This Middle Eastern Lentil Salad is perfect dish for anyone who’s a fan of lentils, fresh herbs and garlic! It’s made green lentils which retain their shape and texture with cooking, making them a great choice for salads like this one. Intensely flavourful and super satisfying, it’s made from simple ingredients that your probably already have on hand. Cumin, a good olive oil, sautéed garlic, lemon juice, shallots and a good dose of parsley and mint, plus a sprinkle of feta turn toothsome lentils into a satisfying side dish. Or…a main dish when served over a bed of greens.
If you’re looking for new ideas with lentils, I can’t recommend this lentil salad highly enough. The sautéed garlic adds a whole new depth of flavour to an otherwise very light and refreshing lentil salad.
How to adapt this Middle Eastern Lentil Salad
Whether you serve it as a main dish or a flavourful side dish, this Middle Eastern style lentil salad is the perfect year-round recipe! And it’s easy to adapt. I recommend trying this recipe as it is —- because it’s just so tasty! But, you could easily adapt it to suit the season. For example, by adding more fresh ingredients in the summer months, such as diced mini cucumber or halved cherry tomatoes. You also keep thing simple and simply give this Middle Eastern lentil salad a little extra boost by garnishing it with a handful of pomegranate seeds. Or make it vegan and simply skip the feta cheese. As for adding greens, in winter I like to serve this salad over a bed of purslane leaves or lambs lettuce, but you could also try butter lettuce or even romaine.
If you like this easy lentil salad recipe, you might also like:
- Mediterranean Lentil Salad
- Beluga Lentil Salad with Middle Eastern Lemon Dressing
- Lebanese Roasted Vegetables with Lentils
Middle Eastern Lentil Salad With Herbs And Feta
- 1½ cups green lentils, rinsed and drained (300 g)
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve (¼ cup)
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
- 70 g feta cheese, crumbled
To serve (optional):
- Purslane, lamb’s lettuce or other greens
In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils and 3 cups (750 ml) water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the remaining water using a fine strainer and rinse the lentils in cold water. Drain well and transfer to large serving bowl to fully cool to room temperature.
TIP: Alternatively, you can skip rinsing the lentils and allow them to cool to room temperature on their own. I rinse mine in cold water as a time saver.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice and shallots; set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until softened and lightly golden, 7–8 minutes (they should not brown!). Transfer to the bowl with lemon juice and shallots, and whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the cooled lentils.
Add the parsley, mint and feta; toss to combine. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve over a bed or greens, with lemon wedges to garnish, if desired. Enjoy!
- Either regular green lentils and French green lentils (aka Puy lentils) work well here, so use whichever you prefer. Make sure to let the lentils cool first so that they don't break and become mushy as they're tossed together with the rest of the ingredients.
- The shallots are soaked in lemon juice in order to tame their pungent bite. This also gives them a slightly pickled quality.
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