Savor the Coolness: Cold Lentil Salad for a Healthy Summer Feast

When the summer heat is on, a refreshing and nutritious dish like Cold Lentil Salad becomes a perfect choice for a healthy dinner. Packed with protein and vibrant flavors, this salad combines cooked lentils with a medley of diced red onion, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and a simple dressing made with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Enhance the taste with a sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley or basil, and you have a delicious and satisfying meal ready to enjoy.

Cold Lentil Salad best for healthy summer dinner recipes cold

Cook Time and Servings

The preparation time for Cold Lentil Salad is approximately 30 minutes, while the cooking time for the lentils themselves may vary between 20 to 30 minutes. This recipe yields four generous servings, making it suitable for a family dinner or for meal prepping and enjoying throughout the week.

How to Make Cold Lentil Salad


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Handful of fresh parsley or basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cooking the Lentils:
    • Rinse 1 cup of lentils thoroughly under running water and drain.
    • In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
    • Add the rinsed lentils to the boiling water.
    • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the lentils for 20-30 minutes or until they are tender but still hold their shape.
    • Drain the cooked lentils and set them aside to cool.
  2. Preparing the Salad:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked lentils, diced red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, and diced bell pepper.
    • Gently toss the ingredients together to distribute them evenly.
  3. Creating the Dressing:
    • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar until well combined.
    • Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Dressing the Salad:
    • Pour the dressing over the lentil mixture in the large mixing bowl.
    • Use a spatula or spoon to gently toss the salad, ensuring that all the ingredients are coated with the dressing.
  5. Adding Fresh Herbs:
    • Finely chop a handful of fresh parsley or basil.
    • Sprinkle the herbs over the salad.
  6. Seasoning and Final Toss:
    • Season the salad with additional salt and pepper to taste.
    • Give the salad a final gentle toss to incorporate all the ingredients and flavors.
  7. Serving:
    • Divide the Cold Lentil Salad into individual serving bowls or plates.
    • If desired, garnish with additional fresh herbs for added freshness and a squeeze of lemon juice for extra tanginess.

Now you have a delicious Cold Lentil Salad ready to be enjoyed as a healthy summer dinner or a refreshing side dish.

Helpful Tips

  1. Customize Your Salad: Feel free to add additional vegetables such as cucumber, celery, or avocado for extra crunch and flavor.
  2. Boost the Protein: For an extra protein punch, mix in some crumbled feta cheese or diced grilled chicken.
  3. Make Ahead: Prepare the lentils and chop the vegetables ahead of time to save on prep time. Combine everything just before serving for the freshest flavors.


Can I use canned lentils instead of cooking them from scratch?

Yes, canned lentils can be used as a convenient alternative. Ensure they are thoroughly rinsed and drained before adding to the salad.

Can I make this salad in advance?

Absolutely! Cold Lentil Salad can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Just add the fresh herbs and dressing right before serving.

Can I substitute the red wine vinegar?

If you don’t have red wine vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar as a substitute.

Can I freeze Cold Lentil Salad?

While it is possible to freeze the salad, it’s worth noting that freezing may affect the texture of the vegetables and herbs. If you choose to freeze it, do so without the dressing. Place the salad in an airtight container or freezer bag, ensuring it is properly sealed to prevent freezer burn. When ready to consume, thaw the salad in the refrigerator overnight and add the dressing and fresh herbs just before serving.


To store Cold Lentil Salad in the refrigerator, transfer it to an airtight container and keep it chilled. It will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. However, it’s important to note that the vegetables and herbs may lose their crispness over time.

Nutritional Information

Cold Lentil Salad is not only delicious but also a nutritious choice for a summer meal. Here’s a breakdown of the approximate nutritional information per serving:

  • Calories: 250-300
  • Protein: 12-15g
  • Carbohydrates: 30-35g
  • Fat: 10-12g
  • Fiber: 8-10g

Please keep in mind that these values are approximate and can vary based on the specific ingredients and quantities used.

Cold Lentil Salad is a delightful and refreshing option for a healthy summer dinner. Its combination of cooked lentils, vibrant vegetables, and zesty dressing creates a burst of flavors that will leave your taste buds satisfied. With the flexibility to customize and make-ahead, this salad offers convenience without compromising on taste or nutrition. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or looking for a quick meal prep option, Cold Lentil Salad is sure to impress. Enjoy the vibrant colors and nourishing goodness of this culinary creation all summer long!