Shake up your traditional salad routine with this Black Lentil Salad; it features aromatic fresh herbs and nutty seeds it is super easy to put together. Packed with flavour, this colourful and nutritious salad is easy to make and packable for picnics and potlucks.
This Black Lentil Salad features a plethora of fresh herbs – fragrant mint, citrusy coriander and aromatic flat-leaf parsley and crunchy vegetables. A perfect match for the rich earthy flavour of the lentils and the nutty seeds.
This salad is perfect for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. The black lentils are full of protein and are a great source of fibre. The Asian herbs add an amazingly fresh, aromatic flavour, and the red cabbage and shredded carrot add a nice crunch.
Why Make This Lentil Recipe?
- Easy - It takes no time at all, and the results are delicious. Perfect for a quick meal or as a side!
- Packable - It is perfect for making ahead and grab-and-go lunches, picnics, and potlucks.
- Nutritious - the lentils are loaded with protein and fibre while the veggies and herbs provide a truckload of nutrients - vitamin K, beta carotene, potassium and antioxidants.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Black Lentils - form the base of this salad, you can either cook your own or use canned black lentils. They may also be swapped for brown or green lentils, but they will take longer to cook.
- Red Cabbage - added for some crunch and for its vibrant purple colour. Swap for any type of cabbage you have on hand, or grated raw beets are also wonderful in this salad.
- Carrot - used for a wonderful colour contrast and to boost the nutrition of this salad, try some grated raw sweet potato instead.
- Green Onions - add a slightly oniony flavour without overpowering the salad; swap for a red onion or yellow or white onion.
- Herbs - we have used fresh mint and coriander/cilantro; you can swap for any other soft herbs - try parsley and dill.
- Sesame Seeds - are used for some added texture and for their nutty flavour.
- Salad Dressing - we have made a simple sesame lime vinaigrette for a more complex Asian flavour; try our Thai Vinaigrette or our Vietnamese dressing.
How to Cook Dry Lentils
Sift through the lentils to remove pebbles or other debris. Discard any lentils that are shrivelled or discoloured.
Place the lentils in a colander and rinse them under cold water; they will be clean when the water runs clear.
SORT THROUGH LENTILS
RINSE IN THE SINK
Transfer the clean lentils to a pot and cover them with water; you will need a hand span of water above the lentils.
Stir in two teaspoons of salt to bring out the earthy flavour of the lentils.
Cover the lentils, but make sure you leave a gap between the lid and the pot; otherwise, they will boil over.
UNTIL WATER RUNS CLEAR
ADD TO A POT WITH WATER & SALT
Bring them to a simmer and cook them over low heat, stirring occasionally, adding more liquid and removing the scum as needed.
Cook the black lentils until they are tender, approximately 20 minutes.
When done, remove them from the stove, drain and rinse them under cold water until they are cool.
REMOVE THE SCUM
DRAIN & RINSE WHEN COOKED
While your black lentils are simmering, you can get on with prepping the remaining ingredients.
Step 1 - Roast Seeds
Preheat your oven to 180C/356F, place your sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown (approximately 10-15 minutes).
PLACE SESAME SEEDS ON A BAKING TRAY
ROAST SESAME SEEDS UNTIL GOLDEN
Step 2 - Chop the Veggies
Remove the outer damaged leaves of your red cabbage, give it a rinse, and remove the core of the cabbage.
Dice the cabbage into small pieces, place it in a colander and wash it under cold running water in the sink.
Wash the carrot, trim it, peel it, and then coarsely grate it using a box grater.
DICE RED CABBAGE
GRATE THE CARROT
Step 3 - Prep the Herbs and Onion
Wash your herbs and green onions, then pat them dry to remove the excess water.
Trim the onions and slice them thinly; cut off the coriander/cilantro stalks and roughly chop.
Strip the mint leaves and roughly chop.
THINLY SLICE GREEN ONION
ROUGHLY CHOP CORIANDER/CILANTRO
STRIP MINT LEAVES FROM STEMS
ROUGHLY CHOP MINT LEAVES
Step 4 - Shake-up Dressing
Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a glass jar. Season and shake until emulsified (well combined).
ADD DRESSING INGREDIENTS TO JAR
SHAKE WELL TO COMBINE
Step 5 - Assemble the Salad
Place all the prepared ingredients and lentils in a large mixing bowl.
