This easy lentil tabbouleh salad is fantastic for meal prep! The flavors of fresh lemon juice and herbs meld and get better over time.
Lentil tabbouleh is one my favorite easy lunches. It works as a vegan entrée or a flavorful side dish. And it is the ideal meal prep recipe because it can be made on Sunday and still taste great by Wednesday!
This easy lentil salad recipe is inspired by the Middle Eastern salad that is made with bulgur wheat, parsley, mint, tomatoes and a lemon-olive oil dressing. Traditional to Lebanon and Syria, this salad is a staple in those cultures and often served as part of mezze, a selection of small dishes served as appetizers.
This salad can stand on its own for lunch, but sometimes I like to either throw in some extra veggies, such as cucumber and peppers, or serve it with Mediterranean cucumber salad or top it with grilled halloumi cheese.
If serving it as a side dish for a non-vegetarian meal, try it alongside Roasted Salmon with Avocado Salsa or Grilled Chicken Shawarma.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR LENTIL TABBOULEH SALAD:
These are the main ingredients needed for this recipe (affiliate links included)…
- Lentils: I used whole green lentils, but brown lentils work just as well. Both varieties are commonly found in well-stocked grocery stores and health food stores.
- Tomatoes: Use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, and cut them in half. If using regular large tomatoes, such as Roma or beefsteak, I suggest removing the seeds to cut down on the amount of liquid in the salad.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs are key to the flavors in tabbouleh. Use flat-leaf parsley (sometimes labeled as Italian parsley) and fresh mint leaves. See my tutorial on How to Chop Parsley. (Hint: You don’t have to separate the leaves from the stems!)
- Lemon: Fresh lemon juice is key! I use my favorite citrus juicer.
- Garlic: Peel the garlic and grate it in on a microplane/zester.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is a “must” for salad dressings.
- Green onions: Use both the white and green sections of the green onions (scallions).
- Salt and pepper: Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
💙 What’s to love about this vegan lentil salad:
▪️Meal prep perfection! Not only does this salad hold up well in the fridge, but the flavors actually improve. Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Assuming that the tomatoes and herbs were fresh at the onset, the salad should last for 4 to 5 days when store properly.
▪️WFPB-friendly: That’s whole foods plant based-friendly. In other words, it’s vegan and is packed with nutrients, including fiber and lean protein.
▪️Taste: A tangy, garlic-tinted dressing and plenty of fresh herbs is a recipe for a fresh-tasting, flavorful salad.
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How to make lentil tabbouleh:
It may look as though there are a lot of instructions, but I promise that this salad is a breeze to make!
- First, place the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse them well. Pick out and discard any debris or rocks.
- Combine the lentils, bay leaf (adds great flavor!) and water in a medium saucepan. Unlike when cooking rice or quinoa, the amount of water doesn’t need to be exact. For 1 cup of dry lentils, I typically use about 3 cups of water, then pour off any excess water after cooking.
- Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat so that the water is simmering. Cover the pot and cook until the lentils are tender. For green lentils, cooking time is 17-20 minutes. For brown lentils, increase the time to 30 minutes.
- IMPORTANT! Take care not to overcook the lentils. They can become mushy in the blink of an eye. I prefer my lentils to be tender, with a little bit of “bite” (firmness) to them.
- Drain any excess water off of the lentils, then transfer them to a serving bowl. Pop the lentils into the fridge to cool them down before adding the other ingredients.
- Stir the tomatoes, parsley, mint and green onions into the lentils.
- In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, grated garlic, salt and black pepper. Stir the dressing into the lentil salad and toss well to combine.
- DO NOT SKIP! Letting the salad rest in the fridge is mandatory (so bossy, I know). But seriously, the flavors get better and better, and the dressing mellows as the salad rests. Two hours is the bare minimum, but I highly recommend refrigerating the salad overnight before serving the salad.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes! In fact, this salad should be assembled at least 2 hours – though preferably overnight – before serving. The flavors meld and mellow over time.
When store properly in an airtight container, such as these glass ones, this lentil salad should last for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to start with fresh (not mushy) tomatoes and fresh (not browned or shriveled) herbs.
cucumber, minced red onion or diced bell peppers (or roasted peppers). Chickpeas are also a good, if very non-traditional, option if you want to increase the protein grams.
Lentil Tabbouleh Recipe
- 1 cup dry lentils green or brown (See Note 1)
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley minced (See Note 2)
- 10 mint leaves thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic grated on microplane/zester
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve, picking out any debris or small rocks.
- Combine the lentils, about 3 cups of water (doesn’t need to be exact) and the bay leaf in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the saucepan and cook until the lentils are tender (but not mushy), 17-20 minutes for green lentils. Drain any excess water.
- Transfer the cooked and drained lentils to a serving bowl and cool to room temperature. Pop them into the refrigerator to speed up the process.
- Stir the tomatoes, green onions, mint leaves and parsley into the lentils.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, grated garlic, salt and pepper. Add to the lentil salad and toss to combine thoroughly.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
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