Lentil Salad with Cucumber
Lentil salad with cucumber, red onion, dates and parsley couldn’t be easier or more delicious. It’s crisp, fresh, light and bright with my homemade Lemon Vinaigrette drizzled on top.
This is a great salad to enjoy on it’s own or pair with heartier main dishes like my Dijon Baked Salmon, Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs, Grilled Chicken Souvlaki or Falafel (for a meat-free option).
This lentil salad recipe was a bit of a throw-together recipe that turned out far more fabulous than I initially thought it would be. I had lentils in my fridge leftover from my How to Cook Lentils post and was debating what to make with them. I also had cucumber, red onion, Medjool dates and parsley and within 10 minutes this salad instantly came together.
Lentil salads are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and this particular lentil salad reminded me of my recent travels to Israel. It’s definitely something I would have found on the menu in a happening Tel Aviv restaurant. Travel is always a big influence and inspiration on my recipes.
Which Lentils to Use?
I described some of the texture differences of lentils once they’re cooked on my Lentils post. But for this salad you want to use green lentils or Lentils de Puy (French Lentils). They’ll stay firm and hold their shape without going mushy being tossed around in this salad.
How to Make Lentil Salad
The beauty of this lentil salad recipe is how quickly it comes together. You could even cook the lentils the night before and let them cool overnight in the fridge, then whip this up fast the next day. Here’s how you make it:
- Cook the lentils and let them cool
- Finely dice the cucumber, red onion and dates
- Finely chop the parsley
- Drizzle the Lemon Vinaigrette dressing on top and toss
Lentil Salad Tips
- If you plan to meal prep this salad I recommend slightly undercooking your lentils. I usually cook my lentils for 20 minutes. And that’s fine if I plan to eat this salad immediately and all in one day. But if it sits overnight or for a few days, the lentils will absorb the dressing and soften further. So cooking a a couple minutes less is recommended.
- When you dice the cucumber, red onion and dates try to keep everything in a very small dice about the same size.
- This is a sweeter lentil salad due to the Medjool dates. If you’d like it less sweet, just use less dates. It’s also a great salad for using up dates that may have dried out a bit in your pantry as they’ll be easier to dice and will soften up again in the salad.
For More Healthy Salad Recipes
My sweet potato noodles, cabbage and lentil salad recipe is also great, but here are more light and fresh salad options…
Have more lentils to use up? Make my lentil soup recipe. It’s hearty and healthy, yet light enough to be enjoyed year round!
Lentil Salad with Cucumber
- 1 cup lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 piece kombu, (approx 3-4 inches)
- 1 large cucumber, finely diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup Medjool dates, finely diced
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
- 1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette, (I use half in this recipe)
- Rinse the lentils and inspect them to remove any bad lentils or debris.
- In a medium saucepan, add the lentils, water, bay leaf and kombu. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to very low, cover the pot and and simmer for 16-20 minutes. The lentils should be soft but not at all mushy.
- Drain and chill the lentils for a couple of minutes. Add the diced cucumber, red onion, dates and parsley.
- Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette on top and toss to combine.
- With the leftover Lemon Vinaigrette you can use it on my Shrimp, Asparagus and Avocado Salad, Wild Rice and Arugula Salad or Watermelon Radish and Cucumber Salad.
I have noticed some comments about cooking lentils. Trader Joes has a vaccum packed, cooked, ready to go package of lentils. They are in the produce section. I have used in alot of salads and they are easy to use and taste great!
Thanks for the tip Kip!
I made this beauty to up my pulse intake. And because I was doing a fridge clean-out. I added pear (instead of dates), mint, walnuts, rocket and some left-over gorgonzola to the other ingredients. So so yummy! And I am sure Lisa would approve ;-). It tasted like a true downshiftology salad. Thanks Lisa for the inspiration.
Love the idea of adding pears, mint, and walnuts into this!
Delicious!! Great mix of textures and flavors. I like spice so next time I’ll try adding a bit of pickled jalapeno to the dressing. This will be a regular menu item.
I have tried cooking lentils before but they were not tasty, so I was a bit skeptical to try this; however I have had great success with your recipes i thought why not? Well as always your recipe and tips did not disappoint, this is absolutely delicious and refreshing. I could honestly eat this at every meal, it’s that good! I had some of it with tofu, and saving the rest to have with some lamb. Thanks for all the work you and your team do, to ensure the recipes are great, and people are not wasting ingredients. Many blessings 🙏🏽
Happy to hear you took a chance on this lentil salad and ended up loving it!
Made this and hubby raves about it to friends! No better review than that. Didn’t have Kombu but I’m looking for it because that will make it even better right? Soooo good. Thank you!
If you can find kombu for next time, that would be great! Otherwise, I’m glad you and your hubby enjoyed this lentil salad :)
hello! I’m wanting to make this with your falafel this week but don’t have kombu. Should I substitute something or just leave out?
Hi Kylee – you can just leave it out.
First time using kombu. Do you put it in the salad as well, or just when boiling the lentils? Thank you.Laurie
Hi Laurie – it’s used just when boiling the lentils. Enjoy!
