Red Lentil Salad Power Bowl – A Vegan Protein Jackpot

Hello everyone! Today I’m sharing my secret recipe! Ok, don’t tell anyone, but while working as a chef in Germany, I secretly “borrowed” this amazing red lentil salad recipe from the Mediterranean restaurant that shared our kitchen space.

One taste and I fell in love with it, I just had to put my spin on it. So I loaded it up with vivid veggies, crunchy nuts, and seeds…. psst I didn’t change much!

In this blog post, I’m sharing my favorite, easy, and healthy go-to recipe – Red lentil salad bowl! Also, I’m talking about the benefits of each ingredient and a step-by-step recipe that is easy to make! Let’s dive in and enjoy!

Lentil Salad Ingredients and Their Benefits

Now every time I make this protein-packed bowl for friends, they beg for the recipe. So I’m bringing this versatile recipe straight from my kitchen to yours! Trust me, it’s about to be your new weekday staple. Grab your bowl and let’s get cooking.

This salad truly packs a nutritional punch. Let me break down each of these amazing whole food ingredients and why they deserve a spot in your kitchen.

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Red Lentils

Besides being a protein powerhouse that’s great for your muscles, red lentils also keep you feeling full longer, helping with weight management. They’re a fantastic source of iron too, which keeps your energy levels up. Plus, they’re easy to cook, making them a perfect quick addition to any meal.

Red Onion

These add a perfect tangy crunch to meals and are full of goodies that help fight inflammation and might even lower your risk of heart disease. Chopping them releases compounds that are good for your health, and they’re also known to help keep your cholesterol in check. Just a little bit can add a big flavor and health boost to your dishes.

Red Pepper

These colorful veggies are vitamin C bombs, great for keeping your immune system strong and your skin glowing. They also pack a good amount of fiber, which helps with digestion. The natural sweetness of red peppers makes them a hit in both cooked dishes and fresh salads.


Perfect for staying hydrated, cucumbers are almost all water, which makes them super refreshing, especially on a hot day. They’re also good for your skin, both when eaten and even when applied topically. Plus, the crunch adds a nice texture to salads and snacks.


Not just for flavor, cilantro helps your body get rid of heavy metals, thanks to its detoxifying properties. It’s also got antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage. Some people swear by it for its anti-anxiety benefits too, making it a super herb in your kitchen.

Dried Apricot

These little bites are not just about their sweet taste; they’re a great source of vitamin A for eye health and skin. They also offer a nice dose of fiber for your digestive system. Dried apricots are a handy, healthy snack that’s easy to carry around for a quick energy boost.

Dried Cranberries

These tart and tangy berries are the perfect way to add a little zing to your salads or snacks. They’re good for your bladder too, helping to keep infections at bay. And, their sweetness is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth without reaching for candy.


These are basically grapes that got a sun tan, and they bring a lovely sweetness to any dish. They’re packed with energy and have a bit of fiber, which is great for your digestive health. Sultanas can be a quick pick-me-up snack that’s also good for your heart.


Not only do these nuts add a creamy crunch to dishes, but they’re also good for your heart and brain thanks to the healthy fats they contain. They’ve got protein to keep you feeling full and magnesium for strong bones. Their mild flavor makes them super versatile in both sweet and savory dishes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This tangy liquid is a secret weapon for adding zest to salads while helping your body fight off germs, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. It’s also thought to help with blood sugar control. Plus, it can add a nice shine to your hair as a rinse!


This little powerhouse is great for boosting your immune system and keeping colds at bay. It adds a depth of flavor to dishes that’s hard to replicate with anything else. Garlic is also known for its heart health benefits, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.


Fresh chili adds a vibrant kick to your meals, boosting both the flavor and your metabolism. The capsaicin in chili is what gives it the heat and is also celebrated for its pain-relieving benefits. Including fresh chili in recipes can bring a lively burst of spice, making each dish more dynamic and stimulating.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This oil is not just for cooking; it’s packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It’s great for dressing salads, adding a rich, fruity flavor that enhances the taste of vegetables. Plus, using it regularly can help improve your cholesterol levels and protect against inflammation.

How to Make Red Lentil Salad Step-By-Step:

Rinse the lentils

Now let’s start creating our red lentil salad! First, rinse the red lentils under cold water until it runs clear. This removes any grit and allows the lentils to cook evenly.

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Cook Lentils

Next, combine the rinsed lentils and water in a saucepan. Bring them to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender with a slight bite.

Simmering Trick: Starting with cold salted water and then gradually heating helps lentils retain shape thanks to a gentle temperature increase. The bit of salt boosts flavor infusion too. We don’t want mushy lentils!

