Quinoa and Lentil Salad

Quinoa and Lentil Salad is a nutrient-packed dish that offers a perfect blend of textures and flavors. This hearty salad combines the softness of cooked lentils with the slight crunch of quinoa, all tossed together with a variety of fresh vegetables and a zesty dressing. Ideal for health-conscious individuals or anyone looking for a fulfilling meal, this salad serves as a great side dish or a standalone meal, embodying the essence of clean eating with its wholesome ingredients.

Quinoa and Lentil Salad

Selecting the Right Ingredients

For this salad, choosing high-quality ingredients is key to maximizing both nutritional value and taste. Opt for organic quinoa and lentils if possible, as they serve as the foundation of the dish. When it comes to vegetables, fresh, seasonal produce like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and spinach not only add vibrant colors but also enhance the salad with their natural flavors and textures. Incorporating a mix of herbs such as parsley and mint will bring freshness and a burst of flavor to every bite.

Preparing the Quinoa and Lentils

The preparation of quinoa and lentils is straightforward yet crucial for the overall texture of the salad. Rinse the quinoa under cold water to remove its natural coating, saponin, which can give it a bitter taste. Cook it in water or broth until it’s fluffy and the grains have popped open. Lentils, on the other hand, should be cooked until tender but not mushy, ensuring they maintain their shape and add a nice bite to the salad. Both quinoa and lentils should be cooled to room temperature before adding them to the salad.

Quinoa and Lentil Salad

Creating a Flavorful Dressing

A flavorful dressing is what ties all the components of the salad together. A simple yet effective dressing can be made by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. For an added kick, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a pinch of red pepper flakes can be included. Adjust the quantities based on your taste preferences, aiming for a balance between acidity, spice, and richness that complements the natural flavors of the quinoa, lentils, and vegetables.

Assembling the Salad

Assembling the Quinoa and Lentil Salad is an opportunity to get creative with textures and layers. Start by mixing the cooled quinoa and lentils in a large bowl, adding in the chopped vegetables, herbs, and any additional ingredients like feta cheese or avocado for creaminess. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss everything together until well combined. This ensures that each component is evenly coated with the dressing, allowing the flavors to meld beautifully.

Customizing Your Salad

One of the great aspects of Quinoa and Lentil Salad is its versatility. Feel free to customize the salad according to your dietary needs or flavor preferences. Add roasted vegetables, nuts for crunch, or even fruits like pomegranate seeds for a sweet contrast. Whether you’re making a light lunch or a hearty dinner, this salad can be tailored to suit any occasion, making it a reliable and delicious option for any meal.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Quinoa and Lentil Salad can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, making it a versatile addition to any meal. Serve it chilled as a refreshing lunch on a warm day, or at room temperature to bring out the full flavor profile of the ingredients. This salad pairs beautifully with grilled chicken, fish, or tofu for those seeking a protein-rich meal. For a complete vegetarian feast, accompany it with crusty bread and a selection of cheeses. Its robust nature also makes it an excellent potluck dish, as it can stand on its own or complement other dishes on the table.

Health Benefits of Quinoa and Lentil Salad

The health benefits of Quinoa and Lentil Salad are numerous, thanks to its nutrient-dense ingredients. Quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, while lentils are a great source of iron and fiber. Together, they provide a powerful combination that supports muscle growth and digestive health. The addition of fresh vegetables increases the intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, promoting overall well-being. This salad not only satisfies your taste buds but also contributes to a balanced diet.

Storing and Making Ahead

Quinoa and Lentil Salad is an excellent make-ahead option for busy weeks. It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to four days when stored in an airtight container, making it a convenient choice for meal prep. The flavors of the salad often deepen over time, enhancing the overall taste. If planning to serve the salad later, consider adding the dressing and fresh herbs just before serving to maintain their brightness and prevent the salad from becoming soggy.

Incorporating Seasonal Variations

Adapting the Quinoa and Lentil Salad to incorporate seasonal variations keeps the dish exciting and maximizes the use of local, fresh produce. In the summer, add sweet corn, bell peppers, or juicy berries for a refreshing twist. During the fall and winter months, roasted squash, Brussels sprouts, or dried fruits can introduce a warming element. This adaptability not only keeps the salad fitting for any season but also supports sustainable eating habits by utilizing produce at its peak.

Engaging with International Flavors

Exploring international flavors within Quinoa and Lentil Salad can transform it into a culinary journey. For a Mediterranean version, include olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and a sprinkle of za’atar in the dressing. A Middle Eastern take might feature pomegranate molasses and sumac for tanginess and color. Incorporating these global influences into the salad not only broadens the palate but also celebrates the diversity of flavors that can be achieved with simple, nutritious ingredients.