This was absolutely delicious. I didn’t have dates on hand so I used organic raisins instead and it was still wonderful. I bought dates the next day and added some to the leftovers and it took it up a notch. I also added a small amount of feta cheese and that gave it a new dimension of flavor. All in all a great recipe and leftovers taste amazing. Thank you for sharing this.
Love the addition of feta cheese to this! Glad you enjoyed this recipe Sibylle :)
As an alternative to cooking the lentils, try sprouting them. Early lentil sprouts (following an initial overnight soak and 24 hours or so of sprouting, have a very fresh, crisp, nutty flavor that I know would work with this salad .
hi Lisa, from Australia…..,thank you again for replying to the flat bread comments just making this now its 9am in australia… easter monday
… i would like to use more lentils.. my hubby is a little resistant with incorporating them in dishes with pure plant foods.. but we are getting there… he does not like dates… is there something else i could use that is in keeping with this salad.. or just adding tomatoes ?
Hi Christina – I think tomatoes would be a great addition to this salad. You could also quarter grapes if you want a sweeter bite. :)
I love this recipe and I LOVE lentils! I would add some cooked mushrooms for a more “meaty” texture in a roll up!
Thanks for sharing!
Hi Zora – Cooked mushrooms sounds like a great addition to warm this salad up!
OMG Lisa! I have been binge watching all of your recipes the last week and I can’t get enough of your website and recipes! I made a few over the last couple days and this lentil salad is out of this world! I love lentils but always grow up eating them stewed back in Brazil and this is for sure another amazing and different way to eat them! the falafel recipe was also incredible and this morning i made the collagen chocolate smoothie for breakfast and we all loved! thanks for the amazing work you do and lots of love from Canada!
Hi Bruna – I’m so glad you enjoyed this salad, as well as everything else on Downshiftology :) Can’t wait to hear what you make next!
Adding konbu is a nice touch, giving the lentil that extra umami boost. I cook Japanese dishes all the time but I have never thought of using konbu in non-Japanese recipes. :)
Hi Anita – It definitely does give it an extra boost in flavor! :)
This is an amazing salad. It’s crisp and refreshing while still being hearty and satisfying enough for a main meal. Make it. You’ll love it!
Hi Jenn – The lentils definitely give you a hearty amount of protein with refreshing flavors to complement it!
This lentil salad is so delicious! Perfect with the lemon vinaigrette and cucumbers! Great leftovers for my lunch the next day.
Hi Sally – Glad you enjoyed this salad! Definitely a great dish to meal prep :)
OMG! I am impressed by how you cut ingredients! I love your recipe, and I am going to give it a try. I hope to get the same look and taste of the salad as yours:)
Hi Irina – Thanks so much! All it takes is some careful chopping :)
This salad sounds amazing. I’ve never had anything like this and cannot wait to taste it.
Hi Andrea – Enjoy the recipe! :)
A great light and filling salad. My first recipe using lentils. Still working on the cooking time so they are not mushy, but they are still good anyways, Thank you for another great recipe! This will be on repeat at my house!
Hi Amy – Lentils are a great way to sneak in protein :) Glad you enjoyed this recipe!
So delish! Love the combination of ingredients, it’s fresh and light yet filling. One of my favourite lunch meals in summer :)
Hi Ida – It’s also one of my favorite light and fresh meals to throw together :)
Love. Love. Love this lentil recipe. Tried it today with dried turkish tomatoes but will definitely use dates next time. So glad to find your site during lockdown. Can’t wait to try another tomorrow!
Hi Rosie – Wonderful! I hope you enjoy all my recipes :)
Hallo from Germany,
I really love your mealprep-style and doing mit myself in busy Werks working shifts.
This recipy ist so delicious I just love it. The Kids i work with (with psychological) conditions live it as Well and that will mean something???
Thanks for All those awesome informations and recepies. Im getting to a healthier me?
Wishing you all the best?
Thanks so much Sandra! I’m happy you love my meal preps and this lentil salad recipe. :)
I made this tonight to go with a mediterranean chicken dish. It was fantastic, a huge hit! Sadly I got a bit distracted and over cooked the lentils, they were a bit mushy, but it was still very good. Wonderful flavors and textures. Thank you.
Ah, I know how easy it is to get distracted in the kitchen! ;) Hopefully the lentils will come out a bit better next time, but I’m happy you loved the flavors and simplicity of it!
We make this salad a lot in Turkey! It’s amazing how different cultures and cuisines have so much in common. My mom also puts balsamic vinegar in it, a little bit changes the taste so much!
That’s wonderful! And yes, love how prevalent these lentil salad recipes are in the Middle East and Mediterranean. I’m sure balsamic would be a delicious addition. Thanks for sharing!
This is my all times favorite salad recipe, I make it all the time since I stumbled over it! For me it’s the perfect light meal to take to work. Its light but yet filling and super nutritious as well as easy and fast to make. The combination of flavors is just wow, loving the sweetness of the dates in combination with the lemon vinaigrette! Thanks for this gem Lisa!
Hi Katharina – So glad you’ve enjoyed this salad! It really is the perfect light and healthy meal :)