The Small But Mighty Lentil

I make this lentil recipe every week to have prepped to use in salads and bowls. They are simply dressed in vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and left to marinate in the fridge.

Lentils are by far my favorite vegetarian protein to include in my weekly meals. They cook quickly, are easy to digest, have a wonderful al dente texture when cooked properly, and are an excellent source of protein and key nutrients.

For this recipe, I always use French green lentils (Le Puy lentils, pictured above) or, if I can’t find those, I use regular green lentils. Most types of lentils will work, but do no use red lentils, as they break down when cooked.

These Vegetarian Italian Stuffed Peppers have the most delicious lentil and rice filling!

How to cook the perfect lentils

Add the lentils to a pot. Add enough water to cover by at least 2 inches and salt. If you’d like, you can add veggie scraps and/or bay leaf for extra flavor. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer GENTLY until tender, but not mushy – about 15-25 minutes depending on the lentil type and age. Mine usually take about 20 minutes.

Are lentils good for you?

Lentils are little plant-protein powerhouses. One cup cooked contains about 18g grams of protein and 37% of your daily iron. They are also good sources of:

  • Zinc
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Fiber

Check out my recipe for Spiced Lentils and Rice with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

How To Make Marinated Lentils

Cooked and drained lentils on a quarter sheet pan to cool.

Cooled lentils drizzled with with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and tossed to coat.

Dressed lentils with fresh dill (optional).

Prepped and ready for the fridge!

Lunch 1: marinated lentils, roasted sweet potatoes/onions, leftover salmon, tahini dill sauce

Lunch 2: marinated lentils, radicchio caesar, avocado toast

Marinated Lentils

Makes about 2.5 cups

Servings 2.5 cups
Cook Time 25 minutes


  • 1 cup dried French green lentils (Puy lentils), green lentils, or beluga lentils
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped herbs, optional (dill, cilantro, and/or parsley)


  • In a medium pot, add the lentils, 2 teaspoons salt, and enough water to cover by at least 2-inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, but not mushy.
  • Drain the lentils and transfer them to a quarter sheet pan or large bowl to cool. Once the lentils have cooled, add the vinegar, oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and herbs (if using). Toss to coat. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Tips for the perfect marinated lentils

  1. Right when the water starts boiling, immediately reduce the heat to low.
  2. Simmer GENTLY, meaning you should only see little tiny bubbles that pop up slowly, not a rapid simmer. By cooking gently, the lentils will cookware evenly and are less likely to get mushy.
  3. If you’ve got veggie scraps or a bay leaf, throw them into the pot to add more flavor.
  4. Cool your lentils naturally instead of rinsing with cold water. The steam evaporated most of the water so that the lentils aren’t watery.
  5. Quarter sheet pans are the BEST way to cool lentils and grains, but a bowl or large plate will do.
  6. As with everything you ever cook, taste and add more salt, vinegar or oil if you think it needs it!

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