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Middle Eastern lentil salad recipe

Middle Eastern lentil salad recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Bean salad
  • Lentil salad

This is a deliciously healthy and filling salad. Mixed peppers and broccoli florets add colour, and the salad is finished with dried apricots, goat's cheese and toasted sunflower seeds. Serve with toasted pitta bread.

9 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 250 g (8½ oz) green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • good pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 85 g (3 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 3 small peppers (1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green), seeded and cut into 2 cm (¾ in) squares
  • 100 g (3½ oz) broccoli, broken into small florets
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) firm rindless goat's cheese
  • 2 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
  • Lemon and coriander dressing
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:35min ›Ready in:55min

  1. Put the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum. Add the peeled garlic, cumin and lemon, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the dressing, put the lemon juice, oil, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste into a large salad bowl, and whisk together.
  3. Drain the lentils, discarding the lemon and garlic, and add them to the salad bowl. Toss gently to mix with the dressing.
  4. Add the onion, apricots, peppers and broccoli florets, and mix gently. Crumble the cheese over the top, scatter over the sunflower seeds and serve immediately.

Some more ideas

Instead of goat's cheese, top the salad with 4 sliced hard-boiled eggs. * Use 150 g (5½ oz) frozen broad beans instead of broccoli florets. Cook the beans in boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain, then refresh under cold running water.

Plus points

Like all pulses, lentils are a good source of soluble fibre, which can help to reduce high blood cholesterol levels. Lentils also offer protein, starchy carbohydrate and B vitamins. * Dried apricots are an excellent source of beta-carotene and a useful source of calcium. * The sunflower was first brought to Europe around 1510 as a decorative plant and it wasn't until the 18th century that sunflowers began to be grown as a crop for the production of sunflower oil. Sunflower seeds are rich in healthy polyunsaturated fats and they are a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps to protect cell membranes from damage by free radicals and vitamin B1. They also provide useful amounts of the minerals zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus, selenium and magnesium.

Each serving provides

B1, B6, C, E, folate, niacin, iron, selenium * A, B2, potassium, zinc * B12, calcium

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

Really lovely. I didn't have brocolli so used advocado and tomatoes. Also added more garlic and dash of balsamic vinegar to the dressing. All in all a super dooper tasty salad, ideal as a lunch.-23 Jan 2016

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onions. Cook over a low heat and allow the onions to soften, sweeten and turn gold. This may take about 20 minutes. Do not rush this part, it is important that the onions are sweet.

Set aside half the onions, turn up the heat and add the garlic, cumin and chilli. Stir and when you can really smell the garlic add the lentils and enough water to cover them by 5cm/2in.

Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook until the lentils soften. You may have to top up the water if the lentils look dry but don't add too much, you don’t want to drain away any delicious juices later.

Meanwhile, heat the grill to high. Grill the pepper quarters skin-side up until the skin is blistered and blackened then transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, or until the skin has loosened from the pepper flesh. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle peel off the skins. Thinly slice the peppers and set aside.

Once the lentils are really soft, and this can take up to an hour, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir in the coriander leaves and garnish with the remaining sweet fried onions, grilled peppers and mint.

Lentil Salad Recipe

This Lentil Salad Recipe is bursting with flavor and texture and the grilled citrus, almonds, figs and feta cheese makes every bite of this lentil salad the perfect bite. Crunchy, sweet, bitter, soft and fresh!

This Lentil Salad is the perfect side dish with my Middle Eastern Leg of Lamb recipe.

Baking and grilling citrus caramelizes the fruit’s natural sugar and adds depth. I do it in the oven, but if you are lighting your grill, by all means throw the citrus on there and add subtle smokiness to the salad as well.

This salad requires quite a lot of ingredients – but it is also totally efficient as the only side dish on the table. It covers it all. The baked citrus go perfectly with the sweetness of the figs and freshness of the feta. A complex salad that sings harmony in your mouth!

All the products in the images are from the beautiful Danish Design Brand, ferm Living who create Scandinavian houseware and interior products with strong graphic edge and a hint of retro.
This Lentil Salad Recipe was created for Ferm Living’s Easter Catalog, available online.


