Subscribe to get a free eCookbook with my top 10 recipes + new weekly recipes!

French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

5 stars based on 19 votes

lentil salad

I make this hearty lentil salad when I get fed up with hasty on-the-go lunches and am craving something wholesome. It’s made with French green lentils, which are ideal for salads because they hold their shape when cooked.  They’re grown in the rich volcanic soil near Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne region of France and have a wonderful earthy flavor.  Unlike dried beans, lentils don’t require pre-soaking prior to being cooked.  You simply pick over the little disk shaped legumes, remove any that look broken or damaged and cook for 20-30 minutes. So easy!

You can find French green lentils in the bulk section at Whole Foods or specialty food shops. They’re definitely worth going out of your way to find but if you can’t get them, common green or brown lentils will work fine — just watch the cooking time as they can get mushy.

Begin by combining the lentils, chicken broth and bay leaf in a pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25-30 minutes until tender.

In the meantime, prep all the vegetables and herbs.  You want to cut them pretty small so you get the right proportion of lentils and vegetables in every bite.

For the carrots and celery, the best way is to cut them into thin strips first, then line them up and cut again.

When the lentils are tender, strain and let cool.

Combine everything except the goat cheese in a bowl and toss well.

Right before serving, top with crumbled goat cheese.

Serve and enjoy.


My Recipe Videos

French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

Servings: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course
Total Time: 35 Minutes


  • 1 cup French green lentils (or common brown or green lentils)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita
  • 3 ounces goat cheese


  1. Combine lentils, chicken broth and bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until lentils are tender, 25-30 minutes for French green lentils or 20-25 minutes for common brown or green lentils. Remove bay leaf, strain and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except goat cheese. Add cooled lentils and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer salad to serving dish, crumble goat cheese over top and serve.
Once Upon a Chef Cookbook

New Cookbook

100 tested, perfected and family approved recipes

Pre-order now:

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 432
  • Fat: 21g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 16g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Sodium: 675mg
  • Cholesterol: 15mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    This salad is healthy and delicious. Can’t get any better that that!

    Thank you, Jenn.

    - Paula Wipf on March 11, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is delicious! Adding this to the regular rotation!

    Also, I bought SimplyNature green lentils from Aldi, and they have this exact recipe, literally word for word, on the back of the lentil package. Hope you knew/know that! 🙂

    - Kristin on February 7, 2018 Reply
  • This was so good I forgot to add the cheese! Then I remembered and it was even better!!

    - Tracey on January 28, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So good I forgot it was healthy. Will be making this again.

    - Abraham on September 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Sooooo good!

    - jamie cissel on April 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have made this twice recently. It is a refreshing salad with a nice combination of flavors and textures. Perfect for those winter days when there is a hint of spring in the air. A very hearty salad to be eaten alone or as a side dish. I made it one day with ingredients I already had on hand. Except goat cheese, so I substituted whatever cheese I already had and it was delicious. I have since made it with goat cheese, which I happen to love and it was even better. Thank you. Make it ahead and eat it for lunch!

    - Karen T on March 17, 2017 Reply
  • Can I use fresh mozzarella cheese instead of goat cheese?

    - Rosanna Borbon on March 2, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Rosanna, Feel free to use whatever cheese you like but keep in mind that mozzarella won’t add much flavor – I think feta would be a more flavorful substitute for the goat cheese.

      - Jenn on March 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious, but really benefitted from the zing of added lemon zest which kept the lentils from tasting too muddy.

    - Norah on January 29, 2017 Reply
  • Can this be made the day before?

    - Cheryl s. on January 16, 2017 Reply
    • Definitely!

      - Jenn on January 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I make this all the time! Such a delicious, satisfying staple for any season.

    - Emily on November 4, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Funny, I always thought that I disliked lentils. Then went to a party with a lentil/feta salad which I really enjoyed. So decided to check your website because I thought I recalled a lentil recipe. Made this with Feta (that’s what I had on hand) and brown lentils (no time to go to Whole Foods and my supermarket did not have the ones you recommend). Loved it and made it twice. Next time I will go to Whole Foods to get the green lentils and goat cheese to follow your recipe exactly. But it’s a winner anyway!

    - cheryl wilk on October 10, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wonderful mix of ingredients. Tasty, healthy, and fun to eat (love the crunch of the veggies). In fact, next time I’m going to add a little more celery and carrots. Another great dish.

    - Robin Stamm on May 30, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I needed a dish to take to a small meeting that was taking place at lunch time. I had everything for this recipe, except for goat cheese, so I substituted feta (which I prefer anyway). It was a hit. Delicious, fresh, healthful!

    - Lauren on March 16, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Tried this yesterday when I was fed up of having made progress with healthy eating only to go backwards in recent days. This was the most delightful thing I have had in a long while. I love this site!!

