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.

bowl of lentil potluck salad with a fork
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.

rinsing lentils with water in a strainer, cutting celery on a cutting board, and pouring dressing over lentil salad

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!

bowl of lentil potluck salad with a fork

5 from 7 votes
Print
The Best Lentil Potluck Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
An easy protein-packed salad that is perfect for bringing to potlucks or as a make ahead packed lunch.
Course: Salad
Servings: 8
Calories: 443 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
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
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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Comments

Neta

Made it today- it’s delicious!
Thank you for this recipe!

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! 🙂

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.

    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!!

Cindy

Made this over the weekend and love it! The dressing is perfect for it.

Anna

Did you use the stone ground mustard spice or stone ground mustard condiment??

    Megan Gilmore

    I used the prepared mustard condiment.

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.

    Megan Gilmore

    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!

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

    Megan Gilmore

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

Kate

Love this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been having it for lunch all week.

Carolyn

This looks awesome! Any chance you know of a good substitute for garlic? My son can’t have it. Thanks!!

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!

Sandi

Just made this and the reality is even better than I imagined! I needed some easy, cold, hearty, but not-too-filling meals for this weekend, and this salad is perfect. Thank you!!

Linda

I would like to make this salad on Friday to be served Sunday. Will it keep well?

Dyan

I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe. I have a quick question. Under the heading ingredients the recipe calls for 2 pounds of lentils. When giving instructions for cooking lentils it mentions adding 2 cups of lentils to 5 cups water. Does this recipe calls for 2 cups or 2 pounds of lentils? Please clarify. Thanks.

    Megan Gilmore

    This recipe calls for 2 pounds of COOKED lentils (about 6 cups cooked), but it also provides directions for cooking those lentils from scratch if you don’t want to buy them precooked. The 2 cups dry lentils (about 1 pound of dry lentils) is what you need to end up with 2 pounds of COOKED lentils. (After they are cooked with water, their weight doubles.) Hope that makes sense!

Lori

made this many times, love it, my family loves it too! Fills you up for lunch.

Do you have the nutritional info, I am on a plan and just wondered if you had it?

Laura Lee

I really liked this salad! I’m always looking for a good hardy, healthy & easy bean or lentil dish to go with the occasional pasta dish since their not really filling nor really healthy. I read that having legumes (fiber) with pasta slows down the absorption of simple carbs. Left out the celery, not a fan of it. My husband has a sensitive stomach so I used chopped green onions because they are milder than red onions. I couldn’t help but notice when you use a red pepper and green onions the colours are perfect for a dish to serve around Christmas time. I might rename this to The BEST Christmas Lentil Potluck Salad.

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