This curried lentil salad is loaded with healthy ingredients like kale, carrots, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, and mint, all tied together with a zippy harissa-garlic dressing. It's vegan, gluten-free, and full of plant-based protein!
While I love a light and crunchy veggie salad like my Best Ever Massaged Kale Salad, sometimes you just need a stick-to-your-ribs salad. And that's when this easy lentil salad comes into play.
It's jam-packed with good-for-you protein, fresh vegetables and a dressing you'll want to make on repeat.
And that salad dressing? It is everything. You'll want to make extra to drizzle on other salads, like this Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Avocado to punch up the flavor. It's spicy, savory, and just a bit sweet.
Why You’ll Love This Lentil Salad
Here’s why this healthy lentil salad is sure to become one of your lunchtime staples:
- Versatile. This is a pretty forgiving salad, so have fun using whatever is in your fridge. It's going to taste great with the curry dressing and satisfy thanks to the lentils.
- Filling. Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, making this salad a meatless meal with lots of staying power.
- Flavorful. The harissa-garlic dressing is key to the flavors in this salad—it really packs a punch!
- Easy. This lentil salad is simple to put together and ideal for meal prep. It’s one of my favorite healthy lunch recipes!
What You’ll Need
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this flavorful curried lentil salad. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact amounts for each ingredient.
For the Salad:
- Cooked lentils – I recommend a hardier lentil such as brown, green or French (le puy).
- Kale – Curly, red, or lacinato will all work here.
- Cucumber – I recommend using an English cucumber; if you use a garden cucumber, you can scoop out the seeds if you’d like.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dates – Not only do these add sweetness, but they also have a nice chewy texture.
- Fresh mint
For the Dressing:
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar – You can also swap the red wine vinegar for apple cider or white wine vinegar if that's what you have on hand.
- Lemon juice
- Maple syrup – If you're not vegan or don't have maple syrup, you can swap it for honey. To keep this salad totally sugar-free, you can also omit it, but I think it adds a very subtle and delicious sweetness.
- Curry powder – Use a mild curry powder, unless you want your lentil salad extra spicy!
- Harissa pepper
- Garlic powder – This allows us to add garlicky flavor without fussing with fresh garlic cloves.
- Salt and pepper
What Is Harissa?
Harissa is a North African pepper blend. You can find it dried or as a paste. It's pretty easy to find at Whole Foods and other well-stocked grocery stores. It's not too spicy, but if you're sensitive to spice, give it a taste first.
How to Make Lentil Salad
To make this salad, you'll need to first cook the lentils. I like to let them cool before I add the fresh vegetables, but it also works to make the salad slightly warm.
- Combine. Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl.
- Make the Dressing. In another bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Toss. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss everything together.
Tips for Success
Here are some simple tips for a perfect lentil salad:
- Don’t use red lentils. Red lentils cook up softer and are likely to fall apart in this salad. You want a lentil with some texture!
- Check the lentils often. Brown lentils sometimes go from hard to over-cooked super fast. Check them early and often to make sure they’re soft enough to eat, while still holding their shape.
- Give it some time. While you can serve this lentil salad immediately, if you have time to let it sit for a few minutes, it will help the flavors meld.
Switch up your lentil salad recipe by adding any (or all!) of the following ingredients:
- Sunflower seeds, cashews, or chopped almonds
- Diced bell pepper
- Diced tomato
This lentil salad is great as a side dish for Moroccan chicken, balsamic grilled tofu, and cinnamon pecan crusted salmon. Or, round things out by adding some more vegetables on the side, like my easy roasted zucchini or sauteed garlic green beans.
How to Store
Go ahead and prep a big batch of lentils This is a perfect make-ahead lentil salad for parties and meal prep. You can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Dress the salad just before serving.
If you’re refrigerating leftovers, this salad will last for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.
Can I Freeze Lentil Salad?
Because it’s made with fresh vegetables, I don’t recommend freezing this salad. Instead, enjoy it within a few days after making it.
More High-Protein Salad Recipes
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Toasted Quinoa
- The Best Greek Chickpea Salad
- 10-Minute Spicy Moroccan Quinoa Salad
- Vegan Cobb Salad
Curried Lentil Salad
for the salad:
- Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Once combined, pour it over the salad and toss it all together.
- Serve immediately or store in the fridge for 3 – 4 days.