Quinoa and Lentil Salad

FAQs about Quinoa and Lentil Salad

Q1: Can I use canned lentils instead of cooking them from scratch? A1: Yes, you can use canned lentils for convenience. Just rinse and drain them well before adding to the salad to remove any excess sodium.

Q2: How can I make the salad dressing more flavorful? A2: Enhance the dressing by adding fresh herbs, a splash of balsamic vinegar, or a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup for depth and a hint of sweetness.

Q3: Is the salad gluten-free? A3: Quinoa and Lentil Salad is naturally gluten-free, making it a great option for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Always check the labels on packaged ingredients to ensure they haven’t been processed in a facility with gluten-containing products.

Q4: How long does the salad last in the refrigerator? A4: The salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It’s best to add any leafy greens or herbs fresh before serving to maintain their crispness.

Q5: Can I add fruits to the salad? A5: Absolutely! Adding fruits like diced apples, pomegranate seeds, or orange segments can introduce a sweet contrast to the savory flavors of the salad.


Quinoa and Lentil Salad is a versatile, nutritious, and delicious meal that perfectly combines the wholesomeness of grains and legumes with the freshness of vegetables and herbs. Its easy preparation and customizable nature make it a fantastic choice for anyone looking to enjoy a healthy, satisfying dish. Whether you’re preparing a quick lunch, a dinner side, or a dish to share at a gathering, this salad offers a bounty of flavors and textures. By following the tips and variations discussed, you can create a personalized salad that meets your dietary preferences and seasonal availability. Dive into the goodness of Quinoa and Lentil Salad and enjoy a meal that’s as nourishing as it is delightful.

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Quinoa and Lentil Salad

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Diet: Vegan


Quinoa and Lentil Salad is a vibrant, nutritious dish that combines the wholesome goodness of quinoa and lentils with fresh vegetables, all tossed in a zesty homemade dressing. This salad is a powerhouse of protein, fiber, and vitamins, making it a perfect choice for health-conscious individuals or anyone looking for a hearty yet refreshing meal.


For Cooking the Green Lentils:
– 100 grams green lentils (1/2 cup), washed and soaked for 8 to 10 hours or overnight
– 1 teaspoon salt (pink Himalayan salt preferred)
– 475 ml water (2 cups)

For Marinating the Cooked Green Lentils:
– 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (or to taste)
– 1 tablespoon olive oil (organic cold-pressed preferred)

For Cooking the Quinoa:
– 190 grams quinoa (1 cup), washed and soaked for 30 minutes
– 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 135 grams onion (1 cup)
– 200 grams carrots (1 1/2 cups), diced (about 2 medium-sized carrots)
– 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
– 3 tablespoons tomato paste (or to taste)
– 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (not smoked)
– 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
– Salt to taste (approximately 1 1/4 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt)
– 350 ml vegetable broth (low-sodium) (1 1/2 cups)

For Garnish:
– 65 grams red onion (1/2 cup), chopped
– 25 grams parsley (1/2 cup), chopped
– 5 grams mint (1/4 cup, or to taste), chopped
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)


1. Wash and soak the green lentils for 8 to 10 hours or overnight. Once soaked, drain the water and rinse the lentils. Transfer them to a pot, add salt and water. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a vigorous boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked but still hold their shape. Do not overcook; we want firm lentils. Immediately strain the cooked lentils and let them sit in the strainer to remove excess water and cool down.

2. Once the lentils have cooled, add lemon juice, olive oil, and mix well. Allow the lentils to marinate while continuing with the rest of the cooking.

3. In a separate pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and garlic. Sauté until the onions become translucent and the carrots soften slightly.

4. Add tomato paste, paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper (if using), and salt. Stir well to coat the vegetables with the spices.

5. Add the soaked and drained quinoa to the pot and stir to combine with the vegetables and spices.

6. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.

7. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork.

8. Add the marinated lentils to the cooked quinoa and gently mix to combine.

9. In a separate bowl, combine the chopped red onion, parsley, mint, and ground black pepper. This will be used for garnishing the salad.

10. Serve the quinoa and lentil salad in individual bowls or plates, and sprinkle the garnish mixture on top.

11. Enjoy the flavorful and nutritious quinoa and lentil salad!

Note: The calorie count will depend on the specific brands of ingredients used. Please refer to the nutritional information on the packaging of the ingredients for a more accurate calorie count.


  • To enhance flavor, let the salad marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
  • Quinoa and lentils can be cooked in vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Boiling, Tossing
  • Cuisine: International


  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 300mg
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 33g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

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