Lebanese Lentil Tabbouleh (Vegan Lentil Salad)

5 from 4 votes
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This simple Lebanese lentil tabbouleh salad swaps out bulgur wheat for protein-dense green lentils, for a super herby, flavorful vegan lentil salad! Prepare in just minutes then store as meal-prep or serve at BBQs, potlucks, picnics, and garden parties. Plus, this cold lentil salad recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan!

Lentil salad in a bowl

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Lentil Tabbouleh: A Herby Middle Eastern Cold Lentil Salad

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to admit that I eat regular tabbouleh several times a week. However, after recently sharing a process on how to make your own bulgur, I was left with a short period of time where I had none to hand (while the wheat dried) and got a craving for tabbouleh. With a quick look at what was available, this lentil tabbouleh was born!

By using green lentils, this tabbouleh salad is naturally gluten-free, protein-dense, and packed with fiber and over minerals/vitamins too. When combined with the fresh herbs, tomato, cucumber, and simple lemon and oil-based dressing, this cold lentil salad recipe sings with fresh, bright, and light flavors. Leave it to marinate, and it’ll taste even better. Now it’s become a staple alongside other Middle Eastern salads including fattoush, fatteh, and this Shirazi salad (Persian cucumber onion tomato salad).

Lentil salad in a bowl

Best of all, if you’re using tinned lentils, this vegan lentil salad recipe can be prepped in practically just a few minutes. The results are a wonderful summery salad. Not only does it pair with tons of dishes, but it travels well, and would be at home as a part of a picnic, potluck, BBQ, or mezze platter.

In fact, I highly recommend serving this mint lentil tabbouleh as part of a mezze platter alongside other Middle Eastern salads such as batata harra (spicy potatoes), chickpea salad, creamy cucumber yogurt salad, and this tomato and cucumber mint salad. You could even add some chicken shawarma to the platter.

More of my Favorite Middle Eastern Mezze Dishes

The Lebanese Lentil Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • Lentils: for this cold lentil salad, you’d need pre-cooked green lentils (brown would also work). Use either canned (drained and rinsed) or home-cooked lentils. Don’t use red lentils, as they become mushy.
  • Vegetables: cucumber (I recommend English or Persian varieties, which have less seeds – otherwise, you may want to de-seed them) and tomatoes (use the freshest, ripest tomatoes available including larger vine-ripened tomatoes or small cherry tomatoes). I also love adding garlic and, sometimes, green onions.
  • Herbs: I used a traditional combination of fresh parsley (flat-leaf is best), mint, and green onions (scallions – mostly greens).
  • Dressing: the simple dressing for this green lentil salad combines lemon juice, and optionally the zest too, or apple cider vinegar, with extra virgin olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper.
Ingredients for lentil salad

Optional Add-ins and Recipe Variations

While not “traditional”, this lentil tabbouleh is versatile enough to pair with tons of extra ingredients, including:

  • Shallots: you can add red onion or shallots – around ¼ cup. If you don’t like the harsh pungency of raw onion, allow the chopped onion to soak in ice water (or lemon juice) for 15 minutes.
  • Spices: for even more of a Lebanese lentil salad recipe twist, you can combine cinnamon and allspice in a 1:2 ratio (around ¾ tsp cinnamon to 1 ½ tsp allspice). Alternatively, a pinch of sumac could work.
  • Mediterranean flavors: this cold lentil salad recipe can easily be adapted to more Mediterranean flavors with the addition of ingredients such as bell peppers, olives, and optionally feta cheese (or vegan feta).
  • Avocado: for extra creaminess and healthy fat, add some finely diced avocado to the vegan lentil salad. I recommend only adding this to each dish when serving. Otherwise, it will reduce the shelf life of the entire green lentil salad.
  • Pomegranate: this might sound odd, but you know I (and the Middle East in general) love to add pomegranate to savory dishes (like over baba ghanoush, Ajvar dip, or this eggplant salad). Just add a handful to garnish the lentil tabbouleh (and/or a drizzle of pomegranate molasses), you won’t regret it. For more combinations of sweet and savory, you could experiment with adding finely sliced orange or grapefruit.
  • Pulses: although there are already lentils in this tabbouleh, you can further boost the protein and nutrients with some chickpeas or beans.
  • Nuts/seeds: for some healthy fats and added crunch, feel free to add in a handful of seeds. Pepitas, sunflower seeds, or lightly toasted pine nuts would work. Alternatively, use roughly chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds, etc.
  • Other vegetables: there are several other vegetables you can experiment with: beetroot, celery, shredded carrot, zucchini, roasted eggplant, and roasted potato/sweet potato would all work.
  • Pickles: pickled cucumbers, carrots, red onion, or turnips would all work within this cold lentil salad.

