Quinoa Bowl with Lentils and Mustard Vinaigrette

Quinoa Bowl with Lentils and Mustard Vinaigrette

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Yes, you can cook lentils and quinoa together. And now your life will become exponentially easier.


  • ½ cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 3 ounces semifirm cheese (such as Gouda, Gruyère, or cheddar), shaved

Recipe Preparation

  • Cook lentils and quinoa in a large saucepan of simmering salted water until lentils are tender but still retain their shape, 15–20 minutes. Drain; transfer to a medium bowl.

  • Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard in a large bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually stream in oil; whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Add lentils and quinoa, celery stalks, cabbage, celery leaves, and mint and toss to coat. Add cheese and toss again. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

  • Do Ahead: Lentils and quinoa can be cooked 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Reviews SectionA great one for work lunches! Lots of great texture and the vinaigrette is the perfect quantity to give good flavour without making things soggy. I used feta cheese rather than the recommended and it worked well.pottsy.1990London, UK01/04/18

Quinoa Lentil Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

This Quinoa Lentil Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is packed full of protein, fiber, and healthy tastiness. It’s like a detox in a bowl!


  • ¼ cups Kale (packed)
  • ½ cups Cooked Quinoa
  • ½ cups Cooked Lentils
  • ¼ cups Canned Or Cooked Garbanzo Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • ¼ cups Cucumber, Peeled And Diced
  • ¼ cups Carrot, Diced
  • ¼ cups Grape Tomatoes, Quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Onion, Finely Diced
  • ½ Tablespoons Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • ½ teaspoons Lemon Zest
  • 2 teaspoons Raw Honey
  • ½ teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ teaspoons Sea Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil


If cooking the quinoa and lentils, see notes for cooking instructions.

To prep the kale, remove leaves from the spine and then break the kale into bite size pieces. Toss the kale with a little olive oil and rub all over the kale, massaging it until the kale reduces in volume and becomes less stiff. (This makes a huge difference in the texture of the kale.)

To make the lemon vinaigrette, combine the freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, raw honey, mustard, sea salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil in a small mixing bowl, and whisk together until well combined.

To assemble the salad, combine cooked quinoa, cooked lentils, kale, garbanzo beans, diced cucumber, diced carrot, quartered grape tomatoes, finely diced red onion, and raw sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

Drizzle over a few tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette, and toss once more. For garnish, sprinkle a few more sunflower seeds over the top.

1. To cook the quinoa, combine 1 cup uncooked quinoa with 2 cups water, bring to boil, then simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Once all the water is absorbed, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool as well.
2. To cook the lentils, combine 1 cup dry lentils with 3 cups water, bring to boil, then simmer, covered for 30 minutes until tender. Once they’re cooked drain and set aside to cool.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 Tbs. red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
  • ½ tsp. dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.

Per serving (3 cups salad with 2¼ Tbs. dressing):

  • Calories: 580
  • Total fat: 25 g
  • Sat fat: 3 g
  • Carbs: 70 g
  • Fiber: 17 g
  • Total sugar: 13 g
  • Added sugar: 1 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Sodium: 630 mg

Enjoy this recipe? Salad Days!—the latest cookbook from Nutrition Action’s Healthy Cook, Kate Sherwood—will help you expand your repertoire with imaginative combinations of greens, vegetables, herbs, whole grains, and proteins. You’ll find healthy variations on classics like Chicken Caesar and Cobb, as well as more adventurous combos like Black Beans & Red Rice with Smoked Paprika Dressing and Sesame Shrimp with Caramelized Shallot Citrus Dressing.

This savoury and healthy vegetarian lentil and quinoa bowl he nutritional is simple and delicious, with endless variations.


