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 loaded with good-for-you nutrition and bright Mediterranean flavors.
Add pomegranate seeds (arils) when in season, or leave them out. Keep it vegan or add a sprinkle of creamy feta. This lentil salad is amazing any way you make it. And meal-prep mavens, this is the perfect make-ahead lunch for the week!
Dry lentils are such 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!) And for the simplest side dish ever, I often cook up some lentils and add with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil--the perfect bed for saucy baked fish or shrimp stew!
Let's just say, I'm never out of ways to use lentils!
Today's lentil creation is a simple Mediterranean-style lentil salad recipe, loaded with spinach and crunchy veggies. A zippy lime dressing brings it all together.
And meal-prep mavens, you'll love this one. It's the perfect make-ahead lunch!
Mediterranean Lentil Salad Recipe
This Mediterranean lentil salad is snitch to make, but it is every bit a satisfying and delicious!
Hearty green lentils are the star of this dish (you can also use black lentils or brown lentils.) Once cooked to tender perfection, you simply drain them and combine them with the rest of the ingredients. I like to add crunchy cucumbers, onions, and a large handful of leafy greens like baby spinach or kale. 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 main flavor maker here is a a simple bright lime dressing that's been seasoned with cumin and a dash of allspice (you can play with the spices to your liking as well, but the warm flavors work really well with the hearty lentils.)
If you need to keep this lentil salad vegan, don't add feta. But if that's not a concern, I highly recommend a sprinkle of quality creamy feta to finish.
How to Make Lentil Salad
1. First cook the lentils (and you can do this a day or so in advance if you like.) Combine one cup of dry green lentils with 3 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt (although it will make the cooking time a bit longer, it's important to add some flavor to your lentils at this point.) Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer until fully tender (watch to add more water, if needed.) Drain well and let lentils cool. If you've made the lentils in advance, refrigerate in a tight-lid glass container.
2. Combine cooked lentils with veggies etc.
In a large mixing bowl, add cooked lentils, chopped red onions, cucumbers, 2 cups baby spinach, 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, and pomegranate seeds (if using.) Give everything a gentle toss.
3. Add dressing. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, honey, cumin, allspice, kosher salt and black pepper. Pour dressing over the salad and give everything a good toss. Add crumbled feta on top (optional)
What Kind of Lentils to Use?
There are about a dozen lentil varieties out there. For this hearty lentil salad, you'll want to start with dry lentils that are firm and can hold their shape after cooking.
For this reason, I use all-natural green lentils. They take longer to cook, but even as they get nice and tender, they don't lose their shape and turn mushy. Also, green lentils are hearty and have a super mild and pleasant peppery flavor that's well-complimented by the veggies and dressing in this salad.
Another great lentil option for this salad is our all-natural black beluga lentils. They're quick-cooking and have a nice creamy texture and earthy, deep flavor.
Where to buy lentils? You can find quality lentils at our online shop right here.
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 a Greek fish dinner; lemon chicken; or even lamb roast.
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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 loaded with good-for-you nutrition and bright Mediterranean flavors. Add pomegranate seeds (arils) when in season, or leave them out. Keep it vegan or add a sprinkle of creamy feta. This lentil salad is amazing any way you make it. And meal-prep mavens, this is the perfect make-ahead lunch for the week!
- 1 cup dry green lentils
- 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
- Cook the lentils. In a sauce pan, 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 lentils are fully tender (about 30 minutes or so.) 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, cucumber, baby spinach, parsley, and pomegranate seeds (arils.) Give everything a gentle toss.
- Finally, in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together lime dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over the lentil salad and toss to combine. Add a sprinkle of feta cheese to finish.
- Cook's Tip: You can cook the lentils the night before and refrigerate in a tight-lid glass container until ready to use.
- Cook's Tip #2: 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!
- Category: Sides/Salad
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Lentil salad, Mediterranean lentil salad, how to cook lentils
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2015 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!