This Mediterranean Lentil Salad is an easy and delicious vegetarian entree or side dish with Greek-inspired flavors. It's made with protein-packed lentils, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, feta cheese, and fresh herbs tossed in lemony oregano dressing. There is so much flavor and texture in this balanced, make-ahead salad recipe. It's a must-try if you're a Mediterranean food-lover!
There's nothing better than opening up your fridge and finding this refreshing Mediterranean Lentil Salad all prepped and ready to enjoy.
It's especially delicious on a warm, summer day. But really, this is something you'll love to have on hand any time of the year.
Another perk is this salad works equally well as an entree or side dish. If you're looking for some more Mediterranean-inspired recipes to add to your menu, try Harissa Roasted Carrots & Chickpeas with Pomegranate, Tahini & Dukkah, Baked Falafel Bowls, or Vegan Potato Soup with White Beans.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make this Mediterranean Lentil Salad at home.
For the salad:
- Cooked brown lentils (you can either cook dry lentils ahead of time or purchase them pre-cooked. Look for canned or frozen cooked lentils. You can also sometimes find them in a microwavable pouch.)
- Red bell pepper
- Cherry tomatoes (I like to use multicolor tomatoes)
- Cucumber (I prefer English cucumber)
- Red onion
- Chopped walnuts (optional)
- Chopped kalamata olives (buy pitted olives for convenience)
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh mint
- Fresh dill
- Feta cheese
For the dressing:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice (I like to buy a whole lemon and juice it myself)
- Mustard (I prefer whole grain)
- Dry oregano (find it in the spice section)
See recipe card for quantities.
Before you make this recipe, get started on the prep work.
If you're cooking dry lentils, take care of this step first.
Then, you can chop the veggies while the lentils are simmering. (Use the ingredient photo above as a reference if you're wondering what size to chop all of the vegetables.)
How to Cook Lentils
Rinse and sort one cup of dry lentils and add them to a pot with about 3 ½ cups of water.
Simmer (gently cook) the lentils over low-medium heat for 20 minutes, or until they are as soft as you like. There should be some bubbles while the lentils cook, but the water shouldn't reach a full boil. If the water does start boiling, reduce the heat.
Once the lentils are cooked, drain any excess liquid.
Here's how to make the rest of the salad:
First, mix together the dressing ingredients.
Then, add all of the salad ingredients, except the feta cheese, to a large mixing bowl.
Pour the dressing into the bowl and stir until the salad is evenly coated.
Add the feta cheese and gently toss until mixed.
Hint: I like to buy a block of feta cheese and crumble it myself. This way, you can make the feta pieces extra large and chunky! (Yum.) I also wait until the end to add the feta so it doesn't fall apart.
This lentil salad is naturally vegetarian and gluten-free. But here are a few potential substitutions you can make if you have any other dietary needs or preferences.
- Vegan/Dairy-Free: omit the feta cheese or substitute tofu feta.
- Nut-Free: omit the walnuts or substitute sunflower seeds.
- Oil-Free: substitute an oil-free dressing, such as this lemon-dijon dressing from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken.
One easy way to change up the flavor profile of this recipe is to swap in another dressing or sauce. You can also substitute beans, chickpeas, or pasta for the lentils to give it a different feel. Here are a few ideas:
- Creamy: use Lemon Tahini Dressing or Vegan Green Goddess Dressing instead of the dressing in the recipe.
- Italian: use Walnut Pesto instead of the lemon oregano dressing in the recipe. Substitute fresh mozzarella balls for the crumbled feta and use fresh basil instead of mint.
- Beans/Chickpeas: substitute cooked chickpeas, white cannellini beans, or lima beans for the lentils.
- Pasta Salad: use cooked lentil pasta instead of regular lentils.
You don't need any special equipment to make this recipe. (If you buy pre-cooked lentils, you won't even need to turn on the stove!)
Use a knife and cutting board to chop the veggies and herbs.
I like to mix the salad dressing in a liquid measuring cup, but you can also use a small mixing bowl if that's what you have.
Finally, you'll need a large mixing bowl to toss together the salad. Using a big bowl makes it simple to stir all of the ingredients without any spillover!
This recipe is a great option if you're looking for a Healthy and Easy Vegetarian Lunch for Work.
You can prep the lemon oregano dressing up to two weeks in advance. (So convenient for vegetarian meal prep!) And the lentil salad (fully prepared) will stay fresh in the fridge for about five days.
Store lentil salad in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days.
This recipe tastes best fresh, not frozen. But you can also store it in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to three months if you're in a pinch.
It's easy to customize this lentil salad depending on your taste preferences or what's available at your local store or farmer's market. Feel free to leave out any veggies or herbs you don't like. You can also add more or less dressing. Don't be afraid to make it your own!
Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Feta and Mint
- Knife and cutting board
- liquid measuring cup or a small mixing bowl
- Large mixing bowl
Lemon Oregano Dressing
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 2 ½ cups cooked brown lentils (see note)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- ⅓ cup minced red onion
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- ⅓ cup chopped kalamata olives (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh dill
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Prepare Lemon Oregano Dressing:
- Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper until evenly mixed. Set aside.
Prepare Lentil Salad:
- Stir cooked lentils, bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, walnuts (if using), olives (if using), parsley, mint, and dill.
- Pour dressing over lentil mixture and stir until evenly coated.
- Add feta cheese and gently toss until evenly mixed.