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Protein Rich Quinoa Lentil Salad | Meatless Monday

Happy Monday friends!

As we are approaching the end of school year, the Sharda household is abuzz with activity. For Ms. Little A, there are tests going on to assess her placement in advanced courses as she starts middle school. Middle school, What? Where did my little first born go? My chubby, talkative and everything pink loving toddler has suddenly transformed into this tall, skinny, super smart and compassionate preteen who doesn’t love color pink anymore. Huh? There are also concerts, competitions, planning for end of school sleepovers, and an upcoming trip to California stirred in the mix.

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Dr. A and me are planning summer research, publications, conferences and travel. Mr. Little V – well he is living the life, where the biggest thing to worry about is what to take to school for show and tell. I want to be him!

Quinoa and Lentil Salad with homemade vinaigrette

With crazy days like these, I feel we can always include some more protein in our diet to keep us full and going longer. This Quinoa Lentil Salad is a protein powerhouse that is meatless (Yayy for Meatless Monday) and vegan. Since my intention was to create something with enhanced protein factor, this quinoa lentil salad has FOUR amazing sources of protein:

  1. Quinoa
  2. Lentils
  3. Pumpkin Seeds
  4. Tahini, sesame seed paste (optional)

We made this salad to go with some burgers (recipe here) and Indian Spiced roasted potato salad (recipe here) and blueberry cobbler (recipe here) dinner. Wow. I might have to write down this menu to repeat it every time we grill burgers. So if you’re looking for an accompaniment to a killer grill menu, or simply something that is satisfying and filling or a pick me up after a  run or a workout, this salad has got you covered. And the best part – it is super easy to make and is ridiculously delicious. Bonus points for being high in dietary fiber and zinc.

Quinoa and Lentil Salad with homemade vinaigrette

The only time consuming step in this salad is cooking the lentils. So, that is where I would start this salad. I cooked the quinoa in the microwave for this one – which I thought was a complete genius. I might have outdone myself over this pressure cooker quinoa (recipe here). Dr. A even made a point that the quinoa in this salad is the best that I have cooked so far. My “not a big fan of microwave” self cringed a little. Nevertheless, I have to share it with you and I might do a separate “how to” post or video on cooking quinoa in the microwave.

While the lentils are cooking, which will take 25-30 minutes, everything else for this salad can be prepped and kept ready. Then it is just draining the lentils and mixing everything together. I served it at room temperature, but chilling it would be great too.

Quinoa and Lentil Salad with homemade vinaigrette
5 from 1 vote

Protein Rich Quinoa and Lentil Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette|Meatless Monday

A vegan quinoa and lentil salad that is full of protein rich ingredients and is made flavorful by an easy homemade vinaigrette
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 3 1/2 cups water (divided into 1 ½ cups for quinoa and 2 cups for lentils)
  • 1/2 cup dryed lentils Brown or green (available at most grocery stores)

Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon/whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lime zested
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Other Ingredients

  • ¼ cup chopped red onions
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds toasting suggested
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Rinse and drain the lentils. Set a saucepan on high heat and add lentils with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Cover and bring to boil. simmer the lentils in 2 cups water until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, about 30 minutes.

  2. Rinse the quinoa in cold water using a sieve. In a large glass bowl with a lid, add the rinsed quinoa, a pinch of salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and microwave on high for 12 minutes.

  3. Chop and prep all the other ingredients.

  4. In a small mason jar, add all the vinaigrette ingredients and shake until emulsified.

  5. Once the quinoa is cooked let it sit for 2-3 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

    Once the lentils are cooked, drain and add to a big mixing bowl.

To assemble the salad:

  1. In the bowl with lentils, mix the quinoa, chopped onions, pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro. Top the salad with the dressing, toss to coat, give a taste check and serve.

Recipe Notes

Feel free to add finely chopped red bell peppers for crunch and color. I am definitely doing this next time. Instead of pumpkin seeds, you can add almonds or walnuts. I tend to use more pumpkin seeds because for nut allergies in our family. Store leftover salad in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and enjoy chilled.

