A classic Middle Eastern salad gets an all-new, healthy upgrade with this delicious Lentil Tabbouleh! Swap bulgur for lentils for a tasty twist that's sure to satisfy. Perfect for picnics, BBQs or potlucks, this salad is sure to be a hit!
Tabbouleh is a classic Middle Eastern salad, typically made with bulgur wheat (which of course is not gluten-free). But this lentil-based tabbouleh recipe is just as delicious and offers a guilt-free alternative.
The star of this dish is the lentils, they are an amazing source of dietary fibre and protein, so you’ll be giving your body a major nutritional boost by incorporating them into your meals.
For a traditional tabbouleh recipe, try our Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad; if you are looking for a low-carb recipe, try our Cauliflower Tabbouleh or for something a bit different, try our Herb Tabbouleh.
Why Make This Lentil Recipe?
- You will love the nutty, earthy flavours the lentils bring to this classic Levantine salad.
- It is a healthy spin on the classic tabbouleh salad, as lentils are nutritious, vegan and gluten-free.
- It is a great salad to make ahead as it keeps well, and it is perfect for packed lunches or to add to Budha bowls.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Lentils - we used dried French lentils for this recipe, but you may also use brown lentils or green lentils. If you are in a hurry canned lentils are ideal; rinse them well under cold water and allow them to marinate with the oil, lemon juice and cumin; otherwise, they are a bit meh!
- Fresh Parsley - we used flat-leaf parsley because of its robust flavour; you may also use curly parsley.
- Fresh Mint Leaves - we love the wonderful fresh aroma mint adds to the salad; if you don't have any, just add some more chopped parsley.
- Green onion - the girls don't like onions, unfortunately, so we only add two, but you can also use 4-5. You could also swap for some white, yellow or even red onion for a pop of colour.
- Tomatoes - we used cherry and mini tomatoes from the garden, but you may also use diced up regular tomatoes.
- The dressing - we use good quality extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice; avoid the bottled ones. We also added a teaspoon of cumin to boost the flavour.
- Consider Adding - some diced cucumbers for some added crunch, some crumbled feta for tangy creaminess or some chilli flakes for heat.
💡 TOP TIP
Add a bay leaf to the lentils while you are cooking them;
it will give this salad a flavour boost!
Step 1 - Cook the Dry Lentils
Sort through the lentils to discard any shrivelled or discoloured ones. Give them a good rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
Now, place the clean lentils into a pot and cover them with about a hand-span of water. Add a teaspoon of salt to bring out their earthy flavour. Cover the pot, but make sure to leave a gap, so it doesn't boil over.
Let the lentils simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally. If needed, add more liquid and remove the scum. Cook them until they are tender, approximately 30 minutes. Don't overdo it, though, as they will turn mushy.
When done, remove them from the heat, drain in a colander and rinse them with cold water to cool them.
SORT THROUGH LENTILS
RINSE IN THE SINK
UNTIL WATER RUNS CLEAR
ADD TO A POT WITH WATER & SALT
REMOVE THE SCUM
DRAIN & RINSE WHEN COOKED
Step 2 - Prepare the Greens and Tomatoes.
Get a large bowl out – this is where you'll add all the ingredients as you prepare them!
Start prepping the herbs and green onions: wash them, dry them (a salad spinner comes in handy here).
Then finely chop the parsley leaves with a sharp knife.
Trim the onions and slice them thinly. Make sure the mint is thoroughly dry – it discolours easily. Strip the leaves from the stems and tear any large leaves in half.
Oh, and don't forget to save the parsley and mint stems – either freeze them for future stocks and soups or blitz them into parsley oil, pesto, or sauce.
Finally, rinse the tomatoes and slice them in half. Now you're ready to mix it all together!
CUT OFF PARSLEY STEMS
STRIP MINT LEAVES FROM STEMS
TEAR THE LARGE ONES IN HALF
SLICE THE GREEN ONIONS
SLICE CHERRY TOMATOES IN HALF
Step 3 - Assemble Your Lentil Salad
Add the cooked lentils to the bowl with the fresh herbs and tomatoes, add the olive oil, lemon juice and cumin.
Season and toss well to combine. Arrange in a salad bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve; this will allow the flavours to meld together.
ADD EVERYTHING TO A BOWL
ADD THE LEMON JUICE, OIL AND CUMIN
MIX UNTIL WELL COMBINED
ARRANGE IN A SALAD BOWL
This lentil tabbouleh recipe is full of fresh flavour and makes a wonderful light lunch or dinner on its own.
It pairs well with other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes such as lamb koftas, falafel, steak kebabs or Greek lemon chicken or with casseroles such as a Greek beef stew.
It is also great to serve as part of a mezze platter alongside other middle eastern favourites such as baba ganoush or hummus.
Another great salad to make for barbecues and potlucks, it pairs well with grilled meats and travels well.
Tips and Questions
What are the best lentils to use for salads?
Green, puy lentils, brown, or black lentils are the best option. Red lentils, on the other hand, are best saved for soups, dals, and curries since they'll become mushy quickly.
Can I make lentil tabbouleh ahead?
Absolutely, this is a great salad to make several hours in advance or even the day before you plan on serving it. Just bring it to room temperature before serving.
Is Lentil Tabbouleh healthy?
Packed to the brim with antioxidants, protein, and fibre, this salad is like a superfood as it's loaded with health-boosting benefits.
Lentils are low in sodium and saturated fat but high in beneficial nutrients - like potassium, fibre, folate, and plant chemicals called polyphenols that have antioxidant activity. So a great choice for health-conscious eaters!
What to do with leftover tabbouleh?
Pop it in an airtight container in the fridge, and it should keep for 4-5 days.
This tabbouleh salad recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan and vegetarian dieters.
You can swap the lentils for riced cauliflower to make it suitable for keto, low-carb, paleo and whole30 eaters - as we did in our cauliflower tabbouleh.
Each serving contains 304 calories with a net carb count of 14 grams.
Please note that nutritional information is provided as a courtesy using a nutritional
database and should only be considered an estimate.
- Salad Spinner
- 1 cup dried lentils (200 grams / 7oz), approximately 2 cups cooked)
- 2 punnets cherry tomatoes (approximately 500 grams / 17.6oz)
- 1 bunch parsley (1 ½ cups chopped leaves)
- 1 bunch mint (1 cup chopped leaves)
- 2 green onions (½ cup sliced)
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder, ground
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
- First, sort through and discard any shrivelled or discoloured lentils, then rinse the remaining lentils under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Place them in a pot, cover them with a hand-span of water, and add a teaspoon of salt.
- Simmer the lentils on low heat, stirring occasionally, and add more liquid or remove scum if needed. Cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, approximately 30 minutes.
- When done, remove them from the heat and then rinse them with cold water until cool.
- Grab a large bowl to add the ingredients as you prep them.
- Start by washing and drying the herbs and green onions (a salad spinner comes in handy here)
- Chop parsley leaves finely with a sharp knife, trim the onions and slice them thinly,
- Thoroughly dry the mint, stripping the leaves from the stems and tearing any large leaves in half. Rinse and slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Then, add the cooked lentils to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients, and mix it all together with olive oil, lemon juice and cumin. Finally, season and toss well to combine, arrange in a salad bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve
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