Curried Lentil Salad

You all know that I love lentils. They’re delicious and healthy, but they’re also versatile. Once they’re cooked, you can serve them as a side dish, as an entrée, a soup, a dip, or a salad!

Well this salad I’m posting on today is delicious year ’round. It’s equally good in the winter as the summer months, and every month in between. It’s a lentil salad tossed with a curried garlic-citrus dressing. The dressing I made is as important as the salad itself.

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I feel it’s very important to match dressings or vinaigrettes to salad ingredients, which is why I prefer to make my own dressings from scratch. And when it comes to salads made predominantly, if not exclusively with legumes, I find that lemon- or lime-based dressings are preferable over vinegar. And I love vinegar, don’t get me wrong. There’s just something about that acidity that pairs well with the legumes. I find it true with grain salads as well.

So today’s salad is a combination of cooked lentils, with some celery, carrots, and dried pomegranate seeds. Good, but not great. In addition, I’ve made a fabulous lemon juice-based dressing with a little twist. I hope you enjoy it.

I am not posting an exact recipe, because none is needed. Just go with what you like in the salad as well as with the dressing. Remember – no rules. It’s your food, you make it how you like it!

Lentil Salad

For the salad, I simply borrowed some lentils that I’d cooked the day before. Make sure the lentils are well-drained for the salad, if there’s an abundance of cooking liquid with the lentils. Alternatively, or use a slotted spoon to collect them. Then place the lentils in a medium-sized serving bowl, depending how big your salad is going to be.

To the lentils add thinly sliced celery and carrots. You could also add shallots or purple onions as well.

At this point, taste the lentil salad and make sure it is well seasoned. There’s no need going forward if the lentils aren’t seasoned to your liking. Salt and pepper should do the trick.

I cook my lentils, typically, in water with a chicken broth powder added. It’s a wonderful I’ve talked about before, that I buy in 1 lb. packages online. The chicken flavor of the broth adds enough seasoning to the lentils so that for me, no more is required. It “rounds” out the lentil flavor nicely. And the powder is much less expensive than purchasing broth.

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Toss the salad gently, and then make the dressing.

Curried Garlic Citrus Dressing

Juice of 3 lemons, strained, about 1/3 cup
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons orange-infused oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

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In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, and oils. Then add the garlic and seasoning.

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Give everything a good stir, and you’re ready to go.

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Place the lentil salad in bowls for serving, and top with the dried pomegranate seeds. Raisins or dried cherries would work just as well.

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Add as much of the dressing you want to each salad; I like a generous amount.

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Toss gently to get the lentils coated with the dressing, and enjoy.

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This salad is best slightly warmed or at room temperature.

By Published On: January 31st, 201458 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

58 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller January 31, 2014 at 9:15 AM - Reply

    I love lentils too and this is a delicious recipe.

  2. viveka January 31, 2014 at 9:43 AM - Reply

    Wonderful colorful .. and tasteful – the dressing I will try out.

  3. thecompletebook January 31, 2014 at 9:45 AM - Reply

    Another fantastic recipe Mimi. Love the idea of a curried lentil salad.
    Have a super weekend.
    :-) Mandy xo

  4. bloodybest January 31, 2014 at 9:47 AM - Reply

    This looks delicious! Not a fan of celery though (surprising, right? bloody marys). What would you suggest as a substitute?

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM - Reply

      Hahahaha! There’s no substitute, because it’s not a necessity. I just wanted some crunch, so I included celery and carrots. There are so many different ways to go. You could always add chopped red bell pepper for some nice crunch, plus some purple onion!

  5. Elaine @ foodbod January 31, 2014 at 10:55 AM - Reply

    What a beautiful image, it looks almost too good to eat!!

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 11:35 AM - Reply

      thanks so much! But i did eat the whole salad… actually!

  6. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs January 31, 2014 at 10:59 AM - Reply

    The colors are so beautiful in this salad. I’m quite certain it’s just as delicious as it is beautiful… I love lentils. :-)

  7. emmabarrett1508 January 31, 2014 at 11:05 AM - Reply

    I love the colours in this salad. It is too beautiful to eat.

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 11:35 AM - Reply

      I ate the whole thing. I did. It would be wonderful with some grilled chicken, as well…

  8. Susan Pridmore January 31, 2014 at 11:16 AM - Reply

    Lentils are such a great way for me to get protein, and they cook up so nice and fast too. Love this salad, and love Penzey’s !!!

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 11:34 AM - Reply

      I pity people who haven’t tried lentils yet!!! They really are fabulous and healthy!

  9. Serena January 31, 2014 at 1:31 PM - Reply

    Looks so tantalizing with all those luscious colors!

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 9:47 AM - Reply

      Thank you! Like I’ve said before – good food is pretty food!

  10. apuginthekitchen January 31, 2014 at 1:58 PM - Reply

    What a beautiful salad, I too love lentils and with all those crunchy vegetables and delicious dressing, fantastic.

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 9:48 AM - Reply

      I like crunchy. I love a salad that takes one hour to eat!!!

  11. {Main St. Cuisine} January 31, 2014 at 2:14 PM - Reply

    I’ve been admiring these types of beautiful, colorful salads recently! And, lentils are one of my favorites, not too mention they are incredibly filling and healthy! This is the type of thing I love to have for a weekday lunch. Thank you, chef!

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 9:47 AM - Reply

      You are so welcome. I also love putting lentils on green salads for some extra ooomph!

  12. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward January 31, 2014 at 2:34 PM - Reply

    The colors are so pretty, Mimi, and your vinaigrette sounds lovely. I noticed your no-broth veggie powder – I use a similar, organic and low-sodium one. This is such a beautiful and healthy recipe! :-)

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 9:46 AM - Reply

      Frontier makes a vegetable broth but I don’t like it as well. The chicken broth is actually no-meat, and I really like the flavor. I like having the powder so you can use as much or little as you want!

  13. yummychunklet January 31, 2014 at 3:58 PM - Reply

    Creative way to prep lentils!

  14. Theresa January 31, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Reply

    This looks great and sounds wonderful. I’m headed into the house to put on the lentils right now! You just inspired dinner tonight. Thanks.

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 9:49 AM - Reply

      It would be fabulous with the addition of grilled chicken as well! And some goat cheese… oh, the possibilities are endless!

      • Theresa February 1, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        We grilled a couple of small lamb chops. The lentils were superb. The husband even commented that he really liked the recipe.

      • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        How nice!

  15. tinywhitecottage January 31, 2014 at 6:58 PM - Reply

    What a beautiful winter salad.

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 9:45 AM - Reply

      It is. But I really do make a similar salad during all seasons. I think the lemon juice keeps things light! And perhaps in the summer I would just throw in a few currants or raisins…

  16. pepperminting January 31, 2014 at 8:51 PM - Reply

    This looks AMAZING!!! And healthy!

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 9:42 AM - Reply

      Definitely healthy! I wish more people ate lentils!

  17. Three Well Beings January 31, 2014 at 11:24 PM - Reply

    I love lentils and curry, but have never combined the two. This is so appealing!

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 9:43 AM - Reply

      I’m pretty sure you’d love it, since you already love curry flavors!

  18. trixpin February 1, 2014 at 6:15 AM - Reply

    What lovely vibrant colours, and I particularly like the photo of the dressing drizzling over the salad spectacular!
    The dressing sounds very unique and delicious. I often use passata on my salad and always pep it up with cumin, garlic and turmeric – I think spices add a lovely warmth and depth to vegetable dishes like this.

  19. eliotthecat February 1, 2014 at 1:37 PM - Reply

    I have never had lentils in salads…only soups. This dressing looks too delicious!

    • chef mimi February 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM - Reply

      I not only love lentil salads, I love adding lentils to salads. It makes them a little more meaty. Especially warmed up! They’re good with salmon, or chicken, as well, on salads!

  20. saucygander February 1, 2014 at 6:01 PM - Reply

    Hello Chef Mimi, I can’t believe it had taken this long for me to visit your blog, you have great recipes and food ideas. I’ve been trying for a decent lentil salad for weekday dinners, this looks like a great base to use and try other add-ins. Thank you!

    • chef mimi February 2, 2014 at 8:51 AM - Reply

      I can’t believe it either!!!! I also like adding cooked lentils to green salads, as well as those containing grilled chicken or salmon. But, I love lentils!

  21. DellaCucinaPovera February 2, 2014 at 8:13 AM - Reply

    Looks absolutely delicious… love all the colors :)

  22. kitchenriffs February 2, 2014 at 12:55 PM - Reply

    I love lentils! And eat them curried in dal all the time. But a curried salad? Haven’t done that. But will! Good recipe — thanks.

    • chef mimi February 2, 2014 at 2:17 PM - Reply

      Oh, it’s really good. Hope you’ll try it!

  23. Gintare M. (Gourmantine) February 3, 2014 at 5:30 AM - Reply

    Gorgeous salad and the dressing sounds incredible!

  24. myhomefoodthatsamore February 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM - Reply

    I love lentils, I love salads, I love strong fragrant tastes … and with these amazing colours, too, it reminds me of the confetti that get copiously strewn around the week before Ash Wednesday, during Carnevale. I am going to call this ‘carnevale salad’ even though there is so much of India in it!

    • chef mimi February 3, 2014 at 12:57 PM - Reply

      What a beautiful comment. Thank you.

  25. A Taste of Wintergreen February 6, 2014 at 9:15 PM - Reply

    This is way up my alley. Will definitely make it. Oh and your photographs are beautiful – thank you for posting!

    • chef mimi February 7, 2014 at 8:44 AM - Reply

      Thank you! This is my kind of meal as well.

  26. Kiki September 21, 2018 at 2:16 PM - Reply

    That salad sounds and looks really good, but the dressing especially so. Right up my alley. Glad you posted on IG about this today, because dressings is something I’m really not good at. When I experiment, I usually end up with something citrus based, which is probably why this one sounds so good to me. Love all the ingredients in it and will try it out asap!

    • chef mimi September 21, 2018 at 2:37 PM - Reply

      I used to teach classes in making vinaigrette’s and dressings! I just love customizing them to salads. thanks!

  27. lisa~ November 25, 2019 at 1:51 PM - Reply

    this was superb on all levels! we added red pepper, red onion, celery and carrot to the salad. in the vinaigrette we added some chipotle tabasco and sriracha sauce because we like food spicy. i will add pomegranate arils and quinoa in the future to round the meal out. thank you so much!

    if people don’t like the taste of things – they need to season to their own liking. but recipes like this are a great basis to build upon – fabulous!

    • chef mimi November 26, 2019 at 6:43 AM - Reply

      You’re so right. When I cook for my husband, we spice things up. When I have company, I tone everything down. I have a girlfriend who once choked on mild salsa!!! To me, every recipe is a great base, and I think creativity is important, because not all recipes are meant to be followed to a T. Thanks for making it!

  28. lisa~ November 25, 2019 at 1:53 PM - Reply

    oh – and also i added grated mandarin orange as i didn’t have orange infused oil. i didn’t add more oil but i prefer vinaigrettes slightly acidic!

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