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