Black Lentil Salad

This salad can be made with any lentils - this recipe uses split black lentils. The key is not to over cook them. If they cook for too long, use it as a perfect opportunity for a lentil purée or a dal! 

makes 4 cups


1 cup black split urad lentils

1 tsp turmeric

4 cups water

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp EVOO

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ cup minced shallots 

1 serrano, minced

1 cup cherry or pear drop tomatoes

½ tsp salt

½ cup currants

½ cup chopped peanuts

juice from one lemon

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro 

1 cup chopped watercress


  1. Rinse the lentils out in room temperature water 2-3 times. Soak for 30 minutes - 1 hr. 
  2. Combine the lentils with turmeric, water & salt then bring to a boil. Within a few minutes, a scum may rise to the top - this is the debris from the lentils that needs to be discarded. Using a slotted spoon, remove the scum. Lower the heat to its lowest setting, cover the stockpot and let the lentils cook for 15-20 minutes. At this point, be careful because the water may overflow and make a mess on the stove. Once the lentils are cooked through (roughly 20-30 more minutes) turn the heat off and let the lentils rest for 5-7 minutes. Drain. 
  3. In a separate pan heat up the olive oil, pop the mustard seeds and add the shallots. Cook them for 5-8 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the serrano and cherry tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add this mixture to the lentils and fold in the salt, currants, chopped peanuts and lemon juice. 
  4. Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro and watercress. 

ideas / variations

  • Any fragrant herb can be used to replace the cilantro, try basil, dill or oregano. 
  • To amp this salad up, add sliced cooked chicken or shrimp.
  • This salad can be served warm, cold or room temperature.