How to Make Lentil Tabbouleh

If you aren’t using pre-cooked lentils (or tinned lentils), the first step is to rinse and cook the lentils until just tender (between 12-15 minutes, lentils soaked overnight will take less time). If cooking the lentils from scratch, save time by preparing the remainder of the salad while they cook. Once cooked, rinse the lentils with cold water to cool them down quickly to add to the tabbouleh recipe.

Cooked lentils in a colander

Step 1: Prepare the dressing

First, grate or mince the garlic. Then combine it with the olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Mix the dressing well.

Step 2: Chop the ingredients

First, rinse the vegetables (and herbs if necessary) and pat dry. Then start by finely chopping the cucumber and chopping the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. For cherry tomatoes, you can simply chop them in half or quarters – for larger tomatoes then finely dice them.

I used minimal tomatoes for this recipe. However, for traditional tabbouleh you’d add a lot more – so feel free to increase the amount 2-3x.

Next, finely chop all the herbs. I remove the mint leaves from the stems and chop the parsley with the stems.

Prepared ingredients for lentil salad

Step 3: Assemble the lentil tabbouleh

Combine the lentils, herbs, cucumber (not tomatoes), and dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. I then placed the tomatoes on top (otherwise, I feel like they disappear in the salad a little. Though, feel free to increase the amount used if preferred).

How to Store 

Store: you can store the leftover lentil tabbouleh salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Please don’t attempt to freeze the green lentil salad as the fresh ingredients won’t thaw well.

Lentil salad in a bowl

Recipe Notes and Top Tips

  • Make sure to chop the ingredients finely: the key to tabbouleh is all the finely chopped ingredients that blend well into each spoonful. You may be able to use a food processor to pulse the herbs for a few seconds. Though I don’t recommend doing so for any of the other ingredients if you want a uniform result. However, if you have one of those veggie “choppers” that you press ingredients through, that could work.
  • To avoid sogginess: you can remove the tomato pulp from any super juicy tomatoes (and even the cucumber, if needed). That way, they won’t dilute the dressing or make the salad mushier faster. However, honestly, I don’t find the extra effort worth it.
  • Allow it to marinate: while you can enjoy the lentil tabbouleh immediately, if you allow it to marinate for a few hours (if not overnight!) first, the flavors will develop and become even better!
  • To use leftovers: as well as enjoying as a simple side salad, you can also add this cold lentil salad to larger salad/grain bowls (with rice or quinoa and other veggies), in wraps, as lettuce wraps, and more!
  • Can I omit any of the herbs? while it’s possible to omit the parsley (though not recommended), I definitely wouldn’t omit the mint.
  • Avoid food waste: if you don’t plan on using the lemon zest for this recipe, I still recommend zesting the lemon (before juicing) and storing the zest in the freezer for later. You could also use the lemon peels to make a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner. Meanwhile, the mint stalks can be saved to add to homemade vegetable broth.

More Summer-Ready Vegetable Salads

If you try this Lebanese lentil tabbouleh recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Lentil Salad

5 from 4 votes
By: Samira
This simple lentil salad combines protein-dense green lentils with vegetables in a tangy lemon dressing. It is excellent for mid-week lunches, dinners, BBQs, potlucks, picnics, and garden parties.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 20 oz dried green lentils 1.5 cup
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or water (to cook the lentils)
  • 4 oz cucumbers 3 small
  • 3 oz red bell pepper 1/2 medium-sized
  • 5 oz red onion 1 medium-sized
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves stems-removed


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 large lemon
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses optional
  • 2 cloves garlic 1 tsp minced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • Remove any debris or stones from the lentils. Rinse them well in a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Place them in a pot with the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender but still firm.
    Once cooked, rinse under cold water.
  • While the lentils are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Rinse and finely dice the cucumber and the bell pepper. Peel and finely dice the red onion. Chop the fresh parsley and the mint leaves.
  • Prepare the dressing. Juice the lemon. Mince the garlic. In a small bowl, add all the dressing ingredients – olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses (optional), minced garlic, salt, and pepper – and whisk well.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cold lentils, chopped cucumber, bell pepper, onion, and herbs. Pour the dressing and toss to combine.
    Serve the lentil salad immediately or let it "marinate" in the fridge for a few hours.


Chop the ingredients finely: This allows you to taste all the ingredients in each spoonful.
To store: Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Enjoy them as a quick cold lunch or dinner.
Check the blog post for serving suggestions!
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 3-4 Days


Calories: 358kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Sodium: 440mg, Potassium: 776mg, Fiber: 22g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 783IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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