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, or go for something a bit brighter with our Lentil Salad With Roasted Eggplant And Pomegranate Dressing. 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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4.85 from 89 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 minutes
Cook – 30 minutes
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: 270.6kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 9.8gFat: 12.9gSaturated Fat: 1.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 8.9gSodium: 212.6mgPotassium: 576.4mgFiber: 12.1gSugar: 7.9gVitamin A: 1839.5IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 60.5mgIron: 3.9mg
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
    I've made this multiple times now and absolutely love it! It's so quick and tasty. Thank you for a wonderful recipe 🙂

  2. This is so beautiful Suzy. I just love the combination and the heartiness of this salad. I also love that you sauteed the chard, since I am not a fan of it raw. Yet. I keep trying it raw in hopes that'll change. Ha ha.

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this salad, with a few adjustments, and it was sooo good!
    I had half a pomegranate left from my morning buckwheat porridge and a bunch of leafy greens in the fridge.
    I'll be making it again for sure! Have a great day 🙂

    1. Thank you, friend! Yes, this is a well-balanced salad. And really, I have it as my entire meal sometimes. Thanks for stopping in Belgian Foodie 🙂

  4. Of course this recipe first caught my attention! Really like the combination fo flavours and your photos really look crips! Very cool!

    1. Hi Howie! So glad you stopped in. Thank you for the kind comment. This lentil salad is super easy, but it has become a new favorite around here. Please stay in touch!

  5. I wish I had the same feeling as your Australian friend... maybe if I make this, I can pretend I am somewhere tropical and warm... 😉

  6. This dish is so colorful and seems tasty to me. Never thought of combining black lentil and pomegranate before. Loved your pictures so much.

    1. Hey Jess! Good to see you here again. Thank you for the sweet comment. Glad you appreciate the flavors in this lentil salad!

  7. 5 stars
    Not only is that really beautiful, it's super healthy and just what I'm looking for these days!

  8. This salad looks amazing! In fact, you have so many beautiful recipes on your site, and your photography is lovely too. I'll definitely be a regular visitor here!

    1. I hope you can enjoy this one, I mentioned you in my post "my Facebook friend from Australia" 🙂 Although, I don't know if pomegranates are available to you these days.

    2. We do have pomegranates - both imported and "Australia" - the imported are the best - I think from US they are imported .. imported ones are quite lush ... pomegranates have become quite "fashionable" here - the exotic-ness and the colour of them appeal ...

    3. Suzy I forgot my manners and meant to say "THANK YOU" for the recipe and great blog ... I lose it when I see pomegranate ...

      I have a Middle Eastern book that I have treasured it for years ... called A New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden - first published in 1968 ... (ancient but historical and tells stories on the origins of the dishes) ... have you ever encountered it? Don't know if it is published anymore. My copy I bought in 1991 ... (I date my books) ...

    4. No problem, Pauletta! It is my pleasure to share recipes with you and others. The book you mentioned sounds so interesting. I will have to research and see if I can find it!!!! I Own very few cookbooks. In fact, before this year, I only owned two! But I just bought some wonderful books that I am so excited about.