This easy lentil salad with bulgur is a Middle Eastern inspired salad that is both light and quick to prepare. The perfect midweek meal for busy days at home or at the office.
Let me show you how to turn these delicious Middle Eastern ingredients into a creative and nutritious salad.
What’s Special about Lentil Salad
There are countless lentil salad recipes out there. Probably because lentils are super versatile, easy to cook and extremely nutritious. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just eat healthy, you can never go wrong with lentils. They are packed with healthy fiber, folate and potassium. Besides, they make a good source of proteins for vegetarians and vegans.
The great thing about lentil salad is that you can play around with the ingredients as per your preference. Lentils are legumes which are generally mild in taste and pair well with countless vegetables and grains.
Lentil Bulgur Salad Ingredients
Like I said, there are many different lentil salad recipes out there. The following recipe is one of my personal favorites. It originally came together in an attempt to use leftovers. I had some leftover bulgur and lentils, and decided to mix those to a simple salad for lunch. Fast forward, I keep making this salad on repeat, as it comes together super quickly and makes a light yet nutritious meal for my husband to take to the office.
That said, lentil bulgur salad is not a classic Middle Eastern recipe. However, with lentils and bulgur (burghul) being key ingredients in Middle Eastern cuisine, this salad is Middle Eastern inspired.
To make this dish, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Lentils: The key ingredient to this salad are lentils. For this salad, I use brown lentils, but green lentils will also work. You can perfectly use leftover lentils or canned lentils for this recipe. The lentils should be at room temperature.
- Bulgur: Bulgur (known as burghul in Arabic) is another main ingredient for this salad. Bulgur is a cereal food made from cracked whole grain wheat. It’s a very popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. For this salad, bulgur is soaked in hot water (no cooking required).
- Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes will provide the best taste to this salad, as they are sweet and not too watery. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, you can use conventional tomatoes instead.
- Olives: I like to add some green olives to this salad. Their pleasant sour taste complements the remaining ingredients perfectly. If you find green olives too strong, you can use black olives instead, or a mix of green and black olives.
- Onion: Red onion works best for this salad. Yellow onion is okay too.
- Parsley: A handful of finely chopped parsley leaves adds to the colorful salad.
- Pomegranate seeds (optional): I sprinkle the salad with a handful of pomegranate seeds when I have some. You can leave them out if you don’t have them at hand.
- Olive oil: A bit of olive oil to make the salad more savory.
- Seasonings: A bit of coriander powder and a pinch of salt and pepper is all you need.
Note: Quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe and can be adjusted according to the amount of servings you’d like to make.
How to Make Lentil Bulgur Salad
Step 1: Soak the bulgur
Bulgur doesn’t need to be cooked. Soaking in hot water is sufficient. Place the bulgur into a large bowl. Add double or triple the amount of water to submerge completely. Cover and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare the lentils
For this salad it’s great to use either leftover lentils or canned lentils. Place the (leftover) lentils in a mixing bowl (not the one with the bulgur, but a second one). If using canned lentils, drain in a colander first, rinse with cold water and let drain for 5 minutes.
If you prefer to cook dried lentils, that’s totally fine too! It’s just important that you cool the lentils completely before proceeding, which takes some 30 minutes. The lentils should be at room temperature.
Step 3: Chop the vegetables
Cut olives and cherry tomatoes into halves. Peel the onion and cut into thin slices. Finely chop the parsley. Add all to the bowl with the lentils.
Step 4: Drain bulgur
Once the bulgur has soaked, drain it in a fine mesh strainer and let sit for 5 minutes to remove any excess moisture. Then add it to the bowl with the lentils and vegetables. Stir to combine all ingredients.
Step 5: Add oil and seasonings
Add olive oil, coriander powder, salt and pepper to the salad. For maximum freshness, it’s best to add oil and seasonings right before serving. If you’re planning on taking the salad to the office, it’s okay to add the oil in the morning. However, if you’re making a larger amount to consume over several days, it’s best if you add the oil and seasonings the day of use. Garnish with some pomegranate seeds (optional). Serve at room temperature.
How to Serve Lentil Bulgur Salad
The salad makes a great lunch on busy workdays. It can also be served as a side dish or as a light dinner. You can eat it on its own, or serve with plain yogurt or warm (pita) bread for a more filling meal.
Make Ahead & Storage
This lentil salad is a great candidate for meal prep. The best is to cook the lentils and soak the bulgur in advance, and simply chop the vegetables when you need them. That way, you can easily put together the lentil salad in less than 5 minutes and vary with the ingredients.
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days (ideally without olive oil and seasonings).
Lentil Salad Variations
There are countless varieties of lentil salads! If you’re looking for some more ideas on how to create different versions of my recipe, I’ve got some ideas for you:
- Toast the pita bread as you’d do for fattoush, and sprinkle the warm toasted bread on top of the salad.
- Substitute the bulgur with quinoa for a gluten free version.
- Add walnuts
- Add finely chopped feta cheese
- Add lemon (to increase the sourness)
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Lentil Bulgur Salad
- 200 g brown lentils pre boiled or canned
- 60 g bulgur medium coarse
- 100 g green olives
- 200 g cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Handful parsley
- 0.5 tsp coriander powder
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- Add bulgur into a bowl. Soak the burghul in hot water (add enough water to make sure the bulgur is completely submerged). Cover and let soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Use leftover lentils or canned lentils. When using canned lentils, add them into a colander, rinse with cold water and drain for 5 minutes. Then add onto a large mixing bowl (a second one; not the one with the bulgur!).
- Cut the olives and cherry tomatoes into halves. Peel the onion, cut into thin slices. Finely chop the parsley. Add all to the bowl with the lentils.
- Drain the soaked bulgur into a fine mesh strainer. Let sit for 5 minutes. Once it has drained, add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Add olive oil, coriander powder, salt and pepper (on the day of serving!). Garnish with pomegranate seeds (optionally). Serve at room temperature. Serve with bread or yogurt.
- Unlike couscous, bulghur (burghul) doesn’t need to be cooked! It’s enough to soak the bulgur in hot water.
- To create a gluten free version, you can use quinoa instead of bulgur.
- Variations: add feta, walnuts, toasted bread (similar to fattoush) or lemon.
- To meal prep: cook the lentils and soak the bulgur in advance. Store separately. Mix together the ingredients on the day of serving. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can vary the vegetables each day.
- The nutritional values are rough indications. They can vary according to the exact weight, type and brand of your ingredients.