The Best Lentil Potluck Salad

I’m still on my make-ahead meal kick over here, and this lentil salad is quickly becoming a new favorite.

best-lentil-salad

This post is brought to you by USA Pulses and Pulses Canada.

What I love about this particular recipe is that it’s super-easy to throw together, can be customized to use what you have in your fridge, and is incredibly filling. Plus, it’s a nutritional powerhouse! Lentils contain high levels of soluble fiber, which may help to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, and they are a great source of magnesium and folate, which happen to be especially important during pregnancy. Many people also find that lentils are easier to digest than beans, which can be a perk for anyone with sensitive digestion, and they are an affordable source of vegetarian protein, providing 18 grams of protein per cooked cup.

This lentil salad makes a perfect make-ahead lunch or dinner for the week, and I think it’s also going to become my go-to dish to bring to potlucks. This recipe makes enough to feed an army, and it’s sturdy enough to sit out for a while without getting soggy. The flavor and variety of textures makes it a total crowd pleaser! I call for brown lentils in this recipe because they tend to be sturdier in texture than red, yellow, or orange lentils, but green lentils could also work for this salad.

If you’re crunched for time, or happen to be without a kitchen like I was last week, you can even use pre-cooked brown lentils from your local grocery store to make this process as easy as possible. Simply chop, stir everything together, and serve!

The Best Lentil Potluck Salad (Vegan)
Serves 8 to 12

Adapted from My New Roots

Ingredients:

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
2 small cloves garlic
2 teaspoons fine sea salt

Salad:
2 pounds cooked brown lentils (about 6 cups cooked)
1 1/2 cups diced cucumber (1 english cucumber)
1 1/2 cups diced red onion (1 large red onion)
1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper (1 large bell pepper)
3 celery stalks, diced
1 cup golden raisins (optional)
1 cup sliced almonds (optional)
Arugula, for serving (optional)
Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

To prepare the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. The dressing will be very salty and acidic, so I don’t recommend tasting it until after you’ve poured it over the huge amount of vegetables in this salad, which will dilute the flavor significantly. (You can adjust any seasonings to taste later.)

If cooking the brown lentils from scratch, combine 2 cups of dry brown lentils with 5 cups of water and  bring them to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Be sure to watch the pot and add more water, if needed, to keep the lentils covered. Drain any excess water from the lentils and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.

lentil-salad-recipe

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cooked lentils, cucumber, onion, pepper, and celery. (I like to dice them into very small pieces so they are all about the same size.) Pour the dressing over the top, toss well, and adjust any seasoning to taste. You can serve this salad as-is, or add in the option raisins and almonds for a little added sweetness and crunch. Store the salad in the fridge for up to a week, and if you’d like to add some extra greens to the mix, serve it over a bed of arugula or any other green you like. (Just don’t mix the leafy greens into your stored salad, as they are prone to wilting once they get moist.) This salad should keep well for up to one week when stored in the fridge, so I hope you’ll enjoy it as an easy make-ahead packed meal!

potluck-lentil-salad

5.0 from 4 reviews
The Best Lentil Potluck Salad
Author: 
Serves: 8-12
 
An easy protein-packed salad that is perfect for bringing to potlucks or as a make ahead packed lunch.
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Salad:
  • 2 pounds cooked brown lentils (about 6 cups cooked)
  • 1½ cups diced cucumber (1 english cucumber)
  • 1½ cups diced red onion (1 large red onion)
  • 1½ cups diced red bell pepper (1 large bell pepper)
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (optional)
  • Arugula, for serving (optional)
  • Black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. To prepare the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. The dressing will be very salty and acidic, so I don't recommend tasting it until after you've poured it over the huge amount of vegetables in this salad, which will dilute the flavor significantly. (You can adjust any seasonings to taste later.)
  2. If cooking the brown lentils from scratch, combine 2 cups of dry brown lentils with 5 cups of water and bring them to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Be sure to watch the pot and add more water, if needed, to keep the lentils covered. Drain any excess water from the lentils and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cooked lentils, cucumber, onion, pepper, and celery. (I like to dice them into very small pieces so they are all about the same size.) Pour the dressing over the top, toss well, and adjust any seasoning to taste. You can serve this salad as-is, or add in the option raisins and almonds for a little added sweetness and crunch. Store the salad in the fridge for up to a week, and if you'd like to add some extra greens to the mix, serve it over a bed of arugula or any other green you like. (Just don't mix the leafy greens into your stored salad, as they are prone to wilting once they get moist.) This salad should keep well for up to one week when stored in the fridge, so I hope you'll enjoy it as an easy make-ahead packed meal!

For those of you who have joined me in taking the Pulse Pledge— committing to eat one serving of pulses like lentils, beans, chickpeas, and dry peas each week– this salad is an easy way to get your pulses in! I hope you’ll enjoy it as we continue to celebrate the 2016 International Year of Pulses.

Reader Feedback: What’s your go-to dish to bring to a potluck? 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada as part of my ongoing partnership to help promote the International Year of Pulses. 

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

14 thoughts on “The Best Lentil Potluck Salad

  1. renay

    this is great – we made it tonight and added precooked quinoa and served it over kale – delish! thank you for yet another great recipe! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

    All our Texas relatives are coming up to visit us all in NY (not the city although I just got back from a weeks trip there and it was AMAZING) I want to make this for their visit! Wanted to make something healthy because I know most of the food is going to be um, bad for us.

    Reply
    1. Karen

      Hi! You post comments here all the time. I was wondering…How do you get the comments you post to have a display picture beside them? I want one too!!

      Reply
  3. Karen

    You always dice your vegetables so much smaller than I do. I do rough chops. But you take a lot more care when cutting your veggies than me I’ve noticed. I either mandolin my veggies or shred them. But I never dice like you always seem to. your food prepping always looks magical in your pictures you post.

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      This knife changed my dicing game: http://amzn.to/2b5ztjI My husband and I both like our veggies diced really small so that we don’t have to chew huge pieces, but I don’t think I could do it quickly without a really good knife!

      Reply
  4. Lisa Buchanan

    Megan – does it need to be brown lentils or would another work as well? I think some are mushier than others (totally technical term there!).
    Lisa

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Brown or green lentils are the most firm in texture, so those are what I would recommend to avoid a mushy result. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Christina

    am always looking for plant based recipes and this one hits the spot. didn’t have mustard so I added ginger root and turmeric to the dressing and left out the celery. Put this on a bed of kale and am scarfing down a plate right now. Thank you!

    Reply

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