Lentil Ink Salad Recipe – Moving on to Real Food

This lentil kale salad is packed with bold flavor and makes a perfect choice for meal prep or a healthy snack any night of the week.

Overhead view of a large bowl of a kale salad with lentils, artichoke hearts, cucumber, feta, tomatoes and olives.

About this recipe

This lentil kale salad makes a delicious and nutritious lunch or dinner that’s easy to whip up with minimal effort.

It features kale, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes and a tangy shallot Dijon vinaigrette to combine. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate more lentils and kale into your diet, this is a great way to do it!

It can be made with green, brown or French lentils or you can also use canned lentils to make it quick and easy. It holds up well to meal prep, is easy to customize with different swaps and additions, and tastes only better the next day.

It’s also great to bring to gatherings and is vegetarian and gluten-free so works well for those with dietary restrictions. You’ll love the delicious mix of flavors and textures that make this salad stand out.

what do you want

This section provides notes on components and possible replacements. Please scroll down the page to find printable recipe cards with ingredient measurements.

All the ingredients are gathered to make a vegan lentil kale salad with Dijon dressing, artichokes, cucumbers, tomatoes and almonds.  Each element is labeled in the text overlay.

For the salad

  • Lentils: You can use green, brown or black lentils in this recipe. Do not use red lentils.
  • bay leaf: Optional for cooking lentils.
  • in time: You can use any type of kale but I prefer Tuscan or Lacinto kale.
  • olive: The recipe calls for kalamata olives but you can substitute chopped black olives if you have them.
  • Artichoke hearts: Use oxidized marinated artichoke hearts.
  • cucumber: Use fresh cucumber or substitute something like red bell pepper.
  • tomato: Use cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • cashew nuts: You can use slivered almonds or chop whole almonds. Raw or dry roasted almonds work. You can substitute walnuts or pecans or in nut-free recipes, pepitas or sunflower seeds.
  • beat up: Optional but a delicious addition to a vegan feta salad. You can use store bought or try this tofu feta recipe.

For the dressing

  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is best for flavor.
  • Red wine vinegar: You can substitute apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Maple syrup: Honey or agave syrup would be suitable substitutes.
  • Herbs and spices: You will need dried thyme and cumin seeds.
  • garlic: Use raw garlic or substitute 1 tsp garlic powder.
  • shallot: Shallot is best but if you don’t have shallot you can substitute very thinly sliced ​​red onion.
Holding a bowl of a lentil and kale salad with olives, tomatoes and beetroot.

How to Make (with Pictures)

Step 1: Cook the lentils

Add lentils to a pot with 4 cups of water, bay leaf and some salt. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the lentils for 22-26 minutes until they are tender but not mushy.

The exact cooking time will depend on the type of lentils.

Quick Instructions: Short on time? Use canned lentils!

Green lentils cooked in a pot with a bay leaf.

Step 2: Make the Dressing

In a large mixing bowl or salad serving bowl, or even a food storage container if you’re making this for a meal, add the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, dijon, thyme, cumin, and garlic.

Mix it well with salt and pepper. Add shallot and mix again.

We like to give the shallots some time to marinate in the dressing so they soften and not be so sharp in flavor.

A shallot and garlic vinaigrette is mixed together in a large glass mixing bowl.

Step 3: Massage the kale

Add the kale to the bowl first and toss or massage with the dressing. This helps soften the kale.

Mix the kale with the dressing in a large mixing bowl.

Step 4: Assemble the Salad

In bowl or bowl with dressing, add kale and toss or massage to coat. Add the cooked lentils and remaining salad ingredients and mix. Serve with vegan feta if desired!

A lentil salad with tomatoes, almonds, cucumber and artichoke hearts in a bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use canned lentils in this recipe?

Yes. To use canned lentils, use a 19 oz can and rinse well before use.

Is it hot or cold salad?

It will be warm when you add the lentils, and you can definitely serve it that way, but since the other ingredients are fresh, it’s a cold salad.

You can cook and cool the lentils before adding them, or mix and chill them in the fridge before serving a cold salad.

A large bowl of a kale salad with lentils, cucumbers, feta, tomatoes and olives.

Variations and additions

  • Add a 15 ounce can of drained and rinsed chickpeas.
  • Add up to 1/2 cup dried cranberries, dates, raisins or currants.
  • Add up to 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Add 1-2 cups of cooked quinoa.
Place a few pieces of kale, cucumber, olives and tomatoes on a wooden spoon over a bowl of kale salad.
Two bowls of lentil salad, kale, tomato and cucumber topped with feta cheese.

Have you tried this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.


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A flavorful lentil kale salad thanks to bold ingredients like artichoke hearts, olives, tangy shallot vinaigrette, and feta.

For the salad

For the dressing

  1. Cook the lentils: In a medium bowl, add lentils, 4 cups water, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil. When it boils, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 22-26 minutes until lentils are tender. Discard the lentils. Discard the bay leaves.
  2. Make the dressing: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, dijon, thyme, cumin, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk to combine. Add shallot and mix again. Set aside. (Note: You’ll want to allow time for the shallots to marinate in the dressing so they’re not so sharp in flavor.)
  3. Prepare the salad: While the lentils are cooking, chop the cucumber and tomatoes and prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
  4. Assemble the salad: To bowl with dressing, add kale. Toss or massage to coat. Add the cooked lentils, olives, artichokes, cucumber, tomatoes and half the toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper, then toss again to combine.
  5. Serving: Serve the salad with the remaining almonds sprinkled on top. Top with vegan feta, if desired.


Serves 4 as a main dish or 6+ as a side dish. Nutritional information for 6 servings


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 343
  • Sugar: 4 grams
  • Sodium: 245 mg
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Sugars: 32 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Protein: 12 grams

Keywords: Lentil Kale Salad

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