This vegan warm brown lentil salad is the perfect spring dish! It's a fresh, healthy, delicious salad that's loaded with spring vegetables, lemon, and fresh mint. This salad is vegan, uses only whole foods, plant-based ingredients, is naturally gluten-free, and potentially very budget-friendly!
Grocery stores and farmers markets are currently, or starting to be, packed with spring produce! Not only is spring produce delicious, but like all produce, it's more affordable and accessible during its prime season. So run to your local farmers market, load up on those spring veggies, and throw together this simple salad with me!
PS - Seasonal Food Guide is a great website that lets you see which produce are in season, in your state, for any month you select.
We're going for a spring vibe here, people! We want this salad to be fresh, light, and vibrant, while still being nutritious and filling.
- Lentils: I used brown lentils and they truly help make this salad filling! Lentils are an inexpensive, healthy source of protein, potassium, and complex carbohydrates, including dietary fiber.
- Arugula: to add a peppery flavor to this dish.
- Asparagus: My favorite spring veggie! I got 1 bunch of asparagus (~1 pound) for $1.99 - that's UNREAL. Asparagus is usually $5.99/bunch by me. Gotta love spring!
- Sugar Snap Peas: These add such a nice crunch to the salad and natural sweetness. Get 'destringed' sugar snaps if you can! If that's not available, you can quickly and easily trim the end that has a little stem and peel it off, it should take the strings with it.
- Radishes: Adds a nice crunch and lightness to the salad.
- Red Onion: I didn't use too much red onion, but just enough to add some flavor and color.
- Fresh Mint Leaves: I love adding mint leaves to a salad, they add such a nice, subtle flavor and freshness.
- Garlic: just yes.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice makes these veggies THRIVE. It just adds this perfect amount of flavor and freshness.
- Olive Oil
This recipe is super easy to make and shouldn't take you more than 30 minutes to throw together.
- First, start by cooking the lentils in salted water until tender, but not falling apart. I cooked my lentils for about 5 minutes less than instructed on the package. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, steam the sugar snap peas and chopped asparagus for 7-8 minutes, or until the desired tenderness is reached. Drain.
- Finally, assemble the salad by placing the cooked lentils and steamed veggies in a large bowl and add raw, sliced radishes, raw diced red onion, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, arugula, and mint leaves. Toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and sumac. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Enjoy immediately!
Recipe Substitutions & Variations
You can truly use any veggies you like - either add to the salad or swap out something you're not the biggest fan of! I would suggest sticking spring produce to keep it as light and fresh as possible, here are some great options:
- English Peas
- Snow Peas
- Swiss Chard
- Green Beans
Also, you could use green lentils instead of brown lentils!
This salad is warm due to the lentils and steamed veggies BUT you can totally change up how this is made/eaten. Here are a few options:
- Eat this salad cold: You can cook everything as instructed and then just chill it in the fridge until its cold or run the lentils and steamed veggies under cold water after draining them.
- Leave the veggies raw: You could leave all the veggies totally raw by not steaming the asparagus and snap peas.
- Change how you cook the veggies: Instead of steaming the asparagus and snap peas, you can saute, grill, or blanch them!
- Add feta for flavor!
- 'Undercook' the brown lentils: If you follow the package instructions, the brown lentils will be too mushy and soft. Undercooking them by even 5 minutes will help them keep their shape and give them a nice tender, al dente bite.
- Adjust the seasonings: If it tastes a bit bland, I find that adding a touch more salt or lemon juice will do the trick, since the garlic and onion should be strong enough!
Does this recipe keep?
Yes! You can save any leftovers or make this recipe ahead of time by storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I would recommend adding the arugula when you're ready to eat it/after you've reheated it (if you're going to).
Warm Lentil Salad
- ¾ cup dry brown lentils
- 1 bunch asparagus chopped
- 2 cups sugar snap peas
- 6 radishes sliced
- ½ small red onion diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup mint leaves chopped
- 1 cup arugula
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a pot, cook lentils according to package instructions but subtract at least 5 minutes from the instructed cooking time. Drain well.¾ cup dry brown lentils
- In a large pot, steam asparagus and sugar snap peas in 2-3 inches of water. Drain if needed.1 bunch asparagus, 2 cups sugar snap peas
- Add cooked lentils and steamed veggies to a large bowl. Add in radishes, red onion, garlic, mint leaves, arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. Toss to combine.6 radishes, ½ small red onion, 2-3 garlic cloves, ¼ cup mint leaves, 1 cup arugula, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sumac, salt and pepper
- Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container i in refrigerator for up to 3 days.