How to make Lentil Salad

During a culinary exploration that took me across vibrant landscapes and through bustling market squares, I was captivated by a simple yet profoundly nourishing dish: Lentil Salad. It was in a quaint café tucked away in a sun-drenched village where I first tasted this hearty blend of lentils, each bite enriched with the tangy brilliance of sherry vinegar. The salad was a revelation, combining earthy lentils with a medley of fresh, crisp vegetables, all brought together with the luxurious depth of sherry vinegar dressing.

Eager to recreate the magic of that first taste, I delved into the nuances of lentil salad, learning that the key lies in the balance of textures and flavors – the heartiness of lentils contrasted with the sharpness of the vinegar and the freshness of accompanying herbs and vegetables. After several attempts, I perfected my version of this rustic, yet elegant dish. With great excitement, I share with you not just a recipe but a gateway to experiencing the wholesome goodness of lentils, enhanced by the rich, complex notes of sherry vinegar. Join me in crafting this nourishing, flavorsome salad that promises to be a rejuvenating delight to your senses.

Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad is an embodiment of rustic charm and nutritional richness, discovered amidst a journey that celebrated culinary wonders across diverse cultures. Central to its allure are the hearty lentils, each bite offering a treasure trove of flavors, balanced beautifully with the tangy vibrance of sherry vinegar. This wholesome salad marries the earthiness of lentils with a variety of crisp, fresh vegetables, all dressed in a sherry vinegar dressing that adds depth and complexity to the dish.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Vegetable
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4
Calories 561 kcal


  • 1 pot


For the Salad

  • 1/2 cup cucumber
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1 cup dry lentils

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic


  • In a pot, combine the dry lentils, bell pepper, and two cups of water.
  • Stir the lentils to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low heat and cover.
  • Follow the package directions for cooking.
  • To avoid overcooking, begin tasting at the 15-minute mark.
  • Prepare the veggies while the lentils are boiling by chopping everything into tiny, even pieces.
  • In a large serving dish, combine all of the ingredients.
  • In a bowl, mix the cumin, paprika, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, lime zest, and chopped garlic to make the dressing.
  • Whisk in the canola oil in a slow, steady stream.
Keyword cucumber, lentils, parsley, red bell pepper

Cooking tips about Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad Recipe

  • Choose the Right Lentils: Opt for lentils that retain their shape after cooking, such as green, brown, or Puy lentils. These varieties are ideal for salads because they provide a pleasant, toothsome texture.
  • Cooking Lentils Properly: Simmer the lentils in plenty of water until just tender — usually around 20-30 minutes, but start checking around 15 minutes to avoid overcooking. Overcooked lentils can turn mushy, which is less desirable in a salad.
  • Seasoning the Cooking Water: Adding a bay leaf, garlic clove, or small onion to the cooking water can infuse the lentils with additional flavors, making the salad more aromatic.
  • Dressing Warm Lentils: Dress the lentils with the sherry vinegar dressing while they’re still warm. Warm lentils absorb the dressing better, enhancing the overall flavor of the salad.
  • Balance of Flavors: The key to an exceptional Lentil Salad lies in the balance of flavors. Sherry vinegar provides a tangy contrast to the earthiness of the lentils. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, or more vinegar if needed.
  • Adding Freshness: Incorporate a variety of fresh, crisp vegetables for texture and color. Consider options like sliced radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or red onion for crunch and vibrancy.
  • Herbs for Highlights: Fresh herbs can elevate the salad from good to great. Parsley, cilantro, dill, or mint are excellent choices, adding freshness and brightening the dish.
  • Letting It Marinate: If time allows, let the salad sit for a bit before serving. This resting period lets the flavors meld together more fully, making every bite deeper and more complex.
  • Serving Temperature: While delicious served immediately, this salad can also be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled, making it perfect for meal prep or picnics.
  • Customizing Your Salad: Feel free to add additional ingredients based on preference or availability. Nuts for crunch, goat cheese for creaminess, or even fruits like dried cranberries or fresh apples can introduce new dimensions to the salad.