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F (200°C). Brush pitas with oil and bake for 10-12 minutes, until toasted. Break into pieces.
  2. Arrange romaine, lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and herbs in a wide, shallow bowl or platter. In a small jar, combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper and shake to fully combine. Drizzle over the salad, adding the broken toasted pitas at the end to keep them crunchy. Serve immediately.

Quick Tip: Add a garlic clove when cooking your lentils to boost flavour.
Add a handful of crunchy, chopped radishes or salty, crumbled Feta cheese - both are delicious additions to this salad

Mujadara (Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions)

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 generous servings 1 x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Mujadara is a classic Arabic recipe featuring cooked lentils and rice, caramelized onions, herbs and yogurt. It’s a delicious vegetarian main dish! This version calls for brown rice instead of white (if you want to use white, see recipe notes). Recipe yields 4 generous servings.


  • 4 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup brown* basmati rice (regular, not quick-cooking), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup regular brown or green lentils**, picked over for debris, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-to-large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions (from 1 bunch), divided
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • Plain whole-milk or Greek yogurt, for serving
  • Spicy sauce, for serving (optional): shatta or zhoug or store-bought chili-garlic sauce or even sriracha


  1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, combine the garlic, bay leaves, cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt and about 20 twists of freshly ground black pepper. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once boiling, stir in the rice and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a controlled simmer, for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the lentils and let the mixture return to a simmer. Cover again, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender, about 20 to 23 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s warm enough that a slice of onion sizzles on contact, add the remaining onions. Stir to combine.
  5. Stir only every 3 minutes or so at first, then more often once the onions at the edges of the pan start browning. If the onions are browning before they have softened, dial down the heat to give them more time. Cook until the onions are deeply caramelized and starting to crisp at the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, line a large plate or cutting board with a couple paper towels.
  6. Using a slotted spoon or fish spatula, transfer the onions to the lined plate and spread them evenly across. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt over the onions. They’ll crisp up as they cool.
  7. When the lentils and rice are done cooking, drain off any excess water (if there is any) and return the mixture to the pot, off the heat. Lay a kitchen towel across the top of the pot to absorb steam, then cover the pot and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid, discard the bay leaves, and smash the garlic cloves against the side of the pan with a fork. Add about ¾ths of the green onions and cilantro, reserving the rest for garnish. Gently stir and fluff the rice with a fork. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  9. Transfer the rice and lentil mixture to a large serving platter or bowl. Top with the caramelized onions and the remaining green onions and cilantro. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, with yogurt and spicy sauce (optional) on the side.


*Brown rice notes: This recipe is specifically designed for regular (not quick-cooking) brown rice. Any variety of regular brown rice will theoretically work, though basmati is the most traditional choice. You can find brown basmati rice (Lundberg brand) at most well-stocked grocery stores, or you can buy it at Trader Joe’s (they sell both regular and quick-cooking brown basmati, so be sure to buy the regular).

*To make this recipe with white basmati rice instead: Cook the lentils in the boiling water first for about 10 minutes (until somewhat softened on the outside/still firm in the middle), then add the rice and cook until both lentils and rice are tender, about 25 minutes.

**Lentil notes: You want to use standard-issue uncooked brown or green lentils, not red or yellow lentils or fancy French green or black beluga lentils or canned lentils. Those all have different cooking times, which won’t work with these instructions. If you want to use a different type of lentil for this recipe, cook it in a separate pot from the rice, then stir them together before serving (canned lentils would simply need to be rinsed and drained before using).

Make it dairy free/vegan: This is easy! Replace the yogurt with something similarly creamy and tangy, like classic hummus or tahini sauce.

Prepare in advance: This recipe is a great candidate for making ahead. You could gently reheat the lentil and rice mixture and onions (reserve fresh herbs for the end), or just let it warm to room temperature.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram. Don't forget to tag @curiouscuisiniere!

If you liked this recipe, here are some similar dishes you may enjoy!

