Summer Lentils ♥ A Great Summer Salad Recipe | A Veggie Venture: Summer Lentils ♥ A Great Summer Salad Recipe

Summer Lentils ♥ A Great Summer Salad Recipe

Summer Lentils, lots of vegetables stirred into moist and meaty lentils.
A hearty lentil salad that's so packed with vegetables it might even be called the 'Great Big Vegetable Salad with a Few Lentils Thrown In Just for Fun'. Great crunch. No mayonnaise so perfect for picnics and outdoor meals. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point.

~recipe & photo updated & republished 2009~
~more recently updated recipes~

2006: As happens on the first day the air conditioning gets turned on, it was just too hot to cook. So I scrapped the suddenly wintry-sounding supper plan and turned instead to a summery lentil salad. The inspiring recipe is one I've had my eye on during a three-year love affair with French Food at Home by Laura Calder, a seasonal, accessible and adaptable cookbook.

My version of Summer Lentils is both lightened and "vegged up" — I just kept chopping vegetables until the lentils were done! With lots of crunch and flavor, it makes for a satisfying meatless entree. But it makes a good side salad, too – at home but also at potlucks and outdoor celebrations since it has no mayonnaise. Better yet, it's definitely a 'concept recipe' — use the vegetables you happen to have on hand.

2009: Turns out, this is one of a handful of recipes that I make again and again, it's a great whole-grain salad, a combination of meaty lentils and chopped vegetables. Tis a winner!

"I like it without the feta, but love it with. Husband likes it too." ~ Anonymous
"I ... love the crunch of all the different veggies with the creaminess of the cooked lentils." ~ BellePlaine
"I made this salad to take to a backyard party and it was a big hit. Delicious!" ~ Anonymous


Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Makes 6 cups

1 cup 'meaty' lentils such as French green lentils (lentilles du Puy) or black lentils (see ALANNA'S TIPS)
1 1/2 cups unsalted water

4 tablespoons good vinegar, balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons good mustard such as Dijon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Generous salt & pepper

2 shallots, minced (or chopped onion or chopped green onion)
2 carrots, diced (or grated for less crunch, my preference)
1 bell pepper, diced (try yellow or green for color contrast)
8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
3 ribs celery, diced
8 ounces radishes, sliced thin and quartered
2 ounces drained capers
Chopped chive or fresh basil or fresh dill

4 ounces crumbled feta, optional but especially good if using as an entrée

LENTILS Rinse the lentils. Place lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer til cooked. Drain if needed and return to the hot pan.

DRESSING Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Stir into the hot lentils.

VEGGIES Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and collect in a large bowl. Stir in the lentils and cool to room temperature for an hour or so. Just before serving, stir in the feta.

This recipe was originally published in 2006 and is republished in 2009 with new photos and notes. When first published, the recipe won first prize in a lentil recipe contest from a blog called Something in Season that sadly no longer exists. When I remade the salad for a Memorial Day picnic, I fell in love with the salad all over again, it's a real winner.
I love the meaty black lentils from Trader Joe's, they're less expensive than the French lentils. UPDATE: A reader reported being unable to find black lentils at Trader Joe's. When I checked, no luck here in St. Louis either. The store manager said that black lentils are shown as a "future" item - this may mean that they're seasonal, only sold in the winter. If so, stock up!
Organic puy de lentilles are selling in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods right now for $3 a pound.
I've never used the softer brown lentils or red lentils in this salad, they would work fine but the texture would be different.

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That lentil salad looks incredible. So refreshing! Thank you for sharing.

That is one hot looking lentil salad! I love the sound of this and it looks so cheerful! Awesome!

"Concept recipe" I love that idea.
I am always looking for lentil ideas, I just love everything about them.
This salad looks beautiful!!

I just ate this for lunch! Again. Made it Saturday; it makes a lot and it is beautiful. I used black Beluga lentils, which are small but good. Used 3 T. of unseasoned rice vinegar, and 1 T. of a good balsamic vinegar. Would like a little more sharpness, so next time will use regular white vinegar & no balsamic. I like it without the feta, but love it with. Husband likes it too.

Yay! Thanks for taking a moment to report in. I do love this salad, in fact, hmmm, maybe it's what I'll take to a potluck in two weeks. If so, thank you for the inspiration / reminder! ~ AK

I made this and love the crunch of all the different veggies with the creaminess of the cooked lentils. Pouring the dressing on the hot lentils really makes them absorb the flavor. Yum! This dish tastes best at room temp, but is good cold, too. I made it with 1.5 oz. of feta to keep the calorie count down, but had some on the side for others to add as they wished.

mmm, lentil salad sounds so good right now!!

This looks amazing! I can't wait to make it for dinner tomorrow night.

I went to Trader Joe's to look for the black lentils you mentioned, but all they had were precooked lentils. Ever made this recipe with those? And if so, how much did you use?

I've got a packet of black beluga lentils - I bet the salad would work well with these, too. I've always associated lentils with wintry stews, but you've proved me rather wrong with this pretty salad, Alanna :)

I can myself making salads like this in the summer. Lentils are under-rated, healthy and delish.

Catholic Bibliophagist ~ Oh no, I'm so sorry you didn't find the lentils -- and do so hope that Trader Joe's still carries them as they are definitely a pantry staple at my house.

As for cooked lentils, lentils double while cooking so a couple of cups should do it. But really, add as many as feels right. You might also let the lentils soak in that vinaigrette for awhile, as they really soak it up when they're combined when the lentils are hot. I might even feel tempted to warm the vinaigrette, I think it 'might' have the same effect.

Good luck!

This would make a great picnic dish, on its own or as a side for grilled chicken or fish. I'm bookmarking.

that is SO colorful and summery :)

I've been wondering where to find black lentils around here. Thanks for the tip about Trader Joe's!

That lentil salad looks so fresh and tasty! You should also try this yummu recipe for Lentil Polow with Apricots, Cherries and Pistachios - it's full of protein (and flavor!) and is a perfect dish for the Spring! Enjoy!

This is one of my favorite summertime meals. I love it.

As a vegetarian, I am always on the lookout for fresh recipes and this looks absolutely delish!! Thanks for sharing!

Summer lentils is a great title, this dish just screams "eat me in the sunshine!" It looks so delicious, I'll have to try it!

That looks really good. I have a recipe for a lentil and potato salad from Marie Simmon's "Fresh & Fast" and I think some mustard might be exactly what it needs to take it from "pretty good" to "Great!"


looks mighty tasty! A must make! love veggie salads.. sooo healthy and delish :)

The lentil salad sounds great, we eat a lot of lentils and it is always good to find new recipes.
Thank You

I got my black lentils at Whole Foods. I made this salad to take to a backyard party and it was a big hit. Delicious!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna