My Greek lentil salad is easy to make and features all the best flavors of the Mediterranean. Earthy brown lentils are elevated with briny olives, crumbled feta, fresh vegetables, and mint before being bathed in a light and creamy tahini dressing.
It’s hard to beat the taste of Mediterranean food and Greek dishes are some of my absolute favorites. Today’s recipe is a cold salad that you can make in about 30 minutes. It is hearty and satisfying without weighing you down. It’s a great on-the-go lunch option and makes a wonderful side dish as well. Greek lentil salad is perfect on a warm autumn day, but it is just as good the whole year round.
If you are looking for other meatless Mediterranean options, check out my Greek Feta Salad, Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, or Mediterranean Barley Salad. You can also continue down the culinary Silk Road and check out some Asian inspired recipes such as Pai Huang Gua (Chinese Cucumber Salad) or Thai Mango Salad. There are so many fantastic flavors in the world!
Also remember that you can always toss a few pieces of chicken, shrimp or tofu in the mix if you need an extra protein boost.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Lentils – I choose brown lentils for their mild, earthy taste and firmness. You can use red for a sweeter, nuttier taste or green for a more peppery effect.
- Bay Leaf – Used to lighten up dishes with a slightly menthol, slightly eucalyptus aroma.
- Olives – This superfood adds texture and bright, tangy flavor to the recipe.
- Cherry Tomatoes – Add acidity, color, and vibrancy to the salad. I prefer cherry tomatoes because they look beautiful and maintain their shape well. If you only have regular tomatoes on hand, that’s okay — dice them up and toss them in!
- Bell Peppers and Onion – Both of these ingredients add crispness and a subtle amount of spice.
- English Cucumber – A superior cucumber for fresh salads. English cucumbers and Persian have skin and seeds that are far more digestible than regular cucumbers, plus a slightly sweeter taste. You can substitute whatever cucumbers you have available, but you may want to remove the skin.
- Fresh Mint – This highly aromatic herb freshens the dish and adds a pop of enlivening flavor.
- Feta Cheese – This sharp, salty cheese adds tanginess and complexity to the recipe. Goat cheese or queso fresco would be good substitutes.
- Olive Oil – Forms the base of the dressing and adds a mild nutty flavor.
- Red Wine Vinegar – Adds a pop of brightness and tanginess. Balsamic or apple cider vinegar will also work.
- Tahini – Made from pureed sesame seeds, tahini adds an earthy, nutty smoothness to the dressing.
- Garlic – This highly pungent ingredient adds a savory heat to the salad.
- Kosher Salt – Enhances flavor while not tasting overly salty. You can use whatever salt you have available though.
- Paprika – Brings a sweet and mild heat to the table and adds a lovely dash of color.
HOW TO MAKE GREEK LENTIL SALAD
- Clean and Cook Lentils. Sort through and remove any debris from your lentils before placing in a mesh strainer and rinsing thoroughly with cold water. Transfer the lentils to a saucepan with water and a bay leaf, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes.
- Cool Lentils. After cooking, move the lentils back into the mesh strainer and rinse with cold water to cool them down. Discard the bay leaf and set the lentils aside.
- Make the Dressing. Add the dressing ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.
- Assemble Salad. Shake the lentils to remove any excess water, then add them to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Next, add the olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cucumber, mint, and feta cheese.
- Mix Thoroughly. Gently toss to fully incorporate all ingredients and add additional seasoning to taste. Enjoy immediately or allow the salad to chill for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
How Do You Serve Greek Lentil Salad?
Lentil salad is best served when it has had ample time to chill and marinate. It makes a great lunch on a hot day or can be served with dinner as a side dish. I enjoy serving it alongside some of my favorite chicken dishes such as Marinated Tahini Chicken or Mediterranean Grilled Chicken.
Is Lentil Salad Healthy?
Absolutely! Greek lentil salad is not only delicious, it is packed to the gills with nourishing ingredients. Fresh vegetables and herbs deliver high doses of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while the lentils offer a healthy amount of fiber. And, of course, we can’t forget about all the healthy fats brought by the olives and olive oil. It is basically a superfood salad.
What is a Traditional Greek Salad Made Of?
Traditionally, Greek salad is made with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, olives, feta and mint. This Greek lentil salad has all the ingredients of the original with the addition of lentils, making it just as irresistible with a bit more substance.
Greek Lentil Salad
- Pick through and clean any debris from lentils. Place in a sieve and run under cold water to rinse. Place in a saucepan with water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and turn heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes uncovered.
- Pour the cooked lentils into a sieve in the sink and discard bay leaf. Run cold water over to cool and let drain into saucepan.
- In a large bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together. Shake off any excess water from lentils and add to bowl, tossing to coat. Add the olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cucumber, mint and feta cheese.
- Gently toss to mix thoroughly and season to taste if needed. Chill 30 minutes if desired.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.