Healthy and tasty, this Green Lentil Tabbouleh Salad is a nutrient-packed recipe that makes a great lunch or side dish.
It is naturally vegan, gluten free, and high in protein. Fresh parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato, and lemon juice give this salad a ton of flavor.
A little while ago I posed my recipe for the Kamut Tabbouleh Salad and I've been loving all the flavors of that beautiful salad.
So here I am with another twist on the classic tabbouleh salad, this time made with Green Lentils!
Related recipe: Couscous Tabbouleh
What is tabbouleh??
Tabbouleh salad (also spelled Tabouli sometimes) is a traditional Lebanese/Middle Eastern salad, typically made with bulgur wheat. Its flavors come from LOTS of fresh herbs and a deliciously light lemon juice and olive oil dressing. You can ready more about the History of Tabbouleh on the Culture Trip.
In this lentil tabbouleh recipe I took all the classic flavors of the tabbouleh salad and combined it with nutrient-packed green lentils.
Related recipe: Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
Green lentils in a salad
So what you get is a very tasty, flavorful, healthy salad that makes a great side dish or lunch.
My lentil tabbouleh salad is naturally gluten free and vegan. And it is packed with protein and fiber thanks to the green lentils, which, by the way, are the most fiber-rich lentils out there.
I love using green lentils for salads because they don't get mushy and fall apart like other lentils. This is because green lentils are typically whole and take a bit longer to cook, about 15-20 minutes. Don't ask my why that is, but I am glad that they work this way!
Related recipe: Red Lentils with Poached Eggs
A great lunch option
This lentil tabbouleh salad is great for a summer lunch when you don't want to eat hot food. It also tastes GREAT as leftovers the next day because the lentils get to marinate a bit in the light lemony dressing and taste even better!
This salad makes a great packed lunch because it doesn't need to be reheated and travels well in a lunch bag.
Related recipe: Smashed Za'atar Chickpeas on Pita
A few tips for how to make the BEST Green Lentil Tabbouleh Salad:
- You'll want to season the lentils with salt towards the end of their cooking time. If you add salt to the water right away, the lentils come out tough and feel like they are never quite cooked. Then you'll be tempted to cook them longer and you might overcook them by accident.
- Save time by prepping all the veggies and fresh herbs while the green lentils are cooking.
- For the most FLAVORFUL salad, you'll want to scoop out the cucumber seeds and discard them. You'll also want to drain the chopped tomatoes to get the extra juices out. This way the extra liquid from the cucumber and tomatoes will not dilute the flavor of the lemony salad dressing, and the lemon & olive oil salad dressing will stick to the cooked lentils for maximum flavor.
- Zest the lemon before juicing it!! I've forgotten this before and let me tell you, it sucks to zest a lemon that's already been juiced.
- I love to marinate chopped onions in lemon juice for a few minutes as I prepare salads like this. I feel like this reduces their sharpness a bit and adds more flavor throughout the whole salad.
- Yes, this recipe uses a LOT of fresh herbs! That's the whole point of this salad! If you don't have mint on hand, you can skip it. But if you do have mint, don't be afraid to add it. The mint won't make your salad taste like toothpaste, it will just lend a nice fresh flavor to the whole salad.
Related recipe: Moroccan Lentil Vegetable Soup
What kitchen stuff will I need to make this salad?
Besides the obvious, such as the ingredients, a small/medium soup pan, and a large bowl, you'll need a lemon juicer, zester, and small colander for this recipe.
And this is the small colander/strainer that is perfect for draining the tomatoes. It's optional to strain the tomatoes, but it does make the salad just a little bit better because the tomato juices don't dilute the lemon dressing and the lentils take on all that wonderful fresh lemony flavor.
This type of colander works much better than most plastic ones because it has mesh holes all over and doesn't keep the juices trapped at the bottom.
So I hope you get to make this salad. I love that it is so healthy but tasty at the same time, so you really don't feel like it's a chore to eat it... because let's face it, sometimes we eat salads because we have to, not because we want to.
You might also enjoy these nutritious recipes:
- Lentil butternut squash soup
- Chickpea sweet potato burgers with feta and sriracha
- Coleslaw orzo salad
- White Bean Shakshuka with Feta
Green Lentil Tabbouleh Salad
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 yellow or red onion , finely diced
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
- 1 large tomato (or 2 plum tomatoes)
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves , finely diced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves , finely diced (optional)
- Salt & pepper , to taste
- Cook lentils in water or vegetable stock, according to the package instructions: In a small saucepan, bring the lentils and water/stock to a boil. Cover and lower the heat, and continue to cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked to your liking. Add more water if the liquid is absorbed but the lentils are still not cooked. Stir in salt, remove from heat and allow to cool before combining with the rest of the ingredients.
- While the lentils are cooking and cooling, prepare the tabbouleh salad: In a large bowl, combine the diced onion and lemon juice, stir, and allow to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and set in a colander to let the juices drain out. Slice the cucumber lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Chop the cucumber into small pieces. Finely chop the fresh parsley and mint.
- Combine all the salad ingredients: Add the cooked lentils, chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, lemon zest, fresh herbs, and olive oil to the bowl with the onion and lemon juice. Stir well, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
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