    No question five stars – can’t wait for the book!

    - Deni on March 10, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I made this and really liked it. I don’t believe the calories are correct though. The recipe says that there are over 400 calories per serving for 6 servings. Seemed really high. Could someone validate the calories please. Thanks

    - Bev on January 25, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Bev, I just made a correction to the number of servings. The nutritional info is correct but it applies to 4 servings instead of 6. Sorry for any confusion!

      - Jenn on January 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This salad was refreshing and indulgent all at the same time. I loved the texture and flavor of all the small lentils mixed with creamy goat cheese, and the crunch of the carrots and celery perfectly rounded out the dish. This was a nice way for me to try a new food, and I would make it again.

    - Mitchell on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’m loving this dish (eating some right now, my 2nd batch in 2 weeks). I put the carrots in to simmer with the lentils for the last 10 minutes of cooking time; they come out just tender.
    I am wondering what else I could add to this dish? I keep thinking it will come to me but nothing yet… any ideas? Other veggies, in particular? Not to make it better – it’s great all by itself – but just to get more veggies in my day.

    - Katie on January 17, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Katie, Red bell peppers might be nice. You could also try some cooked haricot verts chopped into bite-sized pieces.

      - Jenn on January 18, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing!

    - Carolyn on January 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you for testing and perfecting this recipe! It is A++! The fresh herbs, garlic, dijon mustard! Love it! I ate this with the Mesclun Salad all day for Christmas! So satisfying.

    - Paula Jones on December 25, 2014 Reply
    • 5 stars

      The flavors dance the next day. I cooked my green lentils al dente so not mushy. This is my new daily dish!!

      - Paula Jones on December 26, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This lentil salad is soooo addictive! I used brown lentils and Progresso Tuscan broth(to simmer.) Just delicious. Another wonderful recipe- many thanks.

    - Judy on December 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another crowd pleaser – and I used vegetarian broth to cook the lentils…I drained the extra liquid and froze it, then later added it to a soup I was making. No waste. Works well with feta too.

    - HBolan on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • Nutritional info?

    - Michele Hendrickson on October 14, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Michelle, The recipe has been updated to include nutritional info. See underneath the recipe.

      - Jenn on October 15, 2014 Reply
  • I made this last winter and it made me like lentils even more. I’ve tried this twice, first with goat cheese and then with feta. I like it with feta better. Planning to serve this on my next fall or winter party

    - Eileen on July 9, 2014 Reply
  • Any suggestion for substitute for the mustard? I’m all out, thanks!

    - Grace on June 12, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Grace, You could use a little dry ground mustard if you have it, or else just leave it out.

      - Jenn on June 12, 2013 Reply
    • You had goat cheese but no mustard?

      - Helen on April 13, 2016 Reply
  • Love this! Was really happy to find it as I wanted a lentil dish that wasn’t soup. Plus I LOVE goat cheese! Perfection.

    - Rebekah on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • This was my lunch for 3 days in a row!!

    - Pam on March 3, 2013 Reply
  • This is such a yummy recipe! Our family and friends LOVE it. Thank you.

    - Julie on February 24, 2013 Reply
  • […] prepared the salad hosted here at , and it was great! The salad is easy to prepare, I had no problems with it even though I don't […]

    - The Lentil Salad - SinanOnline on January 12, 2013 Reply
  • Was in the mood for something warm for lunch, so spooned the lentil salad on top of a huge handful of baby spinach, topped with crumbled goat cheese and popped it in the microwave for 45 seconds. Love this healthy and versatile recipe!

    - Julie on January 8, 2013 Reply
    • Love this idea, Julie. You’ve made me hungry!

      - Jenn on January 17, 2013 Reply
  • […] French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese from Once Upon a Chef. Hearty and light at the same time, this salad will give you energy and is perfect for lunch or dinner. You can find french lentils at Whole Foods and Fresh Market. […]

  • Yum!!! Thanks.

    - Sara on November 4, 2012 Reply
  • This is the first dish i tried with lentils- delicious.spinach is a nice addition.

    - Jen on October 3, 2012 Reply
  • This is really marvy. I think next time I’ll use a little less garlic and a little more honey as mine came out a litle strong for the goat cheese.

    - Judy on July 9, 2012 Reply
  • What do you think would make a good substitution for the carrots? Thanks.

    - Jennifer on June 28, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, You could use zucchini or red bell peppers.

      - Jenn on June 29, 2012 Reply
  • omg!.. this is the best lentil recipe I’ve ever had. I made it for myself for lunch. I’ve been trying to do a vegan menu 6 of 7 days. This recipe is a keeper! Thanks!

    - pamh on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • Great summer salad!

