Lentil Salad with Tomatoes, Dill & Basil ♥ Recipe

Lentil Salad with Tomatoes, Dill & Basil, another healthy summer salad ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Fat. Low Carb. Vegan.
Hey, guys! Today's your lucky day because you've just found one of my very favorite summer salads! It's a simple summer concoction of meaty French lentils combined with summer-ripe tomatoes and other vegetables for a hearty, healthy salad. And even more good news? The recipe is "lightened up" with no oil — and no missing it!

Fresh & Seasonal. Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly & Freestyle Friendly. Low Fat. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Low Carb. Low Fat.

Was This My Very First Lentil Salad? Maybe So!

It was way back in 2005, on Day 112 of that year-long craziness of cooking a vegetable in a new way every day for an entire year that launched A Veggie Venture, that I first made Lentil Salad with Tomatoes, Dill & Basil. Was it possibly my first-ever lentil salad? I do believe.

The recipe originated with Gourmet magazine, remember when the mailman used to deliver a fat issue every month? (Sniff, sniff, many years later and I'm still in mourning. And truth, I still have boxes and boxes of back issues in the basement.) Luckily, Gourmet's recipe survives, even if Gourmet itself is gone and over the years, I've taken liberties with the recipe. Never fear, this is the kind of recipe that can take whatever you throw at it! Go ahead, you do it too!

Switched the proportions, more vegetables:lentils
Doubled the tomatoes, added cucumber and capers
Eliminated all the oil, it's just not needed

For Fresh Summer Salads, Choose Healthy Legumes, Then Add Vegetables

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? Yeah, skip the oil. There is still no missing it.

Like any good lentil lover, I do have other lentil salads – Best-Ever Lentil Salad is the one I meal prep all year long and for potlucks, there's no beating a big bowl of colorful Summer Lentils. But for summer? when the tomatoes are wonderfully lush and ripe? when it's burning hot and too hot to cook? This is the lentil salad I recipe I reach for.

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 other stores with bulk aisles. For awhile, Trader Joe's carried black beluga lentils that were wonderful but sadly, no more.

RESOURCES Good lentils are completely worth buying, I keep them on hand all the time, they're a kitchen staple here. Lentils are shelf stable, they'll keep for some months. But do date the packages, they do age and when they age, they won't cook as quickly or some times at all. Whattt???? It's true, Why Dried Beans Won't Cook, it applies to lentils too. As for finding good lentils, if you can't find them locally, on Amazon, you'll find even small producers selling black beluga lentils and French green lentils (lentils de puy or lentilles de puy). My Disclosure Promise


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Lets say 6 cups but the yield will vary, depending on how many vegetables used

5 cups water
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (200g) French lentils, rinsed very well under running water

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
0 - 4 tablespoons olive oil (feel free to skip entirely)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Good sprinkle fresh pepper

1 pound (454g) tomatoes, cored and diced
8 skinny or 4 fatter green onions, trimmed and chopped (or substitute 1/2 a red onion, diced fine)
1 cup (140g) diced cucumber
1/2 cup (55g) diced bell pepper
1/4 cup (55) drained capers
1/4 cup fresh dill (try not to skip)
1/4 cup fresh basil

COOK THE LENTILS Bring the water and table salt to a boil in a large pot (one that's big enough to hold the entire salad) over MEDIUM HIGH. Add the lentils and return to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are fully cooked, about 20 - 30 minutes. Taste a lentil or two to know when they're done, they should be soft but not mushy, without any discernible hard spot in the center. Drain well and return to the cooking pot. You'll end up with about 2-1/2 cups cooked lentils.

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

VEGETABLES While the lentils cook, prep the vegetables, collecting in a large bowl. Stir into the Lentil-Vinaigrette mixture.

TO SERVE Transfer to a storage container and chill the salad until you're ready to serve. For us this is a refrigerator salad, one that's best on the first day after 2-3 hours for the flavors to meld but one that also keeps beautifully in the fridge.

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

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005, 2007, 2011 (repub) & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. I fixed your lentil salad with tomatoes, dill and basil tonight. I’ve made it before but tonight it was spectacular! Thank you for such a great recipe! I’m sending to my sister-in-law because she likes your recipes too!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna