Lentil Tabbouleh Salad

Vegan and gluten-free Lentil Tabbouleh Salad is made with green lentils, tomatoes, cucumber and fresh herbs like parsley and mint. Makes a filling lunch and leftovers are great too.
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Make the classic Tabbouleh more filling by adding lentils to it in this Lentil Tabbouleh Salad. An easy meal which is perfect for quick lunches and is also vegan and gluten-free.

bowl of lentil salad garnished with mint and parsley

As an Indian, I eat a lot of lentils. It’s a staple for me and I cook them at least 3 times a week if not more (as a kid I ate them every day!). But as you would probably guess, 99% of the time, I eat lentils as dal. I make all kinds of dals from simple dals like moong dal, masoor dal to my favorite dal tadka and dal makhani.

And while dals are great and my definition of comfort food, sometimes I also want to enjoy lentils differently. That’s when I cook recipes like the Ethiopian lentil stew and this lentil tabbouleh salad. This salad can’t be easier to make. I use raw lentils which I pressure cook in the Instant Pot and then just mix everything together and it’s ready to enjoy.

I love the freshness of the classic Tabbouleh salad, if you have never had it you are missing out. The classic Middle eastern salad is made with bulgur, finely chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice. It will usually be served as a part of a Mezze at Middle eastern restaurants.

While I love the classic, I wanted to make it more filling so that I can have it for lunch and adding lentils to it seemed like a good idea. This Lentil Tabbouleh Salad combines lentils with fresh ingredients and make a great lunch option.

Ingredients

Lentils: I have used green lentils here aka whole green moong dal. You can use any lentils of choice here but my preference would be green or brown lentils (whole masoor). I have used raw lentils which I pressure cooked but pre-cooked lentils can be used as well.

Tomatoes & cucumber: fresh tomatoes and cucumber add a lot of freshness to this salad. I like using roma tomatoes, but cherry tomatoes can be also used.

ingredients for lentil tabbouleh salad arranged in a bowl

Fresh herbs: so much of the flavor in this salad comes from the use of fresh parsley. I like using curly parsley for this salad but flat parsley can definitely be used too. Mint also adds freshness to the salad.

Dressing: the dressing for this salad is a simple one made with olive oil and lime juice. Use a good quality olive oil which will add to the flavor.

I also add a touch of all spice to this salad. If you don’t have all spice on hand, add some ground cinnamon, nutmeg and pinch of ground cloves in place.

Step by Step Instructions

1- Add 1 cup green whole moong dal to the inner steel pot of your Instant Pot. Add 1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir and close the lid. Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 13 to 14 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.

The lentils are done, set them aside. With this measurement of water and timing, the lentils are done yet firm to bite. They are about 90% cooked at this stage and that’s what I want for this recipe. If you prefer much softer lentils, you can increase the amount of water to 1 1/2 cups (that will increase the time it takes to build pressure and release pressure) but that makes the lentils really soft, like they are in dal. For salad, I prefer firm lentils and so this was perfect for me. But if that’s what you prefer feel free to do so.

2- While the lentils are cooking, chop and prep everything. Chop the tomatoes and place them in a colander for 15 minutes or so for all the water to drain. Also chop cucumber and finely chop parsley, mint, green onions. Place everything in a large bowl along with the cooked lentils.

3- Add the olive oil, lime juice, all spice, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

4- Using a spatula, mix until everything is well combined. Place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours for the flavors to mix in together and then serve.

step by step picture collage of making lentil tabbouleh salad

Using pre-cooked lentils

If you have using canned or pre-cooked lentils, you would need around 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils.

You can use either green or brown lentils for this recipe.

Making on stove-top

You can also cook the lentils on stove-top if you don’t have a pressure cooker. Soak the lentils for 4 hours and then cook in pan on medium-low heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until the lentils are almost cooked. They should still be little firm to bite for this recipe. Once done, drain the water and then use cooked lentils in the recipe.

bowl with lentils, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint

Other Variations

If you don’t like lentils, you can also make this salad with-

  • chickpeas
  • quinoa
  • farro
  • couscous

Tips & Notes

  • If you prefer softer lentils, increase the amount of water while cooking the lentils are pressure cook for 15 minutes. For this recipe, I prefer firm lentils so the amount of water and timing mentioned in the recipe will yield just that.
  • Also, once the lentils are mixed with everything else and kept in refrigerator for couple of hours for the flavors to mix-in, they become softer. So keep that mind mind too. If you start with very soft lentils, they will become super soft and soggy after they are mixed with everything else.
  • You can add other herbs to this salad, red onions can also be added.
  • After you chop the tomatoes, place them in colander for some time so that all the excess juice from the tomatoes is drained off. This helps in not making the salad soggy.
  • If you don’t have all spice, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a generous pinch of ground nutmeg and a small pinch of cloves.
  • You can also add some crumble feta cheese to this salad.

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Lentil Tabbouleh Salad

bowl of lentil salad garnished with mint and parsley
Manali
Vegan and gluten-free Lentil Tabbouleh Salad is made with green lentils, tomatoes, cucumber and fresh herbs like parsley and mint. Makes a filling lunch and leftovers are great too.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4
Calories 292 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green lentils 200 grams, whole green moong
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 3/4 cup cucumber chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion chopped
  • 3/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil extra-virgin, 45 ml
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice 45 ml or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice or use 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder + pinch of ground nutmeg and pinch of cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add 1 cup green whole moong dal to the inner steel pot of your Instant Pot. Add 1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir and close the lid. Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 13 to 14 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.
    Open the lid and give a stir, the lentils are done, set them aside. There will be no water left.
    With this measurement of water and timing, the lentils are done yet firm to bite. They are about 90% cooked at this stage and that's what I want for this recipe. If you prefer much softer lentils, you can increase the amount of water to 1 1/2 cups (that will increase the time it takes to build pressure and release pressure) but that makes the lentils really soft, like they are in dal. For salad, I prefer firmer lentils and so this was perfect for me. But if that's what you prefer feel free to do so.
  • While the lentils are cooking, chop and prep everything. Chop the tomatoes and place them in a colander for 15 minutes or so for all the water to drain. Also chop cucumber and finely chop parsley, mint, green onions. Place everything in a large bowl along with the cooked lentils.
  • Add the olive oil, lime juice, all spice, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
    Using a spatula, mix until everything is well combined. Place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours for the flavors to mix in together and then serve.

Notes

  • If you prefer softer lentils, increase the amount of water while cooking the lentils are pressure cook for 15 minutes. For this recipe, I prefer firm lentils so the amount of water and timing mentioned in the recipe will yield just that.
  • Also, once the lentils are mixed with everything else and kept in refrigerator for couple of hours for the flavors to mix-in, they become softer. So keep that mind mind too. If you start with very soft lentils, they will become super soft and soggy after they are mixed with everything else.
  • You can add other herbs to this salad, red onions can also be added.
  • After you chop the tomatoes, place them in colander for some time so that all the excess juice from the tomatoes is drained off. This helps in not making the salad soggy.
  • If you don’t have all spice, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a generous pinch of ground nutmeg and a small pinch of cloves.

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 14gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gSodium: 456mgPotassium: 784mgFiber: 17gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1868IUVitamin C: 34mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

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