French Lentil Salad with Fresh Herbs
This French Lentil Salad recipe is a flavourful combination of fresh ingredients that are simple to prepare in 30 minutes.
Why This Recipe Works
The base of the dish is French green lentils, also known as Puy lentils, which hold their shape when cooked, making them perfect for salads.
The sweet potatoes are tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted until caramelized to add a touch of sweetness to the salad.
The tangy aromatic dressing features shallot, white wine vinegar, garlic and Dijon for a zesty combination that brings everything together and complements the earthy lentils and sweet potatoes, and the fresh herbs add a pop of freshness to the salad.
Finely, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and a finely diced vegetables add more flavor, texture and crunch. If you’re looking for a simple salad made with wholesome ingredients that’s perfect for making in advance and can be served as a main dish or side, you’ll love this French lentil salad!
- Sweet Potato: Technically optional so feel free to skip it if you’re short on time or don’t have a sweet potato on hand. I like the sweetness and variety it adds to the salad. You could substitute any winter squash, roasted cauliflower or another roasted vegetable.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need some oil for roasting the sweet potato and making the salad dressing. You can use your preferred cooking oil for roasting but a good extra-virgin olive oil is suggested for the dressing.
- Lentils: Use French green lentils or black beluga lentils. You can substitute regular green or brown lentils.
- Shallot: You’ll need one small shallot or roughly 2-3 tbsp minced for the salad dressing. If you don’t have one available, it’s ok to omit this ingredient.
- Dijon Mustard: You can use any Dijon mustard or whole grain mustard of choice.
- Vinegar: Red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar is suggested. You can substitute apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Balsamic vinegar would also work but I prefer white wine vinegar for this recipe.
- Fresh Herbs: The recipe calls for fresh mint, parsley and chives. Mix and match with other herbs like dill, cilantro and basil.
- Cranberries: Substitute raisins or chopped dates.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Substitute sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, almonds or pistachios.
This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.
Variations & Additions
This salad is easily customizable and there’s no need to be exact with the veggies so you can easily mix and match to make it your own.
- Chop up 2-3 cups of cauliflower and roast them with the sweet potato, or use instead of sweet potato.
- Serve topped with crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese.
- Red bell peppers can be added in addition to the other vegetables or as a substitute for one of them.
- For a bit of heat, add up to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes to the salad dressing.
- Mix in a handful of any salad greens or baby spinach at the end to add greens to the salad.
Step 1: Cube the sweet potato and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking tray. Roast for about 20-25 minutes at 400 F.
Step 2: Rinse the lentils in cold water then add to a medium pot with 3 cups water. Add the garlic powder and generously salt.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and lightly simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils if there is any excess water remaining.
Step 3: Add all of the salad dress ingredients to a large mixing bowl or serving bowl and whisk to combine.
Step 4: Chop the celery, onion, carrot and fresh herbs.
Step 5: Add the cooked lentils, roasted sweet potatoes, vegetables, cranberries and pumpkin seeds to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine.
Yes. They’ll have a slightly different flavor and texture than French lentils but they can be used in the recipe, swapped 1:1.
No. This recipe is best with French lentils (lentilles du puy or le puy lentils), black beluga lentils or regular green or brown lentils.
You can store this salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It can be either. With warm lentils added right after cooking it will be a warm salad. After storing, it can be served at room temperature, chilled or lightly heated in the microwave.
More Salad Recipes
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A lentil salad made with French lentils, vegetables and herbs and zesty dressing for a healthy, hearty dish packed with fresh flavors.
For the Sweet Potato & Lentils
- 1 medium sweet potato, cubed (roughly 1 cup, 200g)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (15 mL)
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup French green lentils or black beluga lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
For the Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (60 mL)
- 2–3 tbsp minced shallot
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
For the Salad
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tbsp cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives, basil or dill
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced (roughly 1 cup, 150 g)
- 1 rib celery, diced (roughly 1/2 cup, 75 g)
- 1/2 a red onion, diced (roughly 1/2 cup, 75 g)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (65 g)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (60 g)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Roast Sweet Potato: Cut the sweet potato into evenly sized 1/4-inch cubes. Place on a baking tray and add the 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper and toss to coat. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until tender.
- Cook Lentils: Rinse the lentils then add to a medium pot with 3 cups of water. Salt generously and add the garlic powder. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat then cover and reduce the heat to low and maintain a light simmer for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain off any excess liquid.
- Mix Dressing: In a large mixing or serving bowl, add the olive oil, shallot, garlic, mustard and vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk to fully combine. Set aside for now.
- Prepare Fresh Ingredients: Finely chop the fresh herbs and red onion. Small dice the celery and carrot.
- Mix Salad: Once the lentils and sweet potato are ready, add to the bowl with the dressing the rest of the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and black pepper, if needed. Serve right away with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired, and a few fresh mint leaves for garnish.
Store lentil salad in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Serve at room temperature, chilled or lightly warmed in the microwave.
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6-8 as a side dish. Nutrition facts are for 1 of 6 servings.
- Serving Size: 1/6
- Calories: 331
- Sugar: 13 g
- Sodium: 596 mg
- Fat: 15 g
- Carbohydrates: 41 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 11 g
Keywords: french lentil salad