Lentil Salad with Tomatoes, Dill & Basil ♥ Recipe

Lentil Salad with Tomatoes, Dill & Basil
One of my favorite summer salads! It's meaty French lentils combined with tomatoes and other vegetables for a hearty, healthy salad. The recipe is "lightened" with no oil — and no missing it!

~first published 2005~
~recipe & photo updated 2007 & 2011~
~such a favorite & flexible summer salad, republished 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~

French lentils — some times also sold as lentilles de Puy — are a great contribution to American cuisine. Compared to the typical beige or brown lentils, they have much more flavor and stand up to cooking without turning to mush. I find them in bins, for a price, at Whole Foods and in boxes, for pennies, at Trader Joe's. I'd also use Trader Joe's black lentils in this salad.

2005: This is really good, a definite keeper. It's from the August issue of Gourmet, which is packed with great-looking vegetable recipes. One reviewer on Epicurious says that it improves with a day in the fridge too. That said, next time, I'd change the proportions: more vegetable, less lentil. I'd add more tomato, perhaps a yellow pepper (for color) and some diced cucumber or zucchini, maybe even some fennel. I think this would be delicious topped with poached or grilled fish.

2007 UPDATE: I took my own advice and (1) tried the Trader Joe's black lentils and (2) doubled the tomatoes AND (3) added cucumber and 1/4 cup of capers, all were excellent choices. But the BIG news after having such good luck eliminating the oil from this Summer Orzo with Radicchio, I (4) completely eliminated all the oil from this salad too. Wow - honestly, there was no missing it! And it drops the Weight Watchers points to just 1 (Old Points) which is great for a legume.

2011 UPDATE: Turns out, this is one of my very favorite salads on A Veggie Venture, one I make again and again, just using whatever vegetables I have on hand. I love the contrast of the meaty lentils with good tomatoes. I do recommend using grape or cherry tomatoes when making the salad ahead of time, they hold up better than chopped whole tomatoes. The capers are also important, providing microbursts of salty sharpness. And? I skip the oil, entirely. There is still no missing it.

2011 LENTIL UPDATE Unfortunately, Trader Joe's no longer sells either uncooked black lentils (also called "black beluga lentils") of French lentils. I only find the French lentils at Whole Foods. Both products, however, can be purchased online at Amazon, here are the black beluga lentils and the French lentils. They are completely worth buying - these are meaty, not mushy, and so-so flavorful.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 4-1/2 cups to 7 cups, depending on how many vegetables used

4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup French lentils

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil (2005 reduced from 4 tablespoons; 2007 & 2011 skipped entirely!)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Good sprinkle fresh pepper

1 pound tomatoes, cored and diced (2007 - 2 pounds; 2011 - 1 pound)
8 green onions, trimmed and chopped (2007 1/2 a red onion, diced)
1 cup diced cucumber (2007 & 2011 addition)
1/4 cup drained capers (2007 & 2011 addition)
1/4 cup fresh dill (2005 my herb garden yielded considerably less, I'd recommend the full amount), (2007 skipped entirely)
1/4 cup fresh basil

LENTILS Bring the water, table salt and lentils to boil in a medium saucepan over MEDIUM HIGH. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are fully cooked, about 20 - 30 minutes (tonight's took 40 minutes from putting the pot on to being done). Drain.

VINAIGRETTE While the lentils are still hot, stir in the vinaigrette ingredients. This helps the lentils absorb the vinaigrette, rather than having them just "sit" in the vinaigrette.

VEGETABLES Meanwhile, prep the vegetables. Stir into the lentils.

TO SERVE Chill until ready to serve. Maybe slightly better after a couple of hours to rest.

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.