This zesty and fresh Black Lentil Salad includes cucumber, tomato, cilantro, chewy farro, and seasoned lentils. Top with lemon tahini dressing and vegan feta for a healthy main-course salad brimming with nutrition and flavor!
It's official. We love this salad. In fact, after Mark tasted it for the first time his exact words were, "Can you make this every week?"
Gorgeous black lentils are the star in a few other recipes on the blog, but this is their first appearance in a salad. Paired with colorful, crisp veggies, lemon dressing, and chewy farro, there is so much to love here!
This salad is also a breeze to pull together. Stored separately, the components are perfect for meal prep, making it easy to assemble this salad on busy weekdays.
More ways to use black lentils:
How To Make Black Lentil Salad
I usually share a few process photos in my recipe posts, but honestly, a photo of black lentils cooking mostly just looks like a dark and murky mess. Ha! Not exactly helpful.
But also, I promise this salad is VERY easy to prepare. The instructions will walk you through everything, including how to cook the black lentils in the Instant Pot if you have one.
The basic process flows like this (scroll down for the complete recipe):
- Cook the farro. I used this quick-cooking farro I found at Whole Foods. But some varieties of farro take up to 50 minutes to cook. So you'll want to check the package, and make sure you know the cook time for the variety you're using. If you use the quick variety, you can cook the black lentils first.
- Cook the lentils. I love using the Instant Pot for this, but you can also cook them on the stovetop. The lentils are cooked in broth with dried thyme, a clove of garlic, and a strip of lemon peel. In the IP, cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release. On the stovetop, bring everything to a boil, then simmer the lentils for 20 to 25 minutes. Once done, drain in a strainer, remove the lemon peel, and mash the garlic clove.
- Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a fork until smooth.
- Prep the veggies. While the lentils and farro cook, chop the cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro.
- Assemble the salad. Arrange a generous layer of arugula, then top with farro, lentils, fresh veggies, and feta. Serve with dressing on the side.
Tips and Substitutions
- Allow the farro and lentils to cool for a few minutes before assembling the salad. This helps keep everything crisp. It's best if they're room temp or slightly warm.
- For meal prep, store each component separately, then briefly warm the farro and lentils before assembling the salad (this is mainly for food safety but also for flavor).
- Or if you've already assembled a large amount of salad and have some leftover, it will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two.
- For a gluten-free dish, try wild or brown rice, quinoa, or GF pasta instead of farro.
- Flavor tip! Don't skimp on the lemon, feta, and red onion. These add loads of flavor and zip!
I hope you enjoy this Vegan Black Lentil Salad. If you try the recipe be sure to comment below and let us know how it turned out!
More Vegan Salads:
Black Lentil Salad
For the lentils:
- 1 cup dry black lentils Sub green, brown, or French Puy lentils if desired.
- 1 clove garlic, peeled, whole
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 lemon peel, about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup water
For the farro:
- ¾ cup uncooked farro Sub quinoa, wild rice, or small pasta if desired.
- pinch of sea salt
For the dressing (or use your favorite lemon vinaigrette):
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
For the salad:
- 4 ounces baby arugula
- 1 English cucumber, chopped
- ½ medium red onion, diced
- 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large handful cilantro leaves and small stems, chopped
- 3 to 4 ounces vegan feta cheese or homemade queso fresco (for oil-free)
- lemon wedges
- Cook the farro according to package directions. I used a quick-cooking (10 minute) Italian farro, but other varieties may take up to 50 minutes. When the farro is done, strain any excess liquid, and return farro to the pot. Sprinkle with salt, stir, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Rinse and sort the lentils.
- To prepare the lentils in an Instant Pot, combine all ingredients in the IP insert. Lock on the lid, and set to sealing. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure. Carefully remove the lid, and check the texture of the lentils. I prefer lentils on the firm side for salads, but if you prefer them softer, re-secure the lid and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. When done, strain the lentils and discard the liquid. Return lentils to the pot. Remove lemon peel, mash the clove of garlic against the side of the pot, and stir it into the lentils. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.
- To prepare the lentils on the stovetop, combine all ingredients in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils are as tender as you like. Strain the lentils, and return to the pot. Discard the lemon peel. Smash the garlic clove against the inside of the pot, and stir to distribute. Set lentils aside for a few minutes to cool.
- Make the dressing. Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl, and whisk with a fork until smooth. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad beginning with a bed of arugula, then arrange the farro and lentils. Top with cucumber, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and feta. Serve with lemon wedges and dressing on the side.