Maria Ushakova is a food blogger and recipe developer who loves creating easy and healthy recipes for her website When not researching the latest healthy food trends, Maria enjoys cooking Russian and Armenian dishes and exploring international cuisine. Maria is an aspiring food photographer and dog lover. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband Sedrak and their dog Toby. Follow Maria for healthy meal ideas, cooking tips, food photography and more on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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This is a great salad to make a couple of days in advance and keep in the fridge since it seems this salad gets better tasting as days go by. Lentil salad will keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The lemony salad dressing will keep for about 7 days in the fridge.

If you want to make this recipe far in advance, cook the lentils and freeze them for up to 3 months. Defrost the lentils in the refrigerator overnight then follow the salad recipe below.

Brown Lentils – some people know this lentil as green lentils. Either way, it’s always best to use dry lentils over canned. On the odd occasion I’ve used the canned variety which are typically smaller in appearance and a darker shade of brown. Canned lentils also not require to be par boiled as written below.

When using dry brown lentils, it’s best to wash them, sort them (if needed) and then soak them for about 30 minutes prior to using. This will quicken the cooking.

Rice – white rice is preferred, we prefer to use basmati as it cooks the quickest. My mum prefers to wash and soak her rice for about 10-15 minutes to rid extra starch. I personally don’t do this step. Both work well.

If you do give brown rice a try, let me know in the comments below – I would say the taste would be different as there is a distinct difference between the two rices. Note – brown rice will require longer cooking times.

Onion – white or brown onion are best. You will need to cut the onions 2 ways

  1. Finely diced, almost minced to be used within the mjadara – this is our family’s secret ingredient that really BOOSTS the flavour tenfold. Anyone who has eaten our mujaddara has always commented on how flavoursome it is.
  2. Finely sliced to be caramelised for topping the lentils and rice

Olive Oil – always opt for the best extra virgin olive oil, it really does make a difference in taste.

Salt – this is to taste

Fresh coconut salad

Yotam Ottolenghi's fresh coconut salad: A Thai-inspired taste sensation. Photograph: Colin Campbell for the Guardian Photograph: Colin Campbell for the Guardian

This salad, which combines prawns, coconut, papayas and cucumber, was inspired by Ottolenghi's Christmas holiday in Bankok. "One coconut should be enough here. Put it on a tea towel on a hard surface and hit it with a rolling pin. Once cracked, drain and break in two. Insert a knife between the flesh and shell to release the flesh." Find the full recipe here

Middle Eastern Meze Recipes

Penny De Los Santos

The meze-style spread—small plates, dips, and salads meant to be shared as an appetizer course or light meal—is common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East and one of our favorite ways to eat.

Bread is the heart of a meze meal. Homemade pita is easy, and much better than most of what you can buy. It’s great grilled with za’atar, a spice blend of wild thyme, tangy sumac, and toasted sesame seeds ubiquitous in the Middle East.

Dips are one of the main types of meze. Everyone is familiar with hummus. The creamy chickpea puree is a staple in the Middle East. We’ve got you covered with a recipe for a classic hummus, as well as versions topped with whole chickpeas and fried mushrooms. Other classic dips include baba ghannouj—made from mashed grilled eggplant—and labaneh—a tart yogurtlike cheese.

For hot meze, kebabs rule. Kafta kebabs are made of ground meat. Our Lebanese kafta are made of ground chuck and studded with sun-dried tomatoes and aleppo peppers. Our Persian ground meat and onion kebabs are similar, made with ground lamb and sirloin. Kebabs are also often made with chunks of meat, as in our pork or chicken kebabs.

Vegetables feature heavily in meze. No table is complete without tabbouleh—finely chopped fresh parsley and mint bathed in fruity extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, Also try fried artichokes and turnips marinated in yogurt.

Check out these dishes and more in our collection of Middle Eastern meze recipes!

Pita Bread

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Hummus with Tahini

This velvety dip is a classic—we like it garnished with pickles and served with plenty of toasted pita chips.

Mashed Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)

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Charred Eggplant with Chile Sauce & Tahini

Charring young eggplant over an open flame lends a smoky flavor to this dish from the Galilee. Get the recipe for Charred Eggplant with Chile Sauce & Tahini »

Artichokes with Lemon Za’atar Dipping Sauce

Za’atar is a mixture of sesame seeds, dried thyme, and spices ubiquitous in the Arab world. Here it’s used to make a lemony dip for simmered artichokes.