Season and pour over the dressing; mix everything until well combined.
Arrange in a salad bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve.
ADD INGREDIENTS TO A BOWL
SEASON AND POUR OVER THE DRESSING
MIX WELL TO COMBINE
ARRANGE IN A SALAD BOWL
This black lentil salad is perfect for a casual meal or picnic!
It makes a great side dish or a gluten-free, vegetarian main course that pairs perfectly with barbecued meats, especially lamb.
Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try it with an Indian curry, grilled salmon, lamb, pork or any poultry. I made this salad to go with my spicy lamb kofta and tzatziki, and it was a hit!
Tips and Questions
What are Black Lentils?
They are sometimes called black beluga lentils because of their resemblance to caviar. They are perfect for salads as they keep their shape when you cook them.
You should be able to find black lentils in large supermarkets with the other beans and legumes. Or, try a Middle Eastern speciality store.
You can substitute with green lentils, but they take longer to cook (up to 30-40 minutes in total).
Can I use brown or green lentils in this recipe?
Yes, you can use either, but they will take longer to cook and may turn mushy if you overcook them.
Can I use canned black lentils for this salad?
Yes, you can; you will need four cups of cooked lentils to make this recipe.
- You can boil the lentils several days in advance and store them covered in your fridge. Take them out when you are ready to assemble the salad and give them a quick rinse.
- You can roast your sesame seeds a week or more in advance. Cool and store them in a sealed container and store in a dark part of your pantry. If you are storing them longer than a week, then keep them in your fridge to prevent rancidity.
- Make the dressing 1-2 days in advance and keep it in a sealed glass container in your fridge.
- This salad is ideal for meal prep for your lunches throughout the week as it keeps well.
You can pop any leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge, and it should last for 4-5 days.
Our Beluga lentil salad is suitable for vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and nut-free. To make it gluten-free, substitute the soy sauce for coconut aminos.
Each serving has 497 calories with a net carb count of 36 grams.
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- 1 ½ cup dried black lentils (300 grams / 10.6 ounces; 4 cups cooked black lentils cooked 600 grams / 21.2 ounces)
- 2 cups red cabbage, chopped (approximately 200 grams / 7 ounces)
- 1 small carrot (approximately 120 grams / 4.2 ounces 1 ½ cup grated)
- 1 bunch coriander ( ½ cups chopped)
- 1 bunch mint (1 cup chopped)
- 2 green onions (½ cup sliced)
- 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted
- Sift through the lentils to remove pebbles or other debris. Discard any lentils that are shrivelled or discoloured.
- Place the lentils in a colander and rinse them under cold water, they will be clean when the water runs clear.
- Transfer the clean lentils to a pot and cover them with water you will need a handspan of water above the lentils.
- Stir in a teaspoon of salt to bring out the earthy flavour of the lentils.
- Cover the lentils, but make sure you leave a gap between the lid and the pot; otherwise, they will boil over.
- Bring them to a simmer and cook them over low heat, stirring occasionally, adding more liquid and removing the scum as needed.
- Cook the black lentils until they are tender, approximately 20 minutes.
- When done, remove them from the stove, drain and rinse them until cold water to cool.
- Preheat your oven to 180C/356F, place your sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown (approximately 10-15 minutes).
- Remove the outer damaged leaves of your red cabbage, give it a rinse, remove the core of the cabbage.
- Dice the cabbage into small pieces, place it in a colander and wash it under cold running water in the sink.
- Wash the carrot, trim it, peel it, then coarsely grate it using a box grater.
- Washyour herbs and green onions, pat them dry to remove the excess water.
- Trim the onions and thinly slice them, cut off the coriander/cilantro stalks and chop roughly.
- Strip the mint leaves and chop roughly.
- Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a glass jar.
- Season and shake until emulsified (well combined).
- Place all the prepared ingredients and lentils in a large mixing bowl.
- Season and pour over the dressing, mix everything until well to combine.
- Arrange in a salad bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve.
- You should be able to find black lentils in large supermarkets in the aisle with the other beans and legumes. Alternatively, try a Middle Eastern speciality store. They can be substituted with Green lentils. Green lentils take longer to cook, (up to 40-60 minutes in total) and require a lot more water to cook (detailed instructions are in the post on how to cook the lentils).
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