepan, combine lentils with 3 cups of water and pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, and lower heat to medium-low. Let simmer until the lentils are fully tender (anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes depending on the kind of lentils used). Be sure to check and add water if lentils seem too dry during the cooking process (they should absorb a lot of the water. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked lentils with chopped onions, cucumbers, baby spinach, parsley, and pomegranate seeds (arils.) Give everything a gentle toss.
  • Make the dressing. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lime dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the lentil salad and toss to combine. Add a sprinkle of feta cheese to finish.
  • Allow a few minutes for the flavors to meld before serving.

Notes

  • Make-ahead tip: You can cook the lentils the night before. Drain and refrigerate in a tight-lid glass container until ready to use.
  • For best flavor: allow the lentil salad to sit for just a few minutes to soak up the flavors of the lime dressing.
  • Visit Our Online Shop to browse Mediterranean ingredients, including lentils, Greek extra virgin olive oils, and spices!

Nutrition

Calories: 127.6kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 0.9gSaturated Fat: 1.7gSodium: 15.3mgPotassium: 172.3mgFiber: 0.8gVitamin A: 1819.5IUVitamin C: 18.3mgCalcium: 32.8mgIron: 1.3mg
Tried this recipe?

 

*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2015 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this to go with some grilled lamb cutlets. It was fresh, tasty and delicious. Never disappointed with your recipes.

  2. 4 stars
    This is such a nice dish with a variety of textures and healthy ingredients. Out of six years together with my husband this is the only thing I've made that he said he loves and could I make it more often? Lol He is Syrian and said it reminds him of fattoush. He also tends to be a meat and rice kind of guy, so it's a double surprise that he loves a salad. I consider that a huge win!

    I made it as written, except for allspice as I didn't have any. But it felt like something was missing to give it a more well-rounded flavor. It was also a little dry. So I added more EVOO, honey and plenty of feta. Still something missing. Maybe it was the allspice. The secret ingredient that gave it a huge boost was pomegranate syrup. It gave it a fuller flavor. I also added some cinnamon and clove later to make up for the allspice (no nutmeg in the house) and it did help, but I think the pomegranate syrup really helped to meld all the flavors. Next time I think I will also cook the lentils in vegetable broth, and add some fresh cilantro along with the parsley.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You are very welcome, Christina! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with this recipe!

  3. Hi Susan just wondering if we can substitute orzo for spelt grain in the salad . Your recipes are delicious and we as a family enjoy them.

    Can you please post some salads using grains .

    Thanks and best wishes

      1. Oh sorry Suzy I I think I had the wrong recipe when I was asking you about the spelt grain . Are there any salad recipes using spelt grain or quinoa.

  4. 5 stars
    This was a wonderful side dish for grilled salmon. I didn’t have any pomegranate, so I substituted chopped tomatoes. It turned out great. The leftovers will make a great lunch.

    1. Hello! All of the main ingredients are vegan. The addition of feta is totally optional, as stated in the blog post.

  5. 5 stars
    That dressing is so delicious, I could drink it! Made it for lunch yesterday using arugula instead of spinach and goat cheese instead of feta. I do wish I had made more dressing though because I used Trader Joe's pre-cooked lentils, so I might have added more lentils than what the recipe called for. I paired it with some Middle Eastern spiced meatballs, yogurt, picked red onions, and a tahini sauce.

  6. Hi! This is my favorite salad but i remember the dressing was different before (with mint) is there any way to find the ingredients for that dressing?

    1. I had this recipe saved with swiss chard, mint and ginger. Wanted to look up the dressing and found the recipe changed. I guess both are delicious. I substituted swiss chard with avocado anyway.

      1. Thank you for sharing, Celia! This is very rare, but sometimes we do revisit and update some recipes. Glad you enjoyed it.

  7. 5 stars
    Made this recipe this afternoon with a couple of minor substitutions. I didn't have parsley, but I had some fresh mint I needed to use up so I used that. I used lemon juice instead of a lime, used 1 1/2 tsp of cumin (because I can't read apparently) and didn't have any allspice so I used cinnamon and nutmeg because you can't be picky in a pandemic. It tasted great, but I'm sure it would also be wonderful as written too, my point is don't shy away from this recipe if you don't have all the exact ingredients. Anyway, not only is this a gorgeous salad, but it was absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for posting it.

  8. 3 stars
    I love most of your recipes but this is just sort of nothing. Sorry to say so but I do wish people would try the recipe before they post and boost the star rating! This has no real zip - although all the ingredients suggest otherwise.

    1. Not sure what may have not worked for you in this simple recipe, Jane. Using quality ingredients, this recipe is one that is filled with flavor and nutrition for us. But we always appreciate hearing from folks.