    - Emily Carkner on June 27, 2012 Reply
  • Always looking for a good meatless dish. This is a great one.

    - Cheryl on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • What a great salad; pretty, yummy and healthy!

    - Lisa Ballantyne on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I made this salad again while trying to go vegetarian for a week and I ate it all week long! I dumped it on top of spinach and snacked on it all day! So so good, love the cumin.

    - Meg at Peaches and Cake on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I made this last night as a side dish. It was fantastic and even my veggie-hating wife devoured it!

    - Greg on May 8, 2012 Reply
  • Goat cheese…yum!

    - Jill on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • It doesn’t get any better than this for a vegetarian. Lentils and goat cheese, what a great combination! The leftovers didn’t last long in my house!

    - Chrissy on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • Looking forward to making this for tea time…i love the addition of goat cheese

    - darlaBE on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • My husband and I enjoyed this. The leftovers were delicious for lunch the next day as well!

    - Anne on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • My husband loved this! He’s so sick of brussel sprouts right now. This one was unexpected with the creamy goat cheese and the crunchy carrots. Thanks!

    - Amy on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I have made this, sometimes with minor variations, many times now. Excellent!

    - Beth on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This recipe is a classic. After the first time we made it, I doubled batches for a few weeks straight so I could have some every day. A fantastic side or main dish, so simple and delish.

    - Erin on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I’m always looking for new recipes that use lentils and found this one on Pinterest. Will be making it this weekend, it looks fantastic. .

    - ~Alex on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Must try this one! Love goat cheese!

    - Melissa Norton on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Made this and loved it. Reminded me of a wonderful lentil salad I enjoyed in France many years ago. Just wonderful!

    - Donna on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Yes, I have made this dish 3 times since you posted it in January. No, it didn’t last very long each time. Yes, it works well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. FYI

    - Andrew on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • The goat cheese just perfectly brings it all together. A family favorite in our house.

    - Amanda on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I love lentils and this salad is so great!!

    - Roni on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Dear Jennifer, Just made this: Wonderful, thank you so much! You’ve got a least one fan in Europe now. Thank you again.

    - Rebecca Akkerman-Garrett on February 25, 2012 Reply
  • Looks really good! I’m going to give this a try probably this coming weekend! Looks good and I’m sure my family will love it! Thanks for sharing!

    - Sophia @ on January 31, 2012 Reply
  • Delicious! I served it with grilled chicken and then had the leftovers with grilled shrimp a few days later–the flavor had even improved! I shared this recipe with all my girls! Healthy and yummy, great combination! Lots of exclamation points, but well-deserved 🙂

    - Carin on January 30, 2012 Reply
  • On a bed of homegrown baby greens with a poached egg on top….perfect.

    - Lindsey on January 23, 2012 Reply
  • I made this salad this week and it will now regularly appear in my homemade lunch rotation. It made me so happy.

    - Valerie on January 21, 2012 Reply
  • I made this for dinner last night, and after the first bite I immediately put down my fork and forwarded this recipe to everyone I know who likes lentils! I will definitely be making this again and again. Thank you for yet another delicious recipe!

    - Katie on January 18, 2012 Reply
  • I tried this new recipe yesterday. Lentils are one of those power foods I need but don’t eat enough because I hadn’t been able to make them taste very good.
    I was amazed by how good this tastes! Thanks Jenn! My life is improved. ; )

    - Niya Sisk on January 17, 2012 Reply
  • I made this last night for dinner with a side of your grilled chicken. I makes a perfect healthy dinner with leftovers for lunch! Thank you!

    - Dorothy on January 17, 2012 Reply
  • I’ve never been a huge lentil fan, but this looks just delicious. The addition of mustard– what a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll definitely give it a try!

    - Marcia on January 16, 2012 Reply
  • Mmmm looks delicious! I love goat cheese.

    - Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on January 16, 2012 Reply
  • Any idea how long this will keep in the fridge (thinking leftovers)?

    - Jennifer on January 16, 2012 Reply
    • Jennifer, It will keep several days, at least. Hope you like it.

      - Jenn on January 16, 2012 Reply
      • Thank you!

        - Jennifer on January 16, 2012 Reply
  • Jennifer! I LOVE this recipe! I saw it a while ago on SeriousEats and made it and my family gobbled it up! Thank you! I wrote about it on my blog here:

    Thanks again!

    - Meg on January 16, 2012 Reply
  • This looks delicious, easy to make and good for you. Thank you for sharing. I like the idea of adding goat cheese to the salad.

    - estherpalermo on January 16, 2012 Reply

Add a Review or Question

Hungry for More?

Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter — where I share new recipes and seasonal menus for every occasion.

Your email address will never be used for any other purpose.
Curious? See a sample newsletter.