Not just another lentil salad….this Beluga lentil salad has both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. And it’s delish.
Za’atar, sumac and cumin provide the flavor backbone for this quick and easy lentil salad, which gets a some crunch from toasted almonds, green-based goodness from spinach and creaminess from crumbled feta. Plus there’s olives, green onions and sweet cherry tomatoes for an extra flavor boost. The result: a very delicious and healthy weeknight meal that can also be refrigerated and saved for lunch the next day.
There are numerous ways that you could change up this lentil salad recipe, so feel free to get creative with it!
- Lentils: black beluga lentils or French green lentils work well for this salad as they have great flavor and hold their shape well once cooked.
- Onions: green onions can easily be replaced with red onions here. And you could even sauté the onions in some of the olive oil used for the dressing if you like.
- Olives: Kalamata olives are one of my favorites, but you could use any olive in this beluga lentil salad recipe. Green olives, like Castelvetrano as also a great choice as they are mild and buttery versus the distinctive rich, smoky, fruity flavor of Kalamatas. Italian giant green olives (called Cerignola) are also a great choice, if you orefer milder tasting olives.
- Spices: Feel free to sub out the ground cumin for toasted cumin seeds (and double the amount). You could also amp up on the spices — love sumac and za’atar? Then up the amount to 1 tablespoon each.
- Veggies: Go ahead, add a little cumber or diced carrots. Or how about adding some fresh herbs like mint, cilantro or a little parsley or a mix. Or during the winter months, trade out spinach and tomatoes for slivered tuscan kale (just be sure to use a little of the olive oil to give it a massage first).
- Cheese: feta and lentils are a dream together. I like Greek 100% sheep’s milk feta (PDO: Protected Designations of Origin) for this recipe, as it’s rich and creamy. You can also opt for your favourite goat’s cheese, and of course if you could skip it altogether if you are wanting a pure-plant based salad.
More favorite lentil salad recipes:
Looking for more lentil recipe inspiration? Here are a few of my favourites…
- Beluga Lentil Salad with Green Beans & Lemon-Mint Dressing
- Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing
- Roasted Feta and Tomato Lentil Salad
- Nectarine Lentil Salad
Beluga Lentil Salad with Middle Eastern Lemon Dressing
For the lentil salad:
- 1½ cups black beluga lentils (300 g)
- 3 green onions, chopped
- handful Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (10 olives)
- 200 g cherry or mini roma tomatoes, halved
- 100 g feta (or sheep’s cheese), crumbled
- 1/2 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted (60 g)
- 3-4 handfuls spinach, stemmed and chopped
For the dressing:
- 120 ml extra-virgin olive oil (8 tablespoons)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- 2 teaspoons za’atar
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cook lentils in a large saucepan of simmering salted water until tender but still firm, 20–25 minutes. Drain using a sieve and rinse under cool running water. Shake well to get rid of excess moisture and transfer the lentils to a large serving bowl to further cool.
Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat. Heat, shaking the pan and stirring often, until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool.
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, garlic, spices, and lemon juice). Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the dressing over the lentils, add the green onion, olives and tomato. Toss well to coat. Add the feta, almonds and spinach and toss again to incorporate.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
- This salad is perfect for meal prepping. It holds up well as leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. I use mature spinach (würzelspinat) for this recipe, if using young or delicate greens, it is better to add them before serving if planning to store over a few days.
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