Mediterranean Lentil Salad Recipe

If you're on the lookout for the perfect gluten-free, vegetarian cookout or picnic option, Susan Olayinka has got the recipe for you! This recipe developer and blogger behind The Flexible Fridge combines two great plant-based protein sources — quinoa and lentils — with loads of fresh Mediterranean veggies to create a salad that's just bursting with flavor. 

In this recipe, Olayinka opts for cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, and onions for a panoply of textures and colors. The salad also features Greek feta, a sheep's milk cheese with loads of flavor and lovely funk. Traditional feta is made with animal rennet and thus isn't veggie-friendly, but there are loads of great vegetarian feta brands on the marketplace. Or, if you'd rather make this salad plant-based, simply swap the feta for a few more briny olives to add a similar punch. Either way, it's sure to be a delicious and vibrant addition to any table.

Gather the ingredients for the Mediterranean lentil salad recipe

This Mediterranean lentil salad recipe begins with a base of cooked quinoa and green lentils: Use canned lentils to make the salad even quicker to pull together, or pre-cook the lentils ahead of time and chill them until ready to use. 

Then, you'll add cherry tomatoes, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, pungent red onion, and briny black olives to the quinoa. Simply dressed with olive oil, salt, lemon juice, and parsley and seasoned with a generous sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese, this salad is a flavorful side that couldn't be easier or quicker to make.

Cook the quinoa for this Mediterranean lentil salad recipe

To make this Mediterranean lentil salad recipe, begin by rinsing your quinoa. Next, simply cook the quinoa according to package directions until nice and fluffy. Quinoa usually takes about 20 minutes to cook, but if you want to pull this salad together even more quickly, you could always opt for a pouch of pre-cooked quinoa or cook your quinoa in advance.

Quinoa is the perfect base for vegetarian salads like this one thanks to its incredible protein content. Combined with the protein in the lentils, it's a filling option for anyone eschewing meat or fish.

Chop the vegetables for your salad

While the quinoa cooks, take the time to prep all those lovely vegetables for this Mediterranean lentil salad recipe! Halve the cherry tomatoes and olives, quarter and dice the cucumbers, and dice the pepper and onion into half-inch squares, placing everything into a large mixing bowl as you go. Keeping all of the veggies about the same size will make for a much prettier salad with a more pleasing texture.

At this time, you can also pick the parsley leaves from the stems and cut them into a lovely chiffonade, and break the feta cheese into even crumbles. Add them to the mixing bowl, too. It's starting to be a real flavor party!

Assemble the Mediterranean lentil salad

Once the quinoa is ready, it's time to assemble and serve this salad. Rinse the quinoa under cold running water, and add it and the rinsed lentils to the mixing bowl. Toss well to combine, and season with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. The finished salad can either be enjoyed immediately or chilled until ready to serve.

Since this salad is so rich in protein, it makes the perfect one-dish main. But it's also a lovely side dish to a summertime cookout, for example, served alongside grilled whole tilapia, grilled veggie skewers, or grilled chicken kabobs. And leftovers make the perfect quick and easy lunch the next day!

Mediterranean Lentil Salad Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
If you're on the lookout for the perfect gluten-free, vegetarian cookout or picnic option, Susan Olayinka has got the recipe for you!
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
5
servings
Mediterranean lentil salad recipe
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup black olives
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • 3 ½ ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cup canned green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin oil
  • ½ lemon
Directions
  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, halve the cherry tomatoes and olives, quarter and dice the cucumber, and dice the onion and pepper into half-inch squares. Place all of the vegetables into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems and chiffonade. Add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Break the feta cheese with your hands so it forms crumbles, then place in the mixing bowl.
  5. Once the quinoa is cooked, rinse and transfer to the mixing bowl along with the rinsed lentils. Mix well to combine.
  6. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon, then mix carefully. Season with salt and serve immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 365
Total Fat 9.3 g
Saturated Fat 3.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 17.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.5 g
Dietary Fiber 8.3 g
Total Sugars 3.7 g
Sodium 535.3 mg
Protein 18.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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