With walnuts, celery, and grapes, this lentil salad is reminiscent of a Waldorf salad. Eat it for lunch or dinner as a vegetarian main course, or serve as a side dish.
Isn’t this salad beautiful? I could eat this every day. It is so tasty! Perfect meal or side dish.
When I think lentils, my mind automatically goes to delicious health food. Lentils are a versatile powerhouse and so tasty. Did you know that there are different varieties of lentils? They’re usually classified by color and each variety has unique properties and taste quite different.
I love using red lentils to make a smooth, comforting red lentil soup. Brown lentils are the base for this delicious lentil soup with pasta. My go-to use of green (or French) lentils has always been in salads because they hold their shape well and stand strong in a salad. I love this recipe for green lentils with sweet potatoes and kale or this lentil salad full of feta and bright, fresh flavors. Brown or green lentils also make a great stand-in for meat, like they do in my vegan bolognese. Try lentils in your next main course salad like this broccoli tabbouleh with lentils.
Aren’t those lentils pretty? I want to decorate my house with them. Pretty lentils = pretty salad, right?
About this lentil salad:
Lentils are easy to cook and can be made ahead. Dry lentils should be rinsed and sorted to remove any foreign material. After you’ve drained them, add them to water and simmer for about 30 minutes, depending on what variety of lentils you use. Drain and cool before adding the rest of the ingredients.
This lentil salad is made with a red wine vinaigrette dressing. Whisk together red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, honey, dried thyme, and olive oil. This dressing is fantastic for most any salad. Make a double batch if you want and save half for tomorrow’s salad.
Toast the walnuts for best flavor. You won’t believe the difference it makes!
Chopped celery, feta cheese, and red grapes complete this lentil salad. I like red grapes but really, any variety would be fine. Use what you have available.
Make it your own:
- Don’t have any grapes? Try chopped apples or pears. Almost any kind of fruit would be great.
- Replace the walnuts with almonds, pistachios, or pecans.
- Instead of feta cheese, try crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese. Gorgonzola would be yummy.
- Don’t want to bother with homemade vinaigrette? Use bottled store bought vinaigrette. Anything that’s tangy and slightly sweet would work.
- Add greens. Finely chopped kale or spinach would add a nice green punch.
Make ahead and storage tips:
You can easily make this salad ahead and have it in the fridge for lunches. In fact, it would be great for lunchboxes. Prepare the salad, put it into airtight containers, and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you want, leave the walnuts out, and stir those in right before serving so they don’t get soggy.
If you want, make the lentils a day ahead and store them in the fridge so you can quickly whip up the salad when you’re ready. Or you can used canned lentils, rinsed and drained well.
Looking for main dish salads?
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup dry French (green) lentils, rinsed, sorted and drained
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
- 1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
- 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
- ~1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and thyme. Whisk in olive oil.
- In large bowl, gently mix together lentils, toasted walnuts, grapes, celery, feta and dressing.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! This keeps well in the fridge for at least 2-3 days. If desired, reserve walnuts until ready to serve.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Husband’s take: Much to my surprise, he really likes this! I didn’t think it would be his cup of tea. He appreciates the fact that the lentils are high in protein.
Changes I would make: None. Feel free to use fresh thyme if you have it. If you use fresh, add a little extra.
Difficulty: Very easy!