The Mediterranean Diet is one of the world’s best overall diets due to its strong emphasis on whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil. Perfect as a side dish or a main meal, this colorful and simple Mediterranean lentil salad with roasted red peppers is packed with flavor and nutrients!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
Before cooking, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for the Best Lentil Salad Recipe
Lentils cook quickly and do not require pre-soaking like beans do. Cook lentils until al dente – tender with a slight bite.
Do not add salt to the cooking water; it can make the lentils tough. Instead, salt to taste once lentils are cooked but still warm.
To roast a fresh red bell pepper:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place red bell pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Roast, turning occasionally, until the pepper skin blisters on all sides, about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and wrap the foil around the pepper to generate steam. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Remove skin and seeds from bell pepper and dice.
- Green Lentils: substitute brown or black lentils. Do not substitute red lentils, as these do not hold their shape well. To shorten cooing time, substitute canned lentils.
- Roasted Red Bell Pepper: use jarred, store bought roasted bell pepper if you don’t have time to roast yourself.
- Red Onion: can substitute shallot, although the flavor will vary slightly.
- Parsley: can substitute chopped fresh basil or dill.
- Red Wine Vinaigrette: substitute balsamic vinaigrette to make a balsamic lentil salad. If using a store bought vinaigrette, choose varieites with ingredients that you can see, recognize, and pronounce.
Download our FREE Ingredient Guide for more in-depth guidance.
This lentil salad recipe can easily be adjusted to your taste preferences!
Want more of a creamy taste and texture? Serve as a warm or cold lentil salad with feta.
Want to make a Greek lentil salad? Add crumbled feta cheese, diced cucumber, and sliced kalamata olives.
Feel free to add your favorite spice blends to the vinaigrette to mix up the flavor profile. A Moroccan lentil salad variation would be delicious!
Use these pieces of essential kitchen equipment for culinary success:
Health Benefits of Mediterranean Lentil Salad
This lentil salad is packed with nutrient dense ingredients that are iconic in the Mediterranean diet. The featured ingredients in this lentil salad recipe are lentils, fresh vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil.
Legumes and beans are a major component of the Mediterranean diet. (1) Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and are also high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Fiber is important for digestion, gut health, stable blood sugar, healthy cholesterol, and cancer prevention. (2)
Vegetables are a great source of fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Different colored vegetables provide different nutrients, so consuming a variety of colors is best. (3) This recipe features red bell peppers, carrots, celery, red onions, and parsley – a colorful combo! Feel free to add other seasonal vegetables of your choice.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is also a key component of the Mediterranean Diet. It contains high amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols which may reduce inflammation. Certain nutrients require fat for absorption; using an olive oil-based dressing on this Mediterranean lentil salad can help you get the most nutritional bang for your buck. (4, 5)
Serving Suggestions for this Easy Lentil Salad
Enjoy as either a warm or cold lentil salad. Serve with a whole grain such as quinoa or rice to make a complete meal.
Serve as a protein packed roasted vegetable salad along with roasted fish for a balanced Mediterranean dish. For an even easier protein addition, mix in some canned salmon or tuna!
How to Store Lentil Salad
Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. In fact, this Mediterranean lentil salad tastes even better the next day once all of the flavors meld together! The parsley may begin to dull after a few days, but that’s okay – the dish will still taste great!
Want more Mediterranean-inspired recipes?
Try out these favorites!
Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
- 1 cup green lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced (see below)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- ½ cup diced celery
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- ½ cup homemade or store-bought red wine vinaigrette
- Rinse and drain lentils. Place lentils, water, and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 25 minutes or until lentils are soft but not mushy.
- Remove the bay leaf, drain the lentils, and place them in a medium bowl while still warm. Add salt and gently fold.
- Add the diced roasted red bell pepper, carrots, celery, onions, parsley, and vinaigrette. Using a spatula, gently fold until well-combined. Enjoy warm or cold!