Serving suggestions about Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad - Skinnytaste

  • Pair with Crusty Bread: Just like many hearty salads, Lentil Salad pairs beautifully with slices of crusty bread. The bread can be used to scoop up the salad or soak up any dressing at the bottom of the bowl, providing a satisfying crunch.
  • Add a Protein: For a more substantial meal, consider topping your Lentil Salad with grilled chicken, fish, or even a soft-boiled egg. These proteins complement the earthiness of the lentils and make the salad a complete meal.
  • Accompany with Cheese: A little cheese can go a long way in enhancing the flavors of your Lentil Salad. Options such as crumbled feta, goats’ cheese, or shaved Parmesan add a creamy texture and a depth of flavor that contrasts nicely with the tangy dressing and earthy lentils.
  • Include Fresh Herbs: Before serving, sprinkle your Lentil Salad with fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, dill, or mint. These herbs add brightness, enhancing the fresh and zesty nature of the salad.
  • Serve on a Bed of Greens: Lay a foundation of fresh greens like spinach, arugula, or mixed lettuce under your Lentil Salad. This not only adds color and variety but also integrates more freshness and texture into each serving.
  • Offer as a Side Dish: Lentil Salad makes for an excellent side dish alongside grilled meats or seafood. Its robust flavors and filling nature complement a wide range of main dishes, making it versatile for any dining occasion.
  • Enjoy as a Meal Prep Staple: Lentil Salad holds up well in the fridge, making it a perfect option for meal prep. Prepare a large batch at the beginning of the week, and enjoy it as a ready-to-eat meal or side dish that’s both nutritious and flavorful.
  • Customize with More Veggies: Don’t hesitate to toss in additional vegetables according to seasonality or preference. Chopped bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, or roasted vegetables can add color, crunch, and extra nutrition to your salad.
  • Adjust to Taste: Before serving, give your Lentil Salad one last taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. A little extra salt, pepper, or a squeeze of lemon juice might be all it needs to brighten up the flavors.
  • Presentation Matters: Serve your Lentil Salad in a large, shallow dish to showcase its ingredients. Garnish with extra herbs or a drizzle of good olive oil for a restaurant-quality presentation.

Top 5 FAQs about Lentil Salad

Lemony Chickpea and Lentil Salad Recipe | A Healthy Life for Me

  • What type of lentils are best for making Lentil Salad? For Lentil Salad, it’s best to use lentils that hold their shape well after cooking, such as green, brown, or Puy lentils. These varieties offer a pleasant, toothsome texture that is ideal for salads and avoid becoming mushy.
  • Can Lentil Salad be made in advance? Yes, Lentil Salad can be made in advance. In fact, doing so can allow the flavors to meld together more fully, enhancing the overall taste. Simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3-4 days for the best quality.
  • Is Lentil Salad suitable for vegetarians and vegans? Lentil Salad is inherently vegetarian and vegan-friendly, as its primary components are lentils, vegetables, and a vinaigrette dressing. It makes for a hearty and nutritious option for those following plant-based diets.
  • How should I store leftover Lentil Salad, and how long will it last? Leftover Lentil Salad should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it can last for 3-4 days. If it contains fresh herbs or more delicate vegetables, consume earlier to enjoy its best taste and texture.
  • Are there variations to the classic Lentil Salad recipe? Absolutely! Lentil Salad is highly customizable. You can add various ingredients based on preference or what you have on hand, including nuts for crunch, goat cheese for creaminess, or even fruits like dried cranberries for a sweet contrast. It’s an excellent dish for experimenting with flavors and textures.

As we conclude, let us remember that each preparation of Lentil Salad is a unique expression of its maker’s culinary voice. It invites customization, experimentation, and, most importantly, enjoyment. Whether enjoyed alone as a quick, energizing lunch or served alongside other dishes in a larger feast, Lentil Salad is a humble yet profound celebration of food’s ability to connect us to the world and each other. Through it, we find comfort, satisfaction, and a reminder of life’s simple pleasures.


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