Think lentils are bland food? That may be, but not in the case of this lentil salad with garlic, harissa, and Middle Eastern spices. With the addition of white beans, this vegan and gluten-free lentil salad is a meal in its own right. But, it's usually served as meze (appetizer) or side dish.

Salad garnished with carrots and fresh mint

Lentils, fava beans and falafel are known as the daily grub in Egypt. There is an obvious reason for that--all three supply satisfying, protein-packed meals at a fraction.

Lentils are especially versatile. You would be amazed at the different ways saltat adas (lentil salad) is prepared in Egypt.  I have already shared this power lentil salad with pomegranate and Swiss chard here on the blog. But today's lentil salad is my take on one served at a popular Alexandria restaurant called Tikka Grill.

Platter containing Lentil Salad topped with carrots, sliced almond and fresh mint leaves

I have no idea if Tikka Grill actually used harissa paste in their lentil salad, I was too young the last time I had it. But the North African chili paste is a fitting addition to this salad; and I think it plays really well with the remaining flavor drivers like fresh garlic, coriander and white vinegar.

Tip. If you start with dry brown lentils like I have here, remember that it takes 3 cups of liquid to 1 cup dry lentils. The lentils will double in size once cooked. Salt is added later, otherwise the lentils will harden even if fully cooked.

Here is the step-by-step tutorial for this lentil salad

(Scroll down for the print-friendly recipe)

In a medium sauce pan, combine the lentils and water. Bring to a quick simmer on medium-high heat, then lower the heat and let gently simmer for 20 minutes or so (do not cover). Drain. Set aside.

Lentils added to a pot of water

In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the majority of the onions (reserve about ½ a cup for later). Add the garlic. Toss briefly until golden.

Onions being cooked in a pan
Add the tomatoes, spices, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoon vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat until the tomatoes soften.

Stir in the harissa paste and ½ cup water.

Harissa paste is added to the pan and cooked in with the onions

Harissa paste and onions cooking together in a pan
Cook for another 3-4 minutes, then add the boiled lentils and the white beans. Stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar.

Lentils and white beans are added to the pan of Harissa paste and onions
Transfer the lentil salad to a serving platter. Let cool briefly (or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve), then top the lentil salad with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Add the grated carrots, ½ cup chopped onions you reserved earlier, fresh mint and almonds. Serve with pita bread or your favorite crusty Italian bread. Enjoy!

Prepared Harissa Lentil Salad ready to be served

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also like

Mediterranean Fresh Bean Salad

Power Lentil Salad 

Loaded Chickpea Salad

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Harissa Lentil Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. A spicy lentil salad with white beans, tomatoes, Middle Eastern spices and harissa paste. A flavor-packed salad or side dish! Comes together in mins. See this recipe and more on TheMediterraneanDish.com

Spicy Harissa Lentil Salad with White Beans


Description

With the addition of white beans, this vegan and gluten-free lentil salad is a meal in its own right. But, it's usually served as meze (appetizer) or side dish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups water, more for later
  • Olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 ½ medium sweet onions, thinly sliced or chopped, divided
  • 4 medium tomatoes (on the vine preferred), diced
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp distilled white vinegar, divided
  • ⅓ cup harrisa paste (Or use ½ cup harissa, if you're looking for more spicy!)
  • 1 14-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 grated carrots
  • Fresh mint for garnish
  • Silvered almonds toasted in a little olive oil for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the lentils and water. Bring to a quick simmer on medium-high heat, then lower the heat and let gently simmer for 20 minutes or so (do not cover). Drain.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the majority of the onions (reserve about ½ a cup for later). Add the garlic. Toss briefly until golden.
  3. Add the tomatoes, spices, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoon vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat until the tomatoes soften.
  4. Stir in the harissa paste and ½ cup water. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, then add the boiled lentils and the white beans. Stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat off and stir in 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar.
  6. Transfer the lentil salad to a serving platter. Let cool briefly. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Before serving, top the lentil salad with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Add the grated carrots, ½ cup chopped onions you reserved earlier, fresh mint and almonds. Serve with pita bread or your favorite crusty Italian bread. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Recommended for this Recipe: Our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives!)
  • Visit our store to browse our spices, olive oils and bundles!
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: Lentil, Lentil Salad, Salad, Harissa, White Bean Salad,

More Lentil Recipes:

Mujadra: Lentils and Rice with Crispy Onions

Power Lentil Salad with Pomegranates and Swiss Chard

Spinach Lentil Soup

Curried Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

Harissa Lentil Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. A spicy lentil salad with white beans, tomatoes, Middle Eastern spices and harissa paste. A flavor-packed salad or side dish! Comes together in mins. See this recipe and more on TheMediterraneanDish.com

Share it with the world

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...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Suzy,
    I don't have Harissa paste but I have the powdered version. Can I use that in this recipe and what would the substitution amount be?

  2. This looks super delicious, very excited to make dinner tonight! I do have a question about making substitutions though, my son is allergic to tomatoes - can you think of any replacement here that won't heavily alter the flavor of the dish? Maybe squash? Let me know what you think, thanks!

  3. Your salad is beautiful and sounds delicious. I have everything to make this except I'll have to use puy lentils as that is all I have.

    1. Enjoy, Karen! I think puy lentils will work here too; might just adjust the cooking time. Hope you love it!

  4. Dear Suzy, lentils are one of my favorites. This salad looks so hearty and delicious...perfect summer dish. xo, Catherine

  5. I love harissa and it's a great addition to this salad, Suzy. This salad is full of some rockin flavors! 🙂

  6. I love the addition of harissa and I think that's a great call to have used it.