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Cold Lentil Salad Ideas

I've tried to incorporate more lentils into my diet, as they're a wonderfully healthy food. But I like them best in cold salads. Does anyone have any good recipes? I made one on the fly a couple nights ago that I just love - but I'm gonna get tired of it after I finish the rather large batch.

I mixed together the following:
1 roasted red pepper (done on the grill)
shreds of lightly sauteed zucchini
shreds of raw baby spinach
mixed olives, chopped
two roasted beets (golden and red)
finely chopped green onions (mostly the green bits)
feta crumbles

Topped it all off with a red wine vinaigrette made with walnut oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and a touch of honey. It's pretty good. Would love some more ideas though!

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  1. i know i've posted this before, but here you go:

    lentils at room temp (i use french lentils, they're so nice and delicate)
    hard boiled eggs, cut into eighths
    avocado, cut similar size
    dressing - juice of 3 or 4 lemons, s&p, tbs. Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, and 2 minced shallots.
    very simple, very delightful. something about the combo of textures and flavors make this a total hit anytime i bring it anywhere. i love the idea of walnut oil. and beets!

    2 Replies
    1. re: mariacarmen

      I just copied this. I'd seen your post of this before, but forgot about it. I'm going to get an avocado and make this soon. Thx, MC.

      1. re: mariacarmen

        this sounds fantastic! Lots of protein, healthy fat, creaminess, with a bit of acidic bite. My version is:

        french lentils
        roasted diced beets (I add these as I serve out the portions.... to myself... so as to preserve the colors of the other ingredients)
        halved grape tomatoes
        half moons of english cucumber
        sliced red onion
        thiny sliced fennel (with fronds as garnish/herbage)
        whole salted marcona almonds
        Instead of adding a separate dressing, I just spoon some dijon mustard on top, a glug or three of tarragon vinegar, s&p, and a scant glug of a VERY fruity extra virgin olive oil.

        I make a big batch and eat a small bowl for at least one meal a day til it's gone because I love it so much

      2. There's a lentil salad with coconut & tomato that I love at room temperature - it comes from a book called Indian Home Cooking. If you want to make it right, it requires some ingredients that are hard to come by in some parts of the US: black mustard seed, curry leaves, asafetida. If you want the recipe, let me know.

        10 Replies
        1. re: THewat

          I would love to have this recipe. The only thing I can't ever find are curry leaves, not even at our intl. market that stocks every other conceivable Indian ingredient.. (Even when I was in NY recently and went to Kalustyan's, they didn't have them.) Anyone have a good mail order source? Or suggestions for substitutions?

          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            Sometimes the place just north of Kalustyan's has them, even when Kalustyan's doesn't. But I find them most reliably in NY in Jackson Heights, Queens - Patel Brothers almost always has them. I buy lots & freeze. I really love the flavor & I haven't found a substitute.

            Warm Lentil Salad with Coconut & Tomato, from Indian Home Cooking (Saran & Lyness)

            21/2 Tablespoons Canola oil
            1 Tablespoon black mustard seed
            1 teaspoon yellow split peas
            1 teaspoon cumin seed
            2 whole dry red chiles
            8 fresh or 12 frozen curry leaves, torn
            1/8 teaspoon asafetida
            1 fresh hot green chile, cut into thin slices
            1 red onion sliced
            1 1/2 teaspoons salt
            2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
            1 small tomato, chopped
            1 cup split peas or lentils simmered until just tender
            juice of 1/2 lemon
            1/4 cup chopped cilantro

            Combine oil, mustard seeds & yellow split peas; cook over med-high heat until mustard seeds crackle. Add the cumin & cook until it turns brown. Add the dried chiles, curry leaves & asafetida & cook, stirring, about 1 more minute. Add the fresh chile, onion & salt & cook until the onion softens. Add the coconut & cook until it turns golden brown, about 2 more minutes. Add the tomato & cook, stirring, one minute. Add the cooked lentils, lemon juice & cilantro & stir until the lentils are warmed through. Good warm & at room temp.

            1. re: THewat

              TY, THewat--this recipe sounds great; I will continue in my quest for curry leaves b/c I really want to make this. (But only 1 teaspoon yelow split peas?)

              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                It's all you need - they're really crunchy.

                1. re: THewat

                  OK--I thought maybe that was a typo.

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    I double checked. Thanks for asking - it could well have been. :-)

                2. re: nomadchowwoman

                  nomadchowoman I think you have misread the recipe. The main lentils/split peas in this recipe are further down the ingredients list - 1 cup, cooked. The 1 tsp of split peas is used additionaly as a South Indian style seasoning, cooked in a little oil. By the way, it would also be more correct to use urad dal or channa dal rather than split peas as a fried seasoning.

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    Indian markets often carry curry leaves fresh.

                    Here, where I live, they usually look like they came off a tree in someone's back yard, just in a plastic bag in the fridge.

                3. re: nomadchowwoman

                  I actually saw curry leaves in a jar at Whole Foods the other day, on the aisle with the Indian curry pastes.

