This balsamic lentil salad combines nutritious lentils with fresh vegetables, crumbled feta cheese, and the most delicious balsamic vinaigrette. The salad is great as a quick lunch or a healthy weeknight dinner as it is ready in only 20 minutes. Plus, it is absolutely fuss-free and always tastes amazing.
Preparing a salad for lunch is one of the best ways to incorporate more healthy foods into your diet. If you prepare your salad the right way, it is filled with nutritious ingredients, keeps you full for a long time, and is super delicious. This balsamic lentil salad checks all of these boxes. It is a favorite of mine and is absolutely amazing for keeping you well-nourished, satiated, and satisfied! The best of all: it is super easy to make and always turns out amazing.
Balsamic Lentil Salad Ingredients
The main ingredients for this salad are lentils, veggies, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Here is what you’ll need:
- Lentils. Both green and brown lentils work well with this recipe. The cook time depends on the type of lentils you are using, so check the package and make sure you don’t overcook them.
- Vegetables. Baby spinach, cucumber, and red onion are used in this recipe. Feel free to add extra veggies if you want to.
- Feta cheese.
- Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. The sun-dried tomatoes probably are my favorite ingredient in this salad. They taste amazing and are great for making any salad extra delicious.
- Fresh basil. I highly recommend using fresh basil, but you can substitute it with dried basil.
- Walnuts. Walnuts make any salad better. They give some crunch and are a super healthy addition.
- Homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing for this balsamic lentil salad is made with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard. I add it to a lot of my salads as it is super delicious and very easy to whip up.
How to make this balsamic lentil salad
Preparing this lentil salad is super easy. Just follow these steps:
- Cook the lentils. Rinse the lentils, add them to a pot of water, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot and let the lentils simmer. The lentils probably need around 20 minutes to cook. Make sure you check the cooking time on the package and check on the lentils while they are cooking as they can go from perfectly tender to mushy in a matter of minutes.
- Prepare the salad ingredients and vinaigrette. Simply chop the salad ingredients and prepare the balsamic vinaigrette in a small bowl or jar.
- Combine. When the lentils are cool, add them to a large bowl with the salad ingredients and the vinaigrette. Mix everything and add more salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!
There are some ways to modify this recipe according to your taste or diet. Here are some ideas:
- Make it vegan: Just skip the feta cheese to make this lentil salad vegan.
- Herbs: I love to use fresh basil, but you can use other herbs if you want to. You could also use dried herbs instead of fresh herbs. Let me know in the comments what herbs you love with this salad!
- Nuts: If you have a bit more time, you could toast pine nuts and use them instead of walnuts. They pair perfectly with this balsamic lentil salad.
Tips for Serving
This balsamic lentil salad is very satiating and has lots of flavor, so you can enjoy it as a main dish. But feel free to combine it with your favorite sides. Here are some ideas:
- Bread: Bread and salad simply belong together! So serve your favorite bread with this delicious lentil salad.
- Chicken: If you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, you could serve this salad with baked chicken breast or thighs. I love this combination for some added flavor and protein.
- Salmon: Another option is serving this salad with baked or pan-seared salmon.
More delicious salad recipes
If you love a big bowl of salad for lunch or dinner, try one of these recipes. They are all super easy to prepare and delish!
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Kisir (Turkish Bulgur Salad)
- Pesto Spaghetti Salad
- Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
- Mediterranean Potato Salad
Balsamic Lentil Salad
- 1 cup lentils uncooked
- 2 handfuls baby spinach chopped
- ½ cucumber diced
- ½ red onion finely diced
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
- 2 tablespoon walnuts chopped
- 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the lentils according to package instructions until tender. Don't overcook, as they get mushy very quickly!
- While the lentils cook, prepare the salad ingredients and the dressing. Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl and prepare the dressing in a small bowl or jar.
- When the lentils are cooked, let them cool. Then, add the lentils and the dressing to the salad ingredients and mix everything. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
- I recommend using fresh basil for this salad, but you can use dried basil instead. Substitute 2 tablespoon fresh basil with 1.5 tablespoon dried basil.
- If you don't like walnuts, substitute them with your favorite nuts.
- To make this salad vegan, skip the feta cheese or use plant-based (feta) cheese.