February 3, 2022

Lentils Over Kale and Fresh Herb Salad

This Lentils Over Kale and Fresh Herb Salad is a simple, elegant dish. Lentils, cooked until tender, are tossed in a tart, bright dressing made from warm spices, lemon peel, and champagne vinegar, and served over a bed of hearty kale and fresh herbs.

When shopping for lentils, look for Black lentils, French du Puy, or brown or green lentils. Red, orange, and yellow split varieties break up during cooking, and don’t work well for this salad.

Are you looking for a way to use red lentils? Give our Dal-Inspired Red Lentils recipe a try.

Plant-Based Whole30 Lentils Over Kale and Fresh Herb Salad
Photo Credit: Ellie Yamanaka

Lentils Over Kale and Fresh Herb Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


For the Lentils

  • cups black lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 tbsp chopped almonds
  • 2 strips lemon peel (not zest)
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • ¾ tsp coarse salt
  • ½ tsp coarse black pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 bunch Tuscan or curly kale ,stems trimmed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 12 cherry tomatoes ,halved
  • 12 pitted Castelvetrano olives ,halved
  • 1 green onions ,green portion only chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley and/or basil


Make the Lentils

  • In a large saucepan, combine the lentils and bay leaves. Add 3 cups water and the salt. Bring to a boil, covered, over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until lentils are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the lentils; remove and discard bay leaves.
  • In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the seeds, almonds, and lemon peel. Cook until the seeds are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Carefully remove the lemon peel. Pour the seasoned oil over the cooked lentils. Add the vinegar, salt, and black pepper; stir to combine.

Make the Salad

  • Pat the kale dry after cleaning. Chop the kale into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with the oil and, using your fingers, gently massage kale until it just begins to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, scallion(s), and fresh herbs. Toss the salad to combine.
  • To serve, divide salad among 3 plates; top with lentils.


Tip: The lentils can be made up to three days ahead. Black lentils hold their shape nicely, but you can substitute with French du Puy (cooking 25 – 30 minutes), or brown or green lentils (cooking 30-35 minutes). Do not overcook! Red, orange, and yellow split lentils break up during cooking, so they would not work as well for this salad.
Ellie Yamanaka from ellielikescooking wearing a white top and smiling at the camera.

Ellie Yamanaka

Ellie Yamanaka is a food photographer and recipe developer who loves making simple, feel-good plant-based recipes that don't compromise on taste or nutrition. She's been making messes in the kitchen since she was 12, and after finishing university 10 years later, she decided to trade in her nutrition degree for a camera and a kitchen. Through her food blog Ellie Likes Cooking, she hopes to inspire others to eat more plants and get creative in the kitchen.