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Texture & Doneness: Perfectly cooked lentils should have a gentle give between the teeth, no hard centers. Taste a sample after 12 minutes simmer then each minute after to identify ideal doneness before mushiness sets in.

Skim the Scum

As the lentils simmer, the foam will accumulate on the surface sometimes called scum – harmless but visually unappealing. Make sure to skim this away using a spoon or mesh skimmer. Removing the foam makes for clear, appetizing lentils. Skim a few times throughout simmering to prevent a cloudy or grey mush.

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Drain liquid and cool

Draining using a mesh strainer prevents losing those tiny lentils down the sink. Although not essential, shocking in an ice bath stops the cooking process for maximum texture preservation.

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Dice the vegetables

Chop the vegetable mix-ins like cucumbers, red onion, and bell peppers into small, evenly-sized diced pieces about 1/4 inch in size. This allows them to mix through the lentils nicely for evenly distributed bites.

Quick tip – check my blogs on how to cut pepper or how to chop an onion like a chef!

For a maximum flavor boost, I chopped red chilies, and garlic, into fine brunoise. You can use any fresh herb you mostly like for me it is coriander/cilantro.

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Make the dressing

Just pour vinegar into the olive oil, I know not much of a dressing. Using the freshest, highest quality extra virgin olive oil makes all the difference in flavor and health value from the polyphenol antioxidants it contains. Don’t use refined oils they are not the healthiest option. You don’t have to use apple cider vinegar use your favorite one or even lemon juice.

Add all your ingredients to a mixing bowl

Add all your chopped vegetables into a mixing bowl

Finally, Add your dressing and spices if you are using any

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Toss it together

The ideal utensil for gentle tossing is a soft rubber spatula that evenly coats ingredients without damaging more delicate veggies and fruits. This ensures everything gets dressed properly.

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Add your lentils

Now is the time you add cooled lentils to the mix and give it a gentle toss one more time

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Eat now or…

It is ready to munch on as is but wait…

Marinating Science: Allowing the flavors to develop overnight (or at least half an hour) in the fridge improves taste exponentially. The chilling allows phytonutrients to be extracted from the plant foods into the oils and liquids to boost nutrition and flavor.

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Dont forget the toppings

Now comes the best part you can top red lentil salad with whatever you like here are a few suggestions that will work very well with this recipe.

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts)
  • Seeds (flax, sunflower, poppy, pumpkin)
  • Coconut shavings
  • Dried berries
  • Crutons
  • Poached egg (perfect for when I need to boost my protein intake on training days)

Red Lentil Salad Breakfast Bowl

Recipe by Ksenija Pecerska


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 350 grams Red lentils (750 cooked)

  • 140 grams Red onion

  • 130 grams Red pepper

  • 50 grams Cucumber

  • 10 grams Cilantro/Coriander

  • 20 grams Dried apricot

  • 40 grams Dried cranberies

  • 30 grams Sultanas

  • 15 grams Cashew nuts

  • 30 grams Apple cider vinegar

  • 10 grams Garlic

  • 10 grams Chilli

  • 60 grams Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Rinse the red lentils under cold water until the water runs clear
    In a saucepan, combine the rinsed lentils and water.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let them simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until they are tender but not mushy.
  • Drain any excess water and let them cool.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked and cooled red lentils, diced red onion, diced red bell pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients in the bowl and gently toss all the ingredients together.
  • Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Before serving, top with chopped cashews, and chopped dried apricots. and garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley if desired.

Tweak to your taste

The best part of this high-protein salad is that it can be easily adapted to your liking without sacrificing any flavor. Get creative by swapping in various nuts like walnuts or pecans for extra healthy fats or opting for herbs like mint, parsley, or arugula for a fresh twist.

Bring on the crunch and texture by adding different finely chopped veggies like broccoli, brussels sprouts, or butternut squash depending on availability and season.

Play with different spices like smoked paprika, curry powder, or even cayenne for a little heat if you want a taste change. I also like to sprinkle in cumin, cinnamon, and coriander to take the flavors to another dimension. The possibilities are endless for customization any time you make it, keeping this satisfying salad exciting!

That’s it

And there you have the all-star cast for this flavor-packed red lentil salad! I told you this recipe was amazing. Easy to make and so good and healthy!

In this post, I’ve shared my new go-to recipe. That’s how easily you can add more veggies and healthy fats to your diet. Also, you can customize red lentil salad every time and get more nutrients and flavor.

I hope you enjoyed this post and will try this recipe! If you did enjoy it, check out my other healthy recipes. Remember, one bite at a time! Have a good week and see you soon!

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