The combination of lentils, dates, red onion, and parsley could not be more simple or more tasty. With a sprinkle of my own Lemon Vinaigrette, it is crisp, fresh, light, and brilliant. This salad goes well with heartier main courses as well as on its own.
When I found myself with leftover lentils in the fridge, I wasn't quite sure what to make with them. But after a bit of brainstorming, I came up with a recipe that turned out to be far more amazing than I ever imagined. I combined the lentils with fresh cucumber, red onion, Medjool dates, and parsley, and within just 10 minutes, this salad came together beautifully. It's no secret that lentil salads are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine.
The flavors and textures reminded me of the delicious dishes I had in some great restaurants. As a food lover, I'm always inspired by my travels and try to incorporate those experiences into my recipes whenever I can. Expanding on this recipe, I have found that adding some crumbled feta cheese and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil takes the flavors to the next level. The tanginess of the feta pairs perfectly with the earthy flavors of the lentils, while the lemon juice and olive oil provide a bright and refreshing contrast.
This lentil salad also makes for a perfect meal prep option. You can make a big batch at the start of the week and enjoy it for lunch or dinner throughout the week. It's a filling and nutritious option that won't leave you feeling sluggish or weighed down. Plus, it's vegan and gluten-free, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions.
Whether you are looking for a quick and easy lunch option or a dish to bring to a potluck or picnic, this lentil salad is a winner. And who knows, it may just transport you to the vibrant streets of Tel Aviv with every bite.
Which Lentils to Use?
When lentils are cooked, their texture changes, as I have mentioned. You should use green lentils for this salad, though. In this salad, being tossed around won't cause them to become mushy or lose their shape.
How to Make Lentil Salad
One of my favorite things about this lentil salad recipe is that it’s so easy to put together. Whether you are looking for a quick lunch or a delicious side dish, this salad is a fantastic option. In fact, you could even cook the lentils ahead of time and store them in the fridge overnight, which makes this recipe even more convenient.
- To make this salad, start by cooking the lentils according to the package directions.
- Once they are done, let them cool completely.
- While the lentils are cooling, dice the cucumber, red onion, and dates into small, bite-sized pieces. Then, finely chop the parsley.
- Once the lentils are cooled, it's time to assemble the salad.
- Add the lentils, cucumber, red onion, and dates to a large mixing bowl.
- Then, drizzle the Lemon Vinaigrette dressing on top and toss everything together until the ingredients are evenly coated.
- And that's it! Your lentil salad is ready to serve.
- It’s perfect for a light lunch or a side dish to pair with your favorite main course. Plus, it's healthy and filling, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking to eat well without sacrificing flavor.
Lentil Salad Tips
If you are like me and enjoy meal prepping, then I highly recommend slightly undercooking the lentils for this salad. I usually cook my lentils for about 20 minutes, but if you are planning to eat this salad over a few days, the lentils will continue to absorb the dressing and soften further.
- To avoid this, cook the lentils for a couple of minutes less than you usually would.
- When it comes to dicing the cucumber, red onion, and dates, try to keep everything in a small dice that's roughly the same size. This will ensure that every bite of the salad has a good balance of flavors and textures.
- One thing to note about this lentil salad is that it's on the sweeter side, thanks to the Medjool dates. If you prefer a less sweet salad, simply use fewer dates.
- This salad is also a great way to use up dates that may have dried out a bit in your pantry. They will be easier to dice and will soften up again in the salad. So, don't throw them away just yet!
LENTIL SALAD WITH CUCUMBER
- 1 cup lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large cucumber, finely diced
- ½ red onion
- 1 cup Medjool dates, finely diced
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
- 1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette
- Rinse the lentils and inspect them to remove any bad lentils or debris.
- In a medium saucepan, add the lentils, water, and bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to very low, cover the pot and simmer for 16-20 minutes. The lentils should be soft but not at all mushy.
- Drain and chill the lentils for a couple of minutes. Add the diced cucumber, red onion, dates and parsley.
- Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette on top and toss to combine.
- With the leftover Lemon Vinaigrette you can use it on my Shrimp, Asparagus and Avocado Salad, Wild Rice and Arugula Salad or Watermelon Radish and Cucumber Salad.
- You can also add a piece of kombu as you boil the lentils to make them more easily digestible. I talk about this in more detail on my how to cook lentils post.