  • • 2/3 cup dry green or brown
  • lentils
  • • 1 cup quinoa
  • • 3 1/2 cups water, divided
  • • 1/2 tsp salt
  • • 1 yellow or red sweet pepper,
  • diced
  • • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • • About 2 cups arugula, chopped
  • if large
  • • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (use
  • the good stuff)
  • • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (again,
  • the good stuff)
  • • 1 tsp Dijon
  • • 80 g (aka “a chunk” or “as much
  • as you want”…) sheep’s milk feta,
  • crumbled, optional
  • • 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely
  • chopped
  • • salt and pepper to taste
  • • ¼ cup toasted hazelnut pieces,
  • optional


  1. Rinse the lentils and cook them in a saucepan with two cups of boiling
    salted water, about 30 min until tender but still somewhat firm. Drain
    the lentils and rinse well. Let them drain again for at least 10 minutes
    then transfer them to a large bowl for serving.
  2. Soak the quinoa in enough water to cover for 5 minutes (the soaking
    makes the quinoa less bitter and easier to absorb the nutrients). Drain
    the quinoa and return it to the pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring
    the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15
  3. Remove the pot from the heat but leave it covered for 10 minutes. It will
    finish cooking this way as it cools. Fluff it with a fork and add it to the
    bowl of lentils along with the chopped vegetables.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt
    and pepper (you won’t need much salt if your cheese is salty, so start
    with just a pinch and adjust if you need more later). Pour the vinaigrette
    over the salad. Gently stir to combine.
  5. Coarsely crumble the feta cheese (or slice or grate depending on firmness and type being used) and add it on top of the salad. Sprinkle with the finely chopped mint (and optional toasted nuts), then serve.


Toasting the nuts makes all the difference. Heat them in a small skillet for about 5-7 minutes (set a timer because they’re too easy to forget), shaking the pan regularly so they toast all over but don’t burn.

Nutrition Information:


Serving Size:

This nutritional info might not be 100% accurate. It's generated automatically.

How To Make

This Quinoa and lentil salad recipe is great in any season and can be easily prepared. It is filling and satisfying and does not take much time or effort to put together.

Follow these directions to have it ready in under 45 minutes from start to finish:

How To Cook Lentils And Quinoa Together:

When making this lentils quinoa salad recipe, you can either use pre-cooked quinoa (3 cups cooked from 1 cup raw) and pre-cooked lentils (2 cups cooked from 1 cup raw lentils) or cook them together.

I personally like to cook them together in the same pot as I find it to be more efficient. Here’s how to do it:

  • Cook The Quinoa And Lentils: Place the rinsed quinoa and lentils in a medium-size saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the cooking liquid. You will need 3 cups of liquid. This can be either water or a combination of water or broth. I like to combine 2 cups water and 1 cup vegetable broth.
    Cover with a lid and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a boil.
  • Let it simmer: Turn the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until the quinoa and lentils have absorbed all of the liquid. Turn the heat off and let them rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Let it rest: Fluff the lentils and quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.

  • Make the vinaigrette: While the quinoa and lentils are cooking make the vinaigrette and prepare the rest of the ingredients. I used my all-time favorite olive oil and lemon-based lemon vinaigrette recipe. It is made by whisking together fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and black pepper.
  • Assemble: Add the rest of the ingredients olives, red onion, fresh mint, and feta cheese, and drizzle it with the dressing. Gently toss and serve.

I think one of the easiest ways to flavor quinoa is to cook it in broth. However, I find that it is better to use a combination of water and broth. While it is a personal preference, I think using only broth as the cooking liquid gives it a slightly overpowering flavor.


  • Quinoa: You can use any variety of quinoa here. I used a combination of red quinoa and white quinoa to get the contrast of the colors.
  • Lentils: Green, beluga, and black lentils work best in salads because they hold up better than red lentils, which tend to get mushy and are best reserved for soups and stews.
  • Kale: You can buy pre-chopped kale to save time, or a head of kale if you prefer to chop it yourself. When chopping the kale, make sure to remove the stems.
  • Bell pepper: These sweet peppers offer a hefty dose of vitamin C to this salad (as does kale!), plus a lovely crunch. You can choose any color bell pepper.
  • Feta cheese: I prefer feta sold in blocks as I think it has a more superior flavor and texture to pre-crumbled feta. It's easy to crumble with your hands when adding it to your salad.
  • Dried cherries: Dried cherries offer a delicious sweetness to this salad. If you don't have dried cherries, you can swap them out for dried raisins.
  • Honey Dijon vinaigrette: The combination of apple cider vinegar, shallot, olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, and parsley provide a slightly sweet-acidic and herby flavor to the salad.