Yogurt and Cucumber Dip (Mast-o Khiar)

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Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice (Dolma)

This recipe for stuffed grape leaves uses both lemon juice and zest to enhance the flavor of the stuffing.

Grilled Pita Bread with Za’atar

This chewy flatbread topped with za’atar, a spice blend of wild thyme, tangy sumac, and toasted sesame seeds, can be either grilled outdoors or oven-baked and finished in a grill pan.

Emirati Grilled Prawns (Rubyan Meshwi)

At Abu Dhabi’s Al Arish restaurant, jumbo prawns are basted in a spicy-sweet ketchup-based sauce before they are grilled.

Galilean-Style Hummus (Hummus Maushaushe)

Generous spice, a good dose of olive oil, and chickpeas piled high are the hallmarks of this Galilean-style hummus.

Herb Meatballs in Tomato-Plum Sauce (Kufteh)

These tender meatballs are simmered in a sweet-tart tomato and dried plum sauce.

Spiced Chicken and Tomato Kebabs (Jujeh Kabab)

A marinade of orange, cumin, and saffron flavors these juicy chicken and tomato kebabs. Get the recipe for Spiced Chicken and Tomato Kebabs (Jujeh Kabab) »


Finely chopped fresh parsley and mint are bathed in fruity extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice in this classic Middle Eastern appetizer.

Man’oushé bil Za’atar (Flatbread with Za’atar)

Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix of wild thyme, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds, tops chewy flatbread in this iconic Lebanese snack.

Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce

We found this recipe—a flavorful local favorite, in which tender artichoke bottoms are fried and served with an intense, tahini-based sauce—at al-Az, a casual but well-known restaurant in Damascus. Get the recipe for Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce »

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese Tahini and Pine Nuts

These one-bite hors d’oeuvres are inspired by the ingredients of a classic Middle Eastern baba ganoush they can be served either cool or hot out of the oven. Get the recipe for Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese Tahini and Pine Nuts »

White Chocolate Baba Ghannouj

The famously smoky Middle Eastern eggplant puree reaches new heights of smoothness with the inclusion of white chocolate, which compliments the nutty flavor of tahini and the delicate spice of fresh garlic and paprika. Get the recipe for White Chocolate Baba Ghannouj »


Any way you make it, there is nothing like falafel’s first bite: the crisp-fried exterior giving way to a creamy center of seasoned mashed beans, garlic, and parsley.

Persian Ground Meat and Onion Kebabs

These kebabs are made of ground lamb and beef and seasoned with turmeric, paprika, and saffron.

Pork Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Sauce

Redolent of oregano and cinnamon, these pork kebabs owe their tenderness to a red wine marinade. Get the recipe for Pork Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Sauce »

Turnips with Yogurt and Tomatoes

Marinating turnips in salted yogurt draws out their excess moisture.

Shirazi Salad

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Flatbread with Lamb and Tomatoes (Lahmacun)

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Salata Adas (Garlicky Lentil Salad)

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Lebanese Beef Kebabs (Kafta)

Sun-dried tomatoes and Aleppo peppers stud these Lebanese kebabs.

Cipollini Onion Hummus

Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to this hummus, deepening its earthy flavors.

Persian Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

This refreshing yogurt dipping sauce is a perfect counterbalance to savory dishes.

Lamb and Bulgur Wheat Croquettes (Kibbeh)

These spiced croquettes are a classic Middle Eastern snack. Get the recipe for Lamb and Bulgur Wheat Croquettes (Kibbeh) »

Tahini Dip (Techina)

Brightened with lemon and garlic, tahini becomes a bright, creamy dip—try it with warm pita, or sliced vegetables.

Hummus with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms

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Eggplant and Yogurt Dip (Borani-e Bademjan)


You Call It Balsamic Vinegar. In Emilia-Romagna, It’s Black Gold.

So much more than a condiment, Italy’s Aceto Balsamico is steeped in family legacy and centuries of tradition.

