This vegan lentil salad features earthy brown lentils combined with sweet roasted peppers, peppery rocket and tangy Mediterranean olives. It’s great both as a side dish and as a hearty vegan main!
I love lentils for their versatility and also because they’re super cheap!
Salads are a quick and easy way to incorporate more lentils into your diet and the vegan lentil salad recipe I have for you today is quick to put together and a tasty mix of flavours and textures.
Lentils are a staple in Spanish cuisine and this lentil salad leans towards Mediterranean with the inclusion of ingredients that are common here like red peppers, arugula/rocket, olives, and oregano.
No one ever believes me when I price out my recipes and I get one pound of red peppers for about a dollar.
Like tomatoes, they’re super cheap here and we eat them A LOT.
That’s why I prefer to roast my own fresh peppers rather than buying canned roasted red peppers, and as you’ll see in this recipe, we make use of the juice of the peppers to prepare the vinaigrette.
The benefit of this is not only for extra flavour but also to reduce the amount of oil that’s needed for the dressing.
Now, while red peppers are super cheap in Spain, weirdly, yellow and orange peppers are difficult to find and when I do find them, they are ridiculously expensive.
So while I only used red peppers in this vegan lentil salad recipe, you can easily sub in different colours of peppers for a more eat-the-rainbow type vibe.
As for the black olives, I suggest choosing a nice Mediterranean variety. The most typical Mediterranean variety is Kalamata, and those are fine, but I used a Spanish variety called Empeltre.
The flavour is similar to Kalamata but they’re smaller and less meaty.
Either way it’s your choice if you want to get pitted or un-pitted. Usually un-pitted olives are cheaper so we just throw them into our salads whole and spit the pits out as we go, lol.
Once your lentil salad is prepared you can either serve it right away or pop it in the fridge for a few hours to allow the lentils to marinate and the flavours to meld.
This salad holds up well for several days in the fridge so it’s also great for meal-prepping or as a make-ahead meal.
Serve it as a main with some crusty bread on the side or as a side dish to your favourite meatless meal!
Vegan Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
- 2 lbs (900 grams) bell peppers (red or a mix of colours) – $1.88 (red or a mix of colours) – $1.88
- 2 (14 oz / 400 grams) cans cooked brown lentils (about 3 cups of lentils), drained and rinsed – $1.76
- 2 lightly packed cups (about 50 grams) arugula / rocket arugula / rocket – $0.98
- 1/2 small red onion finely diced – $0.20
- 1 cup (190 grams) Mediterranean black olives (Kalamata or Spanish) – $0.42
- 2 tablespoons olive oil – $0.20
- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar – $0.18
- 1 tablespoons dried oregano – $0.10
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste – $0.03
- Slice the peppers in half from top to bottom, remove the stem and seeds. Place them skin side up on a baking pan and flatten them down with your hand. Place under the broiler until the are tender and have charred in some spots – 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and be careful to reserve the juice on the bottom of the pan for the vinaigrette.
- Transfer the peppers to a container with a lid and leave to steam until cool enough to peel the skin off. It’s ok if not all the skin comes off, just make sure to get all the black parts off.
- Dice up the peppers and add them to a large bowl with the lentils, arugula, red onion and black olives.
- Carefully pour the juice from the pan and from the container that the peppers steamed in into a bowl or mason jar. Add the olive oil, vinegar, oregano and salt and mix or shake to combine.
- Pour over the salad and toss it all together.