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    You can get them in the South Asian markets on Mott St. south of Canal

                4. I make one with beluga lentils, chopped dill, and tiny cubes of cheese (I use cave-aged Marisa http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/prodin... but you could use any hard, salty cheese) tossed with a light vinaigrette.

                  1. The combo. of lentils and string beans is divinely inspired; especially if you lay it out on a bed of frisee/arugula and top it with a garlicky lemony vinaigrette and a shake of hot red pepper flakes.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mamachef

                      steamed string beans? we have lots of beans now and the combo sounds lovely.

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        Yep, until just done...and best yet, if you top and French the beans.

                    2. I cook puy lentils with a bay leaf and onion and then mix them with finely diced celery and carrot in a mustardy/garlicky vinaigrette.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: arp29

                        I do the same recipe, but add either sauteed fennel or feta also is nice addition.

                      2. My wife loves lentils and has several wonderful, surprisingly easy recipes.

                        Our favourite is from Provence. It is yummy, easy & is also nice the next day.

                        To serve 6:
                        1 1/2 cups duPuy Lentils
                        5 cups water
                        1 bay leaf
                        generous pinch salt
                        12 green olives, if you can get almond filled ones go for them
                        3 tbsp nice extra-virgin olive oil
                        1 tbsp red wine vinegar

                        - in a pot, bring lentils, water, bay, salt gently to a boil and simmer, uncovered, about 20-30 minutes until just tender. Keep an eye on them towards the end & don't overcook them or they'll get mushy & the salad won't be fun
                        - remove pot from the heat & let the lentils cool.
                        - when they are cool, drain well
                        - chop the olives and mix them into the lentils. Toss with the olive oil & vinegar. Adjust for salt.
                        - serve at room temperature or chilled.


                        1. I make a hot lentil dish that is also wonderful at room temperature - roast smallish cubes of butternut squash, red onions and fennel with some garlic, then toss with cooked pardina lentils (use regular brown or du Puy if you can't find pardina). Add slices or cubes of well-browned kielbasa (I slice it and broil it so there are lots of crispy edges). Dress it with a mixture of balsamic, sherry and red wine vinegars, olive oil (plus the fat from the sausage) and lots of chopped fresh rosemary and thyme.

                          1. I like to put fruit in savory salads. I do whatever is seasonal usually. Right now peaches and basil would be good, maybe throw some roasted red peppers in there.

                            Figs would be good, berries.

                            I then balance out the sweetness with a more acidic vinaigrette maybe 1:1 oil:vin.

                            1. I make an asian style one that I love. Cook up green lentils in a bit of veg stock so they take on a bit of flavour. Steam some brocolli and edamame. Toss everything with a dressing of sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey and lime juice

                              1. Wow, these all sound good. Rocky74, I never would have thought of the Asian twist, but it sounds wonderful.

                                1. If you can get your hands on the lemons, this salad with roasted beets and preserved lemon is amazing: http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/770...

                                  I love them with a super-mustardy dressing, some sort of minced onion/shallot, and whatever vegetable bits I have around.

                                  They're very nice with yogurt sauces as well.

                                  1. This recipe is a favorite and is not your run of the mill salad.... I never tire of it!



                                    1. I like a farro salad with tomatoes, basil, capers, a white wine vinaigrette (with shallot), and last time I made it, I added some cooked du Puy lentils; I thought it worked pretty well.

                                      1. I cook lentils in chicken stock with a finely chopped onion, about 8 finely chopped garlic cloves and an envelope of Sazon. Drain and toss with a dressing made of lemon juice, olive oil, a little salt, pepper. Toss in chopped walnuts and capers. I also love a bit of chopped kim chi on top. I eat a bit of this at almost every meal.

                                        1. This is pretty basic but delicious:

                                          For a side I like just sliced red peppers dipped in drained yogurt mixed with dill, garlic, and a little lemon juice. I have it with or without brown rice, depending on mood and hungriness. It will be warmish as written but it's even better given time in the fridge to chill and meld flavors.

                                          1. I love this lentil salad from Jack Bishops's "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen." Simple and delicious warm or room temp (which is why I just made it in my hurricane prep). Cook green (Puy) lentils with a few smashed cloves of garlic and a few bay leaves. Add diced carrots when the lentils are about 2/3 done. When done, mix with diced celery, slivered radishes, dill and feta. I often throw in diced grape tomatoes or whatever else I have around. Dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: herring

                                              The September issue of Everyday Food has a reader submitted recipe for "Lentil Salad with Grapes and Feta" which I enjoyed. Essentially: cook French or brown lentils. Mix together a vinegarette with red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and olive oil. Combine with toasted walnuts, halved seedless red grapes, chopped celery, fresh thyme, and feta. Season with salt and pepper. Nice flavor combination!

                                            2. The latest issue of Cook's Illustrated has an article on cooking lentils with several salad ideas - they all look great!