This quinoa and lentil salad is packed with plant-based protein and filling fiber! Served warm or cold, you can prep this grain salad for a week of healthy meals. In addition to quinoa and lentils, this salad also features caramelized roasted cauliflower florets, salty kalamata olives, sweet golden raisins, fresh parsley, and zesty lemon dijon vinaigrette. Ready to enjoy in 45 minutes or less!

Close up of lentil quinoa salad in a blue rimmed serving bowl with silver serving spoons

A quinoa salad is probably my favorite healthy make-ahead lunch. As a Registered Dietitian, I love how easy it is to add nutritious ingredients to quinoa such as vegetables, seeds, and a healthy sauce or dressing.

Quinoa is a good source of plant-based protein and fiber, and only takes 15 minutes to prepare.

It’s the perfect quick cooking whole grain for grain salads!

Some reader-favorite quinoa salads include my Mediterranean quinoa salad, beet quinoa salad, and red quinoa salad with feta cheese.

This lentil quinoa salad is especially filling because of the addition of lentils. One cup of lentils provides 18 grams of plant-based protein and 16 grams of fiber!

You’re going to love all the flavors in this salad: caramelized roasted cauliflower, briny Kalamata olives, fresh parsley, sweet raisins, and a simple and zesty homemade lemon dijon salad dressing.

This recipe is plant-based, gluten free, and can easily be made vegan by simply using maple syrup in place of honey in the dressing. It makes 4 servings.

quinoa lentil salad ingredients measured out  on a light backdrop

Ingredients

Everything you need to make this recipe, below:

  • Quinoa: Quinoa is a whole grain that is packed with nutrients, including fiber and plant-based protein (more on quinoa nutrition, below). You can purchase white, red, black, or tricolor quinoa. I recommend using white or tricolor quinoa for this recipe, because it cooks up fluffier than red and black quinoa. Read this post on how to cook perfect quinoa before you get started!
  • Brown lentils: Brown lentils are the most widely available type of lentils that can be found in most grocery stores. They hold their shape when cooked for 20-25 minutes, as you’ll do for this recipe. You could also use green lentils (also known as French or puy lentils) for this recipe. I do NOT recommend using red lentils, because they lose their shape and become mushy when cooked.
  • Cauliflower: Roasted cauliflower florets add texture and make this grain salad feel heartier.
  • Parsley: Parsley adds fresh flavor. You can also use another fresh herb here, such as cilantro, dill, mint, or basil.
  • Kalamata olives: I love to use olives instead of cheese to add a punch of briny, salty flavor to a recipe. Kalamata olives have a robust, slightly fruity flavor.
  • Golden raisins: A punch of sweetness from golden raisins contrasts nicely with the salty olives. You can use regular raisins or even dried cranberries instead.
  • Curry powder: Toss the cauliflower in curry powder to impart warm flavor before roasting.
  • Lemon dijon salad dressing: Lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, shallot, honey, salt, and pepper.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Kitchen equipment needed

  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife, 6 or 8 inch
  • Baking sheet
  • 2 small-medium sized pots
  • Mixing spoons
  • Large mixing bowl

Step-by-step instructions

roasted cauliflower on a baking tray
1. Toss cauliflower florets with curry powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil and roast in the oven.
Cooked brown lentils in a glass bowl
2. Cook lentils until fork tender but not mushy.
cooked quinoa in a pot
3. Cook quinoa in water until fluffy.
Chopped parsley on a orange cutting board with a knife
4. Chop parsley finely.
Quinoa lentil salad in a white bowl before being mixed together
5. Combine cooked quinoa, lentils, roasted cauliflower, golden raisins, kalamata olives, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.
Lemon dijon salad dressing in a glass bowl with a small whisk
6. Whisk together the lemon dijon vinaigrette.
quinoa lentil salad mixed together in a white mixing bowl
7. Add the dressing to the salad and toss everything together using salad mixing spoons.

Storage

Grain salads are good for meal prepping because they keep well in the fridge.

You can prepare this salad warm and eat it warm, but it also tastes great cold right from the fridge.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Serving suggestions

This recipe makes four large servings for a vegetarian main dish, or 8 smaller sized side dish portions. If served as a main, this recipe packs in over 20 grams of plant-based protein!

If you are serving this recipe as a side dish, pair it with a simple green salad and your favorite protein, such as salmon, tofu, or shrimp.

lentil quinoa salad in a blue rimmed serving bowl with silver serving spoons

Quinoa nutrition benefits

Quinoa is a nutrition powerhouse, especially if you follow a plant-based diet. it has more protein than other whole grains and all nine essential amino acids.

One cup of cooked quinoa provides:

  • 5.2 grams of dietary fiber (19% of your daily needs)
  • 8.1 grams of plant-based protein
  • 2.8 mg iron (16% of your daily needs)
  • 77.7 mcg folate (19% of your daily needs)
  • 118.4 mg magnesium (28% of your daily needs)

Quinoa is also a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc, and an excellent source of copper, manganese, and phosphorus.

Lentils nutrition benefits

Whether you’re eating green, brown, or red lentils, they are highly nutritious!

They’re an excellent source of plant-based protein. One cup of cooked lentils provides 18 grams! In addition to their high protein content, one cup of cooked lentils has:

  • 16 grams of dietary fiber (57% of your daily needs)
  • 6.6 mg iron (37% of your daily needs)
  • 731 mg potassium (16% of your daily needs)
  • 358.38 mg folate (90% of your daily needs)
  • 2.51 mg zinc (23% of your daily needs)

Lentils are filled with polyphenol antioxidants, which help keep our cells healthy, fight inflammation, and protect against certain diseases.

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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lentil quinoa salad in a blue rimmed serving bowl with silver serving spoons

Nourishing Quinoa Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: Oven, stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian
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Description

This quinoa and lentil salad is packed with plant-based protein and filling fiber! Served warm or cold, you can prep this grain salad for a week of healthy meals. In addition to quinoa and lentils, this salad also features caramelized roasted cauliflower florets, salty kalamata olives, sweet golden raisins, fresh parsley, and zesty lemon dijon vinaigrette. Ready to enjoy in 45 minutes or less!


Ingredients

Scale

Quinoa Lentil Salad

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins

Lemon Dijon Dressing

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp shallot or garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • Few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Put the cauliflower florets on a large baking sheet.
  2. Add the olive oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper to the cauliflower. Toss it up with your hands to evenly distribute the seasonings. 
  3. Spread the cauliflower out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are browned and crispy.
  4. While the cauliflower is in the oven, prepare both the lentils and quinoa on the stovetop.
  5. Lentils: Add lentils and 4 cups of water to a pot. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover. Cook the lentils for 20-25 minutes until they are fork tender. Drain off any excess water.
  6. Quinoa: Add quinoa and 2 cups of water to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 12-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Fluff with a fork.
  7. Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients except the extra virgin olive oil. Whisk them together. Then, slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously for about 30 seconds, until the dressing is emulsified. 
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, cooked lentils, roasted cauliflower florets,  chopped parsley, Kalamata olives, and golden raisins.
  9. Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss is up to combine everything. Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper if desired.

Notes

Storage

Grain salads are good for meal prepping because they keep well in the fridge.

You can prepare this salad warm and eat it warm, but it also tastes great cold right from the fridge.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.