Basic Lentil Salad

This basic lentil salad is bursting with flavor and loaded with plant-based protein and fiber, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. The balance of nutrients makes it a perfect meal on its own, or served as a side dish.

Are lentils part of your meal rotation?

Lentils are tiny legumes that come in a wide range of colors. They’re common in many different cuisines, but are a main staple in Indian and Middle Eastern cultures.

Though tiny, legumes are filled with loads of nutrition. A ½ cup serving of cooked lentils provides

12 grams of plant-based protein. They are also a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. The combination of protein and fiber is great to keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals.

Lentils are also a great source of folate, and are rich in magnesium, iron, B-vitamins and many other vitamins and minerals. They’re also inexpensive, and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes to boost the protein content.

How To Make Basic Lentil Salad

To make this basic lentil salad, you’ll need to cook all of the ingredients separately, first.

STEP #1 – Cook The Lentils

Like beans, lentils are available both canned and dried. Buying them canned is convenient if you are in a hurry, because they don’t require any additional cooking. Dried lentils will need to be cooked prior to eating or assembling this salad. The good news is, of all dried legumes, lentils cook the quickest. I prefer using the dried version, since they are lower in sodium.

Unlike beans, lentils don’t have to be soaked before cooking. They do, however, need to be thoroughly rinsed. It’s also important to sift through them, removing any stones that you find. Finding stones is rare, but it does happen. If you find them, toss them prior to cooking.

To cook the lentils, simmer them in a pot of water until they are tender. They take about 1 hour to cook, but the exact time depends on the type of lentil you are using. You can follow the instructions on the package for more precise cooking instructions.

In general, one cup of dried lentils will yield 2 – 2 ½ cups of cooked. Any dried lentils that you don’t use should be out in an air-tight container and stored in a cool, dry place.

One they finish cooking, drain them in a colander and run them under cold water. Then transfer them to a large bowl, to further cool.

STEP #2 – Corn The Corn

I use frozen corn for this recipe, but if you prefer, you can substitute it with canned. Just know that the sodium content of the final salad will be higher than what is listed in the nutrition facts. Canned corn is pre-cooked, so it does not require any additional cooking. If you use canned corn, rinse and drain it first, then combine it with the lentils.

I prefer to use frozen corn, to keep the sodium content down. To cook frozen corn, put it in a microwave safe dish with

2 tablespoons of water. Cover and steam for

10 minutes, or until corn is cooked. Add the cooked corn to the bowl of lentils.

STEP #3 – Prepare The Kidney Beans

Contrary to the corn, I use canned beans for this recipe. You can use dried beans, if you prefer. If you do, they will need to soak and cook prior to assembling the salad.

If using canned kidney beans, open a can, then dump them into a colander to rinse and drain. Add beans to the corn and lentils.

STEP #4 – Chop The Parsley

Rinse a bunch of fresh parsley, then chop on a cutting board. Add ¼ cup to the bowl of beans, lentils and corn. Gently toss.

STEP #5 – Make The Dressing

In a separate bowl, whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt and black pepper together. Drizzle dressing over salad ingredients and gently stir.

STEP #6 – Refrigerate

Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then transfer to the refrigerator. Chill salad to allow flavored to blend and the dressing to absorb into the beans and lentils.

This recipe is kept simple for those that are not as comfortable in the kitchen, but don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own favorite flavors. You can enjoy this cold salad at home or take it with you for a balanced meal on the go.

Nutrition In Basic Lentil Salad

This recipe makes 6 cups of basic lentil salad. I set the serving size at 3/4 cup, which is enough for a snack, or side dish to a meal.

One serving provides 250 calories, 36 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams of protein and 8 g fat. It’s a great source of fiber, providing per serving.

If you use dried lentils, frozen corn and dried beans, as I do, one serving will provide mg of sodium. If you used canned corn, the sodium content will be higher. Using dried beans will lower the sodium content.

This salad also provides a wide range of vitamin and minerals, such as folate, calcium, potassium and 15% of the daily value of iron.

Watch the video: Healthy u0026 Fresh Lentil Salad Recipe. GetFitWithLeyla (January 2022).