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Green Lentil Tabbouleh Salad

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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. 

Green lentil tabbouleh salad

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!

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!

Green lentil tabbouleh salad

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.

Green lentil tabbouleh 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.

Using a fresh lemon instead of store-bought lemon juice will make this salad taste mush fresher and brighter. This is the citrus juicer and zester I have.

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:

Green lentil tabbouleh salad
Print Recipe
4.62 from 18 votes

Green Lentil Tabbouleh Salad

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. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Servings: 4
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
     

Notes

It is best to add salt towards the end of cooking lentils. If you add the salt to the cooking liquid from the start, the lentils will come out tough.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Green Lentil Tabbouleh Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 228 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 302mg13%
Potassium 528mg15%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 14g56%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 1400IU28%
Vitamin C 22.9mg28%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 4.5mg25%
* The nutritional information shown here is just an estimate and not meant to be used as dietary/nutritional advice. Please consult a nutritionist for exact nutritional information based on the exact ingredients you use.

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Dahn

Sunday 4th of November 2018

All those fresh herbs!! This is my kind of salad. I love your tip on marinating the onion in lemon juice. I am going to have to try that next time.

Kate

Monday 5th of November 2018

Thanks so much! The marinated onions thing is actually a compromise at our house. I hate raw onions but like pickled things, my husband loves raw onions and isn't a huge fan of pickled things typically. But we both seem to love quick-marinated onions.

Little Cooking Tips

Thursday 1st of November 2018

Beautiful alternative to Tabbouleh dear Kate! KUDOS! SO delicious and healthy. We are definitely pinning to try this our soon! We didn't know about the salt thing (at the end of the cooking) for lentils, thanx dear! As for the "I’ve forgotten this before and let me tell you, it sucks to zest a lemon that’s already been juiced." we laughed so hard because we've been there and indeed it sucks so hard!:D Sending you and your little one hugs and kisses!

Alaycia

Monday 9th of September 2019

I’m cooking now and the recipe doesn’t say what to do with the lemon zest!

Kate

Monday 5th of November 2018

Thank you so much! And I hope my PSA (public service announcement) about zesting before juicing helps someone out haha.