French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

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This hearty lentil salad is perfect for a light dinner or a wholesome on-the-go lunch.

french lentil salad

I make this lentil salad when I get tired of hasty on-the-go lunches and am craving something wholesome. It’s made with French green lentils, which are ideal for salads (and also my favorite lentil soup recipe) because they hold their shape when cooked. These lentils are grown in the rich volcanic soil near Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne region of France and have a wonderful earthy flavor. You can find them in the bulk section at Whole Foods or other specialty food shops. Unlike dried beans, lentils don’t require pre-soaking prior to being cooked. You simply pick over the little legumes, remove any that look broken or damaged, and cook for 20-30 minutes. So easy!

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French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

This hearty lentil salad is perfect for a light dinner or a wholesome on-the-go lunch.

Servings: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course
Total Time: 45 Minutes, plus 10 minutes to chill


  • 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 ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita
  • 3 ounces goat cheese


  1. Before cooking the lentils, make sure you rinse them well and pick over them to remove any small rocks or debris. 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.
  3. Note: When preparing this recipe, be sure to build in at least 10 minutes to cool the lentils after they have cooked.

Nutrition Information

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  • 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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • I was looking for a recipe with scallops and lentils. I think this would fabulous to use as a base for seared scallops.

    • — Mary from GA on April 25, 2024
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  • This salad is great with goat cheese, but I was driven by a craving to add a bit of baba ganoush instead—outstanding!

    • — Brenda Carter on September 16, 2023
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  • I’ve made this a few times and always add a twist. my last time was last week to a finicky audience and they loved it. I substituted carrots and celery for roasted diced sweet potatoes. I omitted the cheese. I added ribboned lacinato/dinosaur kale and radicchio whose bitterness complemented the dressing and sweet potatoes!

    • — michelle on September 7, 2023
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  • This is a great recipe!!! I love it as a side, a main or as a snack. I have paired it with coleslaw and for some reason the combination is yummy. I have left out the cheese so it keeps a long time as well.

    • — JDoc on June 16, 2023
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  • Hi, I’ve never cooked lentils before. Are they supposed to be mushy or should they be firm and hold their shape? Mine came out mushy- should I try again and cook for less time? I cooked for 20 minutes. I didn’t read ahead to see I should drain afterwards- I was waiting for them to soak up all the broth.
    BTW, I love, love, love all your recipes!

    • — Danielle on June 12, 2023
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    • Sorry had a problem with this! They should definitely soften up, but should still hold their shape. So after you cooked them for 20 minutes, you let them soak in the pot? If so, that would’ve caused the problem. And so glad you like the recipes!

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2023
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  • Made the following changes only because I was working with what I had on hand: Subbed Gorgonzola for Goat cheese, added cubed Honey Crisp apples to bring sweetness and stand in for the watery crispness of celery, and popped some green onion in at the end. I also cooked my lentils in Better Than Broth and water, bc we are vegetarian. I was making this ahead, and when I stirred it after refrigerating it for about two hours, I took a spoonful just to test. It was was so delicious that I couldn’t help but eat a whole cup! I will definitely make this again, next time as written but keeping the veggie broth, and I expect to love it just as much. Thanks for sharing!

    • — Maria on February 19, 2023
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  • This is quite good. You can pre-soak the lentils for a while so cooking is much faster. You can also just use water if you want to make this Veg. I’ve done it with a mix of water and broth. Be sure the lentils are quite cool before adding the other ingredients to avoid cooking them.

    • — Daniel Gottlieb on July 18, 2022
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