This vegetarian lentil salad comes together in just 30 minutes. Complete with a flavorful honey mustard vinaigrette, it's perfect for meal prep lunches or as a side dish. Vegetarian and gluten-free.
This lentil salad has been my lunch for two weeks in a row. It started out as an "Oops I don't have lunch prepped for the week and it's 8 pm on Sunday night, what should I make?" recipe and morphed into a "That lentil and chickpea salad from last week was really good, I'll have to make it again for lunch this week" kind of thing.
This isn't just a lentil salad; it also has chickpeas, which are a great source of protein and fiber. Toss with red bell pepper, red onion, fresh sweet corn and a few other summer ingredients for a nutrient-packed dish.
The best part of this lentil salad? A zesty-but-sweet honey mustard vinaigrette made with just a few pantry staples. So smooth, sweet and flavorful! It really ties the salad ingredients together.
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This nutrient-packed lentil salad is
- filled with plant-based protein
- vegetarian (and so easy to make vegan!)
- made with fresh summer ingredients
- ready in under 30 minutes
What kind of lentils should I use in this salad?
I recommend using brown lentils because they keep firm and hold their shape well. You can also use green lentils, but they will take longer to cook than brown lentils.
Check package instructions before cooking if you're not sure what kind of lentils you have. Red or yellow lentils shouldn't be used because they turn to mush easily.
Can you eat raw sweet corn?
Sweet corn is safe to eat uncooked and is just as flavorful as boiled or roasted corn. Just make sure to rinse the corn well before slicing it off the ear to remove any debris.
Make this lentil salad for any occasion
When I pack this salad for meal prep lunches I usually bring along a serving of fruit--such as an apple or strawberries--to make a well-rounded meal.
This salad also works well as a side at potlucks or with dinner. It's great for summer because it uses lots of fresh summer produce, but it will work during any season.
Try adding an apple and pecans during fall, or exchange spinach for kale if that's what you have on hand.
More recipes like this:
- Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas
- Vegan Quinoa Taco Salad
- Tofu and Veggie Spring Roll Bowls
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Peach Caprese Salad
Vegetarian Lentil Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 cup dry brown lentils
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- ½ bunch kale sliced into ribbons
- 1 ear yellow sweet corn
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 small red onion diced
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- ¼ cup feta
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- 2 medium lemons (yields ~¼ cup lemon juice)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Use cold water to rinse 1 cup of dry brown lentils in a fine mesh strainer. Add rinsed lentils to a medium pot with 2 cups of water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until lentils are soft and edible but not mushy.
- While the lentils are cooking, prep remaining salad components: Slice kale into ribbons. Cut fresh sweet corn off of one ear of corn. Dice onion and red bell pepper. Slice cherry tomatoes in half or fourths.
- In a Ball jar or small bowl combine ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons each spicy brown mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce. If using a ball jar, put on the lid and shake to combine. If using a bowl, mix until thoroughly combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together cooked lentils, chickpeas, kale, sweet corn, bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, hazelnuts and feta. Toss with honey mustard vinaigrette just before serving. Enjoy warm or cold.
- To slice the kale: Choose a bunch of kale instead of pre-cut kale in bags. ½ bunch of kale will yield ~3 cups of kale ribbons. To cut, carefully use a knife to remove the woody stem. Stack kale leaves on top of each other, then slice into ½" ribbons.
- Instead of hazelnuts: If hazelnuts aren't available at the store, try roasted pecans or sunflower seeds.
- To make gluten-free: Use tamari in place of soy sauce in the honey mustard vinaigrette.
- To make vegan: Omit feta cheese or replace with a vegan alternative. Use agave in place of honey in the vinaigrette.
- To cool the lentils quickly: Place cooked lentils in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with ice cold water until cooled. This method may break apart the lentils if they're overcooked, so be careful. Alternately, fill a large bowl or container with ice cubes. Add the lentils to a smaller metal or glass bowl, then set that bowl in the ice. This should cool the lentils more quickly than if you were to just refrigerate them.