Make the most of tomatoes and cucumbers in this Summer Lentil Salad! It pairs nicely with anything grilled and is a wonderful vegetarian main dish, as well.

Summer Lentil Salad

Make the most of tomatoes and cucumbers in this Summer Lentil Salad! It pairs nicely with anything grilled and is a wonderful vegetarian main dish, as well.
Summer Lentil Salad

Make the most of heirloom tomatoes and cool, crunchy cucumbers in this Summer Lentil Salad. It pairs beautifully with a flavorful roast chicken, grilled steak, simple fish – almost anything! And of course, with hearty lentils, it is wonderful as a vegetarian main dish, as well.

Make the most of tomatoes and cucumbers in this Summer Lentil Salad! It pairs nicely with anything grilled and is a wonderful vegetarian main dish, as well.

In the days that follow the July 4th holiday, the sweltering summer days beg for something cool and refreshing, and our over-indulged stomachs yearn for something light and crunchy. The weekend marathon of grilling mountains of meats, the helpings of pie, and the many glasses of wine come to a much needed end. It is time to focus on eating cleanly again.

Lentils combine with summer ingredients for a healthy salad.

Lentils are delicious in the summer in a Summer Lentil Salad

To focus on true summer tastes. To appreciate the sweetness and unique beauty of that heirloom tomato. The cool, refreshing crunch of a cucumber.

Salads don't get any easier than this. A Summer Lentil Salad that is a delicious side dish doubles as a vegetarian main dish for when you need to eat light.

This Summer Lentil Salad has everything I could want in a salad: the crunch of the cucumber, the bursts of sweetness from the tomato, tangy nuggets of crumbled feta cheese, and the refreshing zing of mint. Supporting these flavors are tiny bites of lentils, dressed in a perfect white balsamic dressing. This salad compliments so many main dishes, but to be honest, one bowlful is so wholesome and perfect for a lunch…all by itself.

This Summer Lentil Salad is so versatile -- it pairs so well with anything off the grill, but is also a wholesome lunch, all on its own.

Note: This recipe first appeared July 8, 2011. The recipe has been updated from the archives with updated photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

Summer Lentil Salad

Serves 4 | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 5 minutes

Make the most of those beautiful heirloom tomatoes and cool cucumbers in this very summery salad. It pairs beautifully with a flavorful roast chicken, grilled steak, simple fish – almost anything! And of course, it is wonderful as a vegetarian main dish as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed English cucumber
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 fresh mint leaves, minced
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together the white balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. Whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the scallions. Set the dressing aside. Whisk once more before using.

In a medium bowl, combine the lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, shallot, feta cheese, cilantro, and mint. Toss with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Comments

  1. Mdivani

    Mmmmmmm lentils! I looooooove lentils and this recipe sounds incredible. And just in time for the weekend!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Mdivani, I did think of you when I ate this salad – it’s right up your alley :)

  2. norma

    I can have lentils every day. This salad is so homey and refreshing especially additing the cucumbes and mint…I would also have a glass of wine:p

    Reply
    • Liren

      LOL, then I will have to pour you a glass of wine to go with this salad, Norma. Cheers :)

    • Liren

      I agree! I love beans and chickpeas, too, but I love using lentils in salads too. They often get overlooked, don’t they?

  3. Marvin

    I can see how this could be both light and filling with the lentils. Great looking salad.

    Reply
  4. Isabelle @ Crumb

    It’s been pretty hot and muggy lately, so this salad sounds positively divine right now… so fresh and crisp. It kind of reminds me of some of the salads I had when I was in Israel last year, with all those cucumbers and tomatoes and cheese.
    In fact, I think I might to make this on the weekend, considering we have vegetarian friends coming over for dinner! :)

    Reply
    • Liren

      Yes! I put some in some pita bread today and it reminded me of a deconstructed falafel of sorts! Hope you and your friends enjoy :)

  5. olivia

    This is SO ‘what’s for dinner’ tonight. Can you tell me though (silly question): what is your best method for cooking lentils?

    Reply
    • Liren

      Isn’t it, Olivia? I just had another bowlful for lunch. And not a silly question! So, if you have time to go to TJ’s, you can use their cooked lentils in the refrigerated section. If not, then I would soak the lentils in hot water for about 15 minutes, then let them come to a boil in a large pot of water. No need to worry about flavoring the water since you will dress it with the balsamic dressing later. The timing will depend on your lentils, but between 45 mins to an hour later, your lentils should be good to go. Just drain and let them cool!

  6. Annapet

    I’m with you with clean-eating, Liren! I for one can eat all the meat I cure and all the sweets I bake.

    I’ve never cooked lentils and thanks for the tip that it’s like cooking mung beans! thank you for sharing this!

    Reply
  7. Jeannette

    Perfect timing! I’ve been looking for alternatives to mixed greens and cabbage salads. I also recently discovered English cucumbers at my local grocer, and may never go back to regular cukes. ;) Have a good weekend!

    Reply
  8. Ann

    It looks absolutely delicious! The tomatoes *sigh* beautiful! I agree – a perfect dish after an indulgent week!

    Reply
  9. trisa

    I’m at TJ’s now getting the ingredients! Thanks for the yummy recipe!

    Reply
  10. Chef Dennis

    what a perfect salad! I think I could even get my wife to eat lentils this way!! I love those sweet little tomatoes, and the feta really adds to the salad, I do love the tang of feta.
    Hope your summer is going well!

    Reply
  11. Monet

    I’ve become addicted to those heirloom cherry tomatoes. I’m buying a pint every other day. I’m glad to have another recipe that utilizes them :-) Thank you for sharing your creative self with me today. I hope you are having a happy weekend. Mine just got a bit brighter. Hugs and love from Austin!

    Reply
  12. trisa

    Liren, its delicious! I’m having it now as my dinner and am already looking forward to lunch tomorrow. I picked up the mini heirloom tomatoes at TJs too. Thanks again

    Reply
    • Liren

      SO happy to hear you liked it! I had you in mind when I made it this week :) TJ’s rocks, doesn’t it?

  13. trisa

    I’m making this for our end of summer block party tomorrow! Thanks again – love it

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      This heat is something, isn’t it, Laura? Hope you are staying cool! Wish I could bring some salad over!

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