Hearty and substantial, this black lentil salad can be also be made with brown or green lentils, and is beautiful and festive. Diminutive, gleaming black lentils (also called Beluga lentils) contrast beautifully with cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, olives, and herbs. This might just become your favorite black lentils recipe!
What’s nice about black lentils is that they retain their shape more tenaciously than brown or green lentils (and certainly more than red lentils, which are made to get mushy).
Their texture, even when done, is always a bit more al dente. There’s a lot to love about black lentils, so learn more!
All that being said, feel free to substitute and equal amount of brown or green lentils. The salad might not be quite as gorgeous, but it will still be plenty pretty and will taste just as good.
Canned black (or other) lentils: Is it okay to use canned lentils in the recipe rather than cooking from scratch? Yes, of course. You’ll need two 15-ounce cans, which you’ll want to drain and rinse well.
How to cook black (beluga) lentils
Cooking lentils of any kind is easy; they don’t need to be pre-soaked. Rinse them well (check for small stones), then combine in a saucepan with water in a 3 to 1 ratio.
Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until just tender, which usually takes 15 to 20 minutes. Watch them closely and check frequently at the end of cooking time.
Remember, lentils don’t have to absorb all the water like grains do, so chances are that there will be a little water to drain off once done. One cup dry lentils makes about 2 1/2 cups cooked. For use in this salad, transfer the cooked lentils into a colander and rinse under cold water until cool.
Learn more about this versatile legume in all its varieties in our Guide to Lentils.
Serving suggestions for Black Lentil Salad
- As a main dish salad, serve this simply with a crusty bread. A simply steamed green vegetable served on the side (broccoli, green beans, or Brussels sprouts) never hurts! Or, save room for a fruity dessert.
- For a more substantial meal, pair with a simple soup. A creamy green soup goes well with this salad — try Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup. Crusty bread still welcome!
- 1 1/4 cups raw black lentils (brown or green lentils may be substituted), or two 15-ounce cans
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 scallion, green parts only, thinly sliced, or 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1/2 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, or half of each, diced small
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley, more or less to taste
- 1 cup Kalamata or other black olives (leave whole or use pitted, chopped)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, as desired
- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- If using raw black lentils, rinse them well. Combine with 4 cups water in a roomy saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until just tender, about 20. Watch them closely at the end of cooking time. If using raw brown or green lentils, they usually take a bit longer to cook, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Drain excess cooking water from lentils and rinse gently in a colander until they stop steaming. Allow to cool until at room temperature. If using canned lentils, simply drain and rinse them.
- Combine the lentils with the remaining ingredients in a serving bowl. Toss gently and thoroughly.
- If time allows, let the salad stand for a half hour or so at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend. Otherwise, serve at once.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g
Nutrition data is always an estimate depending on program used to calculate and exact products used. This is given for informational purposes only and accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
Another easy lentil salad …
Simple Lentil and Tomato Salad: This hearty yet simple lentil and tomato salad can be enjoyed in its basic form, or embellished with any of the optional add-ins listed in the recipe.
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Photos of black lentil salad: Anna Pustynnikova/Bigstock