Cumin lentil salad

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10 min


3 cups

* PLUS Cooking time: 35 minutes


  • 1 cup dried green or brown lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil , or other vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar , or red-wine vinegar
  • 2 sweet bell peppers , 1 red and 1 green, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro , or Italian parsley (optional)


  • Measure out lentils and spread out on a jelly-roll pan or baking sheet. Remove any small stones or stems. Place in a sieve and rinse under cold running water.
  • Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with water, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above lentils. Cover and quickly bring to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more boiling water if necessary to keep lentils covered during cooking time. Then, drain well.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop onion. Heat oil in a large frying pan set over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin and salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and drained lentils. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature, or refrigerate until cooled to room temperature.
  • Sprinkle with chopped red and green pepper for added color and crunch, if you like, as well as fresh cilantro. Salad is best served at room temperature.

Lentils do not require soaking and cook “from scratch” in 30 minutes. This salad has an exceptionally good texture, lively earthy flavor, and there is enough protein provided by the lentils to serve as dinner.

Make ahead

Salad can be completely made ahead of time and refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.