Make ahead tip

Cook the lentils and quinoa ahead of time and make the vinaigrette. Store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, add all the ingredients in a deep bowl, give the vinaigrette a vigorous shake, add to the salad and give a big mix.

If you try this salad, let me know how it went. Comment below or share a picture on Instagram with #thekitchendocs.

Love – Vaishali.

Tools Used:

Microwavable Glass Bowl

Sauce Pan

Spatula and fork





  1. Abu Zaid

    April 5, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Is look delicious and I want to try it. I love healthy food. thank you for share about this recipe.

    1. Vaishali

      April 5, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you Abu for appreciating. Healthy yet very tasty!

    2. Oindrila

      April 5, 2019 at 1:04 pm

      Healthy and looking tasty too.. will definitely try this…

      1. Vaishali

        April 5, 2019 at 1:34 pm

        Thanks a lot Oindrila. I hope you like it..:)

  2. wander women abroad

    April 5, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    yumm this looks so delicious! I cant wait to try this

  3. Andrew

    April 6, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Cool Recipe,
    I was looking for Quinoa Lentil Salad how to do!

    1. Jessica

      April 8, 2019 at 9:46 pm

      Ohhh middle school! Good luck on the testing for kiddo! Thanks for the recipe I can’t wait to try it! I have been trying to eat more healthier!

  4. Neil Alvin Nicerio

    April 6, 2019 at 7:19 am

    5 stars
    Yummy! This looks perfect for my work out. 🙂 I’m looking forward to tasting this one out. 🙂

  5. Ashli Ferguson

    April 6, 2019 at 7:34 am

    This looks delicious! I’ve never had quinoa before!

  6. Hackytips

    April 6, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Various food can be prepared using Quinoa. I often prepare Khadi with Quinoa. Must try your recipe.

  7. Elizabeth O

    April 6, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Im running out of ideas on what to cook and just right in time I read your recipe. I will probably make one like this

    1. Vaishali

      April 7, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth..and this one is right up your vegetarian/vegan choices..<3

  8. lore

    April 7, 2019 at 12:51 am

    I have had Quinoa salad and it was so good that I got hooked. I will be saving this recipe. Thank you!

  9. Yonnah M at

    April 7, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Great healthy option that I have to add to my new recipe list.

  10. Riana

    April 7, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    This looks so good! I think I would add something red — maybe some chopped tomatoes 🙂

  11. Thuy

    April 7, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    I’d like to try meatless Monday, with recipes like this it would be really easy

  12. Nina N

    April 7, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    New addition to the recipe that I will try. This looks soooo delish!

  13. Shruti

    April 8, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Looks delicious, thanks for sharing the recipie. definitely gonna try it.

    1. Vaishali

      April 8, 2019 at 10:35 am

      Thanks Shruti. Let me know if you like it when you make it.

  14. Ellen

    April 8, 2019 at 8:01 am

    That looks so quick and simple to make! Can’t wait to try it out.

    1. Vaishali

      April 8, 2019 at 10:35 am

      Thanks Ellen. Yes it is, let me know if you like it..:)

  15. Luna S

    April 8, 2019 at 9:26 am

    My work brought in some salad wraps with Quinoa in them once and it was surprisingly good! It was the first time I had ever tried quinoa and I’ve been searching for more recipes since, thanks for sharing this.

    1. Vaishali

      April 8, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Yayy…I am glad you liked quinoa. It is a powerhouse!

  16. Sarah Muoio

    April 8, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Love this recipe and can’t wait to try it! Super healthy and looks super yummy!

  17. Chantelle Hadden

    April 9, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Thanks for this, I might make this later in the year when the weather is nicer.

  18. Grace Esedeke | Today Was Fab

    April 12, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    While I know Quinoas are healthy, I’ve never had them and they never look that appealing to me. Sorry.

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