This Mediterranean Black Lentil Salad with cucumbers, spinach and feta is super easy to whip together. Just toss the lentils together with a little dressing and veggies, and you have the perfect summer side dish or gluten-free vegetarian main course.

blue oval bowl with black lentil salad

I originally shared this recipe on June 21, 2016. I have updated some of the text to share it with you again today.

Why We Love This Black Lentil Salad Recipe

This recipe is a nutritious and so so delicious way to cook with lentils. The fresh vegetables, black lentils and Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette are a satisfying and tasty combination for a side dish or vegetarian main course.

This recipe comes to you on the pages of Healthy Seasonal Recipes from my friend Sara Haas. She is both a classically trained chef and a Registered Dietitian.

lentils in baskets

Her recipe for French Lentil Salad with Spinach and Feta Cheese was the inspiration for this one and is is exactly the kind of salad that ranks high on my list of recipes to make!

I also knew that would be the perfect recipe because I have had black lentils in my pantry since I was at Eataly in Chicago. I’d just been waiting for inspiration for them.

What Are Black Lentils?

black lentils on a countertop
  • Black lentils, sometimes called beluga lentils, named for their glossy caviar-like appearance, are a small variety of lentils with a firm texture similar to French de Pouilly lentils.
  • They are black and shiny when raw and retain their inky black color when cooked.
  • They are perfect for salads and meal prep recipes because they do not break down like brown or red lentils.

Ingredients For This Black Lentil Salad

ingredients with labels for this recipe
  • 1 cup dry black lentils, sorted
  • 2 cups sliced spinach
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup diced seeded cucumber
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup walnut balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

How to Make Black Lentil Salad

I know I say all my recipes are easy, but this one takes the cake.

how to make the recipe in step by step photo collage
  1. You’ll first need to cook the black lentils until just tender (they’ll soak up the dressing as they sit in your fridge, so no need to cook them any longer).
  2. Drain the lentils and rinse them with cold water so the can be added directly into the salad without wilting the spinach and parsley.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, chop the parsley and spinach, and dice the cucumber and bell pepper.
  4. Blend the balsamic walnut vinaigrette.
  5. Once you’ve drained the lentils, add them to a large bowl with the herbs and veggies, feta and pour on the balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
  6. Stir everything together or refrigerate up to three hours.

Expert Tips and FAQs for this Recipe

Where do you buy black lentils?

Black lentils can be purchased in large supermarkets, gourmet stores, health food stores and online. Look for them in the bulk department or with the other dried legumes.

What do black lentils taste like?

Black lentils have an earthy, peppery and slightly bitter taste similar to French green lentils. Their flavor pairs well with acidic, salty and smoky elements.

What is the best way to cook black lentils?

The best way to cook black lentils is to sort them when they are dry by removing any debris and small pebbles. Then place in a medium saucepan and cover generously with water. Do not salt the water or the lentils will become tough. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain the gentle simmer, then cook until they are just tender, about 22 minutes. Drain well.

Are black lentils good for you?

Black lentils are very nutritious and high in folate which researchers believe may help play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s and is an important nutrient for expectant mothers. They are also rich in protein, fiber and iron making them an excellent plant-based ingredient.

How to Store Black Lentil Salad

For best results serve this salad within a few hours of making it. But leftovers are still yummy even if the spinach and parsley wilt a bit! Keep it in the fridge for up to five days in a tightly sealed container.

The cucumber will let off some of its liquid, so you will want to serve this salad with a slotted spoon.

overhead of black lentils on a board with salt and a dish of lentils in a serving bowl

More Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter for healthy recipes delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

Print
close up of lentil salad in a turquoise serving bowl

Mediterranean Black Lentil Salad

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s a healthy gluten-free lentil side salad for the summer. It has Mediterranean flavors with cucumbers, feta, spinach and red pepper. I used black lentils, but French Green lentils would also work great.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry black lentils, sorted
  • 2 cups sliced spinach
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup diced seeded cucumber
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup walnut balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Place lentils in a medium saucepan. Generously cover lentils with cold water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a steady simmer, and cook until just tender, 20 to 26 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool running water. Transfer the lentils to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add spinach, parsley, cucumber, bell pepper, vinaigrette, feta, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Serve immediately or chill.

Notes

Adapted from Sarah Haas RD

Lentils

If you cannot find black lentils substitute French De Pouilly green lentils instead. 

Leftovers

For best results serve this salad within a few hours of making it. But leftovers are still yummy even if the spinach and parsley wilt a bit! Keep it in the fridge for up to five days in a tightly sealed container.

The cucumber will let off some of its liquid, so you will want to serve this salad with a slotted spoon.

 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 133
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 9 g
Mediterranean Black  Lentil Salad