Make this Warm Lentil Salad the main dish, or serve it as a side dish. Lentils with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, garlic, lemon juice, and savory seasonings come together for a nutritious, healthy, and filling meal. Top it all off with feta cheese for a real crowd-pleaser!
My old neighbour in Petawawa first introduced me to lentils many moons ago. I was at her house while she was making supper and she offered me a bowl of lentil rice when she discovered I’d never tried lentils before. I loved the recipe so much that I asked her to write it down for me. I still have that handwritten recipe tucked away in one of my cookbooks.
Since then, I’ve made her recipe for lentil rice many times and experimented with a few new lentil recipes. I even like eating lentils on their own. I’ll open up a can of lentils and heat them on the stove and serve them with a little salt and pepper. They are healthy and yummy!
This recipe for Warm Lentil Salad is fragrant with spices and has fresh veggies. The best lentils for this salad are the green ones, especially French green lentils.
What’s great about lentils is they cook up quicker than most other dried legumes. If you are looking for healthy weeknight dinners, this recipe is for you. You’ll want to work these warm lentils into your regular rotation for Meatless Monday. When serving as a main dish, all you need to add is some crusty bread. This delicious salad is the star of the show.
Why You’ll Love Warm Lentil Salad
- An easy recipe that comes together quickly
- Can be served warm or at room temperature
- Packed with nutrients
- Green lentils
- Olive oil – May substitute with walnut oil for a nutty flavor.
- Red onion – You may substitute with white or yellow onion.
- English cucumber – You can also use an American slicing cucumber with seeds removed.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic clove is optimal, but you may also use minced garlic in a jar.
- Tomatoes – Use any type of slicing tomato.
- Lemon juice – Fresh or bottled is fine.
- Salt and black pepper
- Feta cheese – Substitute with goat cheese, if you prefer.
How to Make Warm Lentil Salad
- Step One: Place green or brown lentils in a medium pot on the stove and cover with about 2 inches of cold water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook on low for about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain.
- Step Two: Heat a tablespoon of olive in a large saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Add in onions and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Then add in garlic, tomatoes, cucumber, cumin, ginger, paprika, cayenne, and stir and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.
- Step Three: Add in the lentil mixture and stir for a minute. Finish with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Step Four: Remove from heat and put into a medium bowl. Stir in Feta cheese and serve warm.
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What to Serve with Warm Lentil Salad
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cook the lentils in vegetable stock or vegetable broth for added flavor.
- Optionally, cook lentils with a bay leaf. Be sure to remove the bay leaf, before adding to the remaining ingredients.
- Use real lemon juice for a fresher flavor.
- To save time, use some canned lentils heated up on the stove. No one will ever know.
Variations and Substitutions
- Add sautéed bell pepper for added flavor and texture.
- Top cooked lentils with chopped fresh thyme or other fresh herbs.
- If you don’t have lemon, you may substitute red wine vinegar.
Lentil salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat, place in a microwave-safe dish for 2-3 minutes until warmed throughout. You may also allow lentils to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving, and enjoy at room temperature. You can even eat them cold!
Can I Freeze?
Cooked lentils may be frozen for up to 3 months. Be sure they are sealed well in airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
Can I Make Ahead?
Yes, you may prepare this lentil salad up to 5 days ahead. Store lentils covered in the refrigerator, until ready to serve.
Hearty Salad Recipes
- Shrimp Salad
- Chicken & Broccoli Salad
- Creamy Curried Chicken Pasta Salad
- Chimichurri Steak Salad
- Hot Chicken Salad
If you make the recipe, rate it on the recipe card below and tag me on Instagram and use #simplystacie. I like sharing the photos on my Instagram stories!
- 1 cup green lentils, uncooked
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- pinch of cayenne
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place lentils in a pot on the stove and cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook on low for about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain.
- Heat olive oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add in onions and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Then add in garlic, tomatoes, cucumber, cumin, ginger, paprika, cayenne and stir and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add in the cooked lentils and stir for a minute. Finish with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and put into a large bowl. Stir in Feta cheese and serve warm.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 255mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 16g