Tomato and Lentil Salad with Basil and Goats Cheese
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Lentils are such an underappreciated ingredient in home cooking. They’re ridiculously healthy, are so easy to cook, and they taste great. They bring a subtly nuttiness to a dish, and act as a great way to add volume and robustness to a dish. Making them absolutely perfect to use as a base for this wonderful Tomato and Lentil Salad with Basil and Goats Cheese. Oh, did we also mention they have a phenomenal texture? Yep! When cooked just right, the Lentils have a slight chewiness which is so pleasant to eat. This recipe is an awesome way to showcase the amazing qualities of Lentils

We stumbled across this recipe when looking at items in our pantry

Perhaps like many of you, we’ve got a pantry filled with food items that are half full. We’ve used the ingredients a couple of times for recipes, and then they will sit in the pantry for a while. We’re going through a process of ‘eating our pantry’, which is a great thing to do, and we highly recommend it to you all!

Basically, instead of leaving items for too long in the pantry and throwing them out (which we’ve historically been very bad at), we base our cooking around what we’ve got left in the pantry. It’s actually a really great way to get inspired on what to cook when there are seemingly so many options available. Sometimes limiting your inspiration to an ingredient helps to crystalize what dinner is going to look like

Lentil Salad with Tomatoes
This is a fantastic dish to make using any leftover Lentils you may have hiding away in the pantry

It just so happened we had leftover Lentils in the pantry from cooking this Roast Vegetable Lentil Salad (which we highly recommend trying!), so it formed the base of this dish. Given it’s warm out, it made sense to make a light, refreshing salad with the Lentils, and this Tomato and Lentil Salad came out perfect!

This is a very easy dish to make. There are a few techniques involved however

We want to preface this section by ensuring you all this dish is so easy to make. There are techniques involved in making the Lentils, as well as a quick pickling technique used for the Onion. Both of these are important elements of the dish. Getting them right will ensure the best flavor and texture in the salad. However, don’t fret! The techniques are super easy and only take minutes. It’s still a very simple salad to make!

To make this Tomato and Lentil Salad will take about 20 minutes from start to finish. Most of that time involves waiting for the Lentils to cook. You can prepare the remaining ingredients once you’ve put the Lentils on the stovetop to cook, which is the first technique

Lentils are cooked in a similar way to Rice. That is, add to boiling water in a saucepan over low, just simmering heat. The main difference between Rice and Lentil cooking however is that the Lentils don’t absorb the water like rice does. They are simply cooked and tenderized with the hot water

This is a good thing, because unlike Rice, the quality of the cooked Lentils will have nothing to do with how much, or how little water you add. Just add enough water to the pot so that the Lentils are covered and that’s all you need to worry about. Lentils take about 15 – 20 minutes to cook completely through. Once cooked they will be tender to eat, but still have a slight resistance and lovely chew to them

Tomato and Lentil Salad easy
This delicious Tomato and Lentil Salad is so easy to make. It’s perfect as a side dish or a main course on its own

The second technique involves a light pickling of the Red Onions

For some, raw Red Onions are a great addition to Salads. For others (myself included), their raw taste is quite harsh and needs a little mellowing. The best way to do so is to pickle them. Pickling involves adding a acidic element to the Onions which will draw out some of their bitterness and harsh flavor. Most common forms of pickling involve using Vinegar, or Lemon Juice

For the Tomato and Lentil Salad we will be using Apple Cider Vinegar for the pickling. Simply slice the Onion into thin, long strips and place into a small bowl filled with 3 tbsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar. You can do this once you’ve got your Lentils cooking, as it only takes about a minute

Once your Lentils are done, the Onions will have had a quick pickle. They will still be raw, but the 15 – 20 minutes in the Vinegar will have removed a lot of the harshness to the Onions, making them much more pleasant to eat

We’ve used Cherry Tomatoes in this recipe, but feel free to use whatever you prefer

Cherry Tomatoes are always a great choice for Salads, and you’ll notice we use them quite a lot in our Salads here at Dinnertime Somewhere. Cut in half they’re a great size for salads, and their flavor is perfect. Not too sweet, not too sour. Just right in the middle!

Tomato and Lentil Salad close up
Any kind of Tomatoes will work great in this Tomato and Lentil Salad recipe!

Lots of Tomatoes will work for this dish, so if you’ve got a hankering for some Roma Tomatoes, or perhaps those fancy Heirloom Tomatoes are in season then by all means, use them! It won’t make or break the dish, and in fact, you could even use a few different types of Tomatoes to see how they work together in the salad!

Enjoy this Tomato and Lentil Salad by itself, or as a side to a meal

This is a versatile salad! Hearty enough to easily be enjoyed as it’s own meal, and perfect as a side salad along with your favorite cooked proteins. The below recipe is enough for 2 people as a main, or for 4 people as a hearty side dish

It’s a light, tasty, and refreshing salad that will pair well with any number of delicious recipes. Here are a few of our recommendations for dishes to cook to enjoy with this wonderful Tomato and Lentil Salad with Basil and Goats Cheese

Recipe Details


2 – 4 people

Prep time

5 minutes

Cooking time

20 minutes

Total time

25 minutes

Tomato and Lentil Salad Recipe


  • ½ cup of Lentils
  • 1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Red Pepper, deseeded and diced
  • ½ Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 – 8 Basil Leaves, torn
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Juice of ½ a Lemon
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Garlic Clove, diced
  • 3 oz. Goats Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Begin by cooking the Lentils. Place them into a saucepan filled with gently simmering water. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, but still with a bit of bite to them. Once cooked, strain and add Lemon Juice and 2 tbsp. of Olive Oil. Mix well and set aside
  2. While the Lentils are cooking combine the Red Onion and Apple Cider Vinegar in a small bowl and mix through. Leave for 15 minutes to allow the Onions to slightly pickle
  3. Add the Lentils to a salad bowl along with the Red Onion, Red Pepper, Cherry Tomatoes, and Garlic. Add 1 tbsp. of the Liquid the Onions were marinating in and 1 tbsp. of Olive Oil. Season with Salt and Pepper and mix through well. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary
  4. Finish by topping the Salad with the Basil Leaves and Goats Cheese and serve

Recipe Notes

  • You can replace the Goats Cheese with Feta Cheese if you like
  • Red Wine Vinegar, White Vinegar, or Sherry Vinegar are alternatives you can use instead of Apple Cider Vinegar

We trust you’ll enjoy this tasty Tomato and Lentil Salad with Basil and Goats Cheese. The perfect salad for a light refreshing dinner, or as a side salad to a hearty meal

Happy Cooking!

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