Red Lentil salad is a sweet and spicy Indian salad recipe with masoor dal or red lentils and fresh ginger honey dressing. This summer lentil salad is a perfect addition to your healthy meal plan for weight loss!
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Why you’ll love this summer lentil salad
This is my version of the red lentil salad recipe with an Indian spice twist, that makes it the first of its kind! The secret lies in the recipe for lemon honey dressing that is so easy and takes 2 minutes to make.
Most of the ingredients in the salad dressing like ginger, lemon and turmeric (like turmeric ginger lemon tea) suggest that this recipe for lentil salad is good for detox, but you fun-food-loving people need not get threatened by them. It just HAPPENS to be so HEALTHY and TASTY!
Though you have tons of Indian recipes with dal/ lentils, this salad is one of the best Indian lentil recipes because it is
- full of nutrition and so you can easily make a meal out of it. It also tastes great as a nutritious side dish for tandoori chicken, fish cakes or salmon kebabs.
- quick and easy to make, like most of my salad recipes. It is perfect for lunch box or as a potluck salad.
- contains all-natural healthy ingredients– lentils, ginger, turmeric, olive oil and any of your favorite salad vegetables or even fruits.
- NEVER becomes soggy since the lentils soak up all the juices.
- throw-in-any-veggie-from-the-fridge kind of salad that helps you clear the fridge! (Like my mung bean salad recipe.)
- a salad that keeps well, so it can be made ahead of time and keep eating it throughout the week!
This is how you make it:
Red lentils require very little time to cook when compared to other types of lentils/dal. You can also make this salad with other types of lentils like chana dal (yellow lentils) or moong dal. You will have to increase the cooking time accordingly.
Lemon honey dressing
The ingredient that makes a WORLD of difference to this Indian lentil salad is the chaat masala that we add to the ginger honey dressing. Chaat masala is an Indian spice mix made of spices like ground coriander, cumin, dried mango powder, dried ginger and chili powder.
Chaat masala is used predominantly in Indian vegetarian recipes like paneer tikka, paneer tikka salad and Indian street food like chaats and paneer rolls. This is what gives the Indian fruit salad and easy Indian chickpea salad its characteristic flavor.
Other ingredients required for the honey ginger dressing include chili flakes, pink salt (or sea salt), grated ginger, lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl.
Vegetables for Indian lentil salad
Once you cook the lentils right and make the lemon ginger dressing with chaat masala, the rest is flexible. Add whatever salad vegetables or fruits and herbs you have in your fridge.
You can add onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, apple, bell peppers/ capsicum and cilantro/coriander leaves.
A quick tip: Don’t like the ‘bite’ in raw onions? Check out the Italian pasta salad recipe for how to soften the onions.
No vegetables in the fridge? Add the dressing to the cooked warm lentils, sprinkle some dried herbs and use as a filling for tacos or wraps. Or go wild and replace the paneer filling with this “lentil filling” in the paneer rolls. But call them lentil rolls 🙂
Though making this dal salad and ginger lemon dressing is quite straightforward, you’ll need some tips to get it right EVERY SINGLE TIME.
How to make red lentil salad: step by step
How to cook red lentils for salad
(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)
DO NOT cook lentils in the pressure cooker. They almost always turn mushy. I’m saying this because it is common practice to pressure-cook lentils for curries like Kerala-style parippu curry or dal with spinach.
For the salad, use a deep pot to cook the lentils. Cook the lentils with turmeric and salt.
You’ll love the (already flavorful) dal, but don’t snack on them. Not yet. The best is yet to come.
How long to cook the lentils
The cooking time depends on the quality, quantity and type of lentils.
For this recipe, I have used 1/2 cup of red lentils. It takes about 5 to 6 minutes to cook. Anything more than that, you will end up with mushy lentils that are great for soups and curries, but not for salad.
Mung dal (split, skinned mung beans) take about 8 to 10 minutes to cook.
If you use chana dal/yellow lentils, you need to cook them much longer. They take about 20 (if you want the lentils firm) to 25 minutes (soft). Green lentils take almost the same time.
I cooked the red lentils for 6 minutes and they were soft already. But did you know that softer the lentils, the more dressing and flavor they soak up?
Toss with dressing and vegetables
Drizzle half of the lemon ginger dressing on the cooked warm lentils. Toss and add vegetables and herbs. Add the rest of the dressing and toss again.
As for the vegetables, today I used carrots, tomatoes, green mango (one of my favorites), cucumber and cilantro. I’m not done with green mango yet. Green mango chutney, paneer rolls and now, this red lentil salad!
Btw, green mango and chaat masala is a terrific combination! Can’t find green mango? Green apple can be the closest substitute.
Last week I made this chana dal salad with onions, cherry tomatoes and bell peppers:
I make a large batch of the lemon honey dressing and freeze it in separate containers. I cook different lentils and store them separately. Overnight, I thaw whatever I need and toss the next morning. Easy Peasy!
- Cook red lentils with turmeric and salt to get the best flavor and nutrition.
- Add some of the lemon honey dressing while the red lentils are still warm. This helps the lentils absorb all the flavors of the dressing.
- Drizzle a few spoons of avocado green chutney for added flavor.
What to serve with red lentil salad
There are tons of options to serve the summer lentil salad. Here are a few examples:
Use the red lentil salad as a filling for rotis or wraps and make a meal out of it. Or serve with Paneer kathi rolls.
With Papads or chips to scoop it up as a snack or appetizer.
You can also eat it with masala egg fry as a protein-rich vegetarian meal.
Serve this Indian lentil salad with tandoori or tikka dishes to make it a complete meal:
- Chicken tikka tandoori
- Crispy prawn fry
- Hariyali chicken drumsticks
- Tandoori salmon
- Tandoori roast chicken legs
- Salmon kabobs
- Tandoori fish
Make ahead option
This red lentil salad keeps well in the fridge for 2 days, but vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber or lettuce should be added only before serving, since they will make the salad soggy.
As for freezing, cooked lentils can be frozen with the salad dressing, but it is better to freeze vegetables in a separate container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Health benefits of red lentils
Red lentils are considered as a nutritional powerhouse. They are excellent sources of plant-based protein, fibre, high in essential minerals and vitamins and low in calories. (Source)
- Boost Heart Health
- Help In Weight Management
- Support Healthy Pregnancy
- Help Build Immunity
- Help Stabilise Blood Sugar Levels
- Boost Energy
More dal recipes
Looking for more salads?
Collection of Indian Salads and Dressings
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Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!
I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.