Kale and quinoa bowl with mustard vinaigrette

You may have noticed by now that we really love eating food out of bowls. For this reason, one of our favorite cookbooks is Bowl and Spoon by Sprouted Kitchen, which is full of – you guessed it! – recipes for bowls. This recipe is from that book.

Sprouted Kitchen is our go-to for healthy recipes with extremely tasty dressings and sauces. She’s especially talented at finding dressings that trick Kelly into eating kale. She just nails the dressing on this one, a tangy mustard vinaigrette that makes lacinato kale nearly irresistible.

She calls for roasting the cherry tomatoes, but in the summer we say “nah” to this and leave them raw. Maybe we’ll do this in the fall or winter when we’re looking for more reasons to turn on the oven.

We add baked tofu (and optional lentils) to up the protein.

  • 2 cups quinoa, dry (red quinoa will make this pretty, but plain yellow quinoa is fine)
  • 4 cups of corn (about 3-4 ears of fresh corn)
  • cherry tomatoes, quartered (yellow is pretty, but red is fine)
  • one bunch of lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped into small strips
  • one bunch chopped cilantro
  • crumbled or finely diced feta cheese
  • baked tofu, diced into small cubes
  • pine nuts (toast them in a pan or oven if you can be bothered)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Dressing (has been doubled from the original):

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard (we used grain mustard and it was fine)
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (substitute: 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 tbsp lemon juice)
  • freshly ground pepper

Cook the quinoa using a 1-to-1.5 ratio of quinoa to water (in this case, 2 cups dry quinoa to 3 cups of water). Bring the water and quinoa to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cook until water is absorbed (about 20 minutes, or check package instructions).

If using fresh corn, shuck and boil the corn in a large pot or wide saucepan for 5 minutes, covered, then turn off heat and let steam, covered, for at least 5 minutes more. Remove the corn from the pot and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Cut corn off the cobs.

While the quinoa and corn are cooking, prepare the other ingredients (cherry tomatoes, kale, cilantro, feta, and tofu).

Make the dressing: In a small to medium sized bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.

Serve quinoa, kale, corn and toppings into bowls. Drizzle dressing over the bowl to taste. Add salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!

Southwestern Chicken and Avocado Power Bowl

  • 1 small grilled chicken breast, sliced, or 1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup corn salsa (from Chipotle-inspired burrito bowl recipe)
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 lime wedges

Chimichurri Vinaigrette:

Use sherry or red wine vinegar and 1 small minced garlic clove to make the vinaigrette, and stir in 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or oregano before whisking in the olive oil.

Recipe Summary

  • ⅔ cup quinoa
  • 1 ⅓ cups water
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber
  • ⅓ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring the quinoa and 1 1/3 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Place kale in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a saucepan. Cover saucepan with a lid and steam kale until hot, about 45 seconds transfer to a large plate. Top kale with quinoa, avocado, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, and feta cheese.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until the oil emulsifies into the dressing pour over the salad.

Notes On Making This Healthy Lentil Salad Recipe

Canned Lentil Salad Recipe

If using canned brown lentils, be sure to rinse the lentils well. Canned brown lentils are softer than lentils cooked from dry as the skin has been partially broken down by the canning process.

Vegan Lentil Salad Recipe

Use maple syrup in place of honey to make this salad recipe into a vegan lentil salad.

Gluten-Free Lentil Salad Recipe

This lentil salad recipe is naturally gluten-free. A few prepared mustards are made with either wheat flour or malt vinegar, so be sure to read the label if a severe intolerance to gluten exists ie celiac disease.