Lentil pasta salad is easy to make with a simple homemade oil and vinegar based dressing. There is no mayo, no dairy and it is absolutely delicious! It is perfect for your next gathering, your guests will love it.
As much as we love pasta (I do love it more then I should), we have been experimenting with foods that can replace it for some meals. I am not giving up pasta, I still love my bacon ranch pasta salad, but substituting healthier versions some days is what we are aiming for.
Lentil pasta is one of these delicious alternatives and this red lentil pasta salad is something we love! We also enjoy veggie noodles in dishes like our veggie noodles in garlic sauce.
Lentil pasta is great because it doesn't have a strong flavor, making it a perfect substitute that your family will love!
We make a homemade dressing for this cold lentil pasta salad so we divided the ingredients and pictures into two sections.
Lentil pasta - You can use your favorite brand. We use Barilla red lentil penne pasta for the salad, but you can use rotini in it's place.
Cannellini beans - We use a can of beans drained and rinsed. If you use dried beans, you must cook them fully before adding to the salad (dried beans must be cooked fully before eating, canned beans are ready to eat cold or heated.) You can substitute chickpeas or other beans for the cannellini beans, we think it's best with cannellini.
Bell peppers - We use half of a green and half of a red bell pepper, but you can mix them up and use your favorite!
Cucumber - The recipe is written with 1 regular cucumber, but sometimes we use about half of an English cucumber. It depends on what we have available. Use your favorite!
Tomatoes - We use grape tomatoes, but cherry tomatoes are great too.
Dressing - Ingredients below.
Oil - We use either olive oil or avocado oil. We have made it with both and enjoy it with either oil. Olive oil has a little more of a distinct flavor where avocado oil doesn't have as strong of a flavor.
Vinegar - Red wine vinegar is best for flavor, but you can use white wine vinegar in it's place.
Leeks - You can use either leeks or scallions. They are both mild in taste and are delicious raw. For the leeks you will want around 2-3 full leaves, depending on the size of the leek - from the root through the green ends. Scallions will be 2 scallions.
Honey - This is our favorite sweetener here for the red lentil pasta salad, we have not tried it with other sweeteners.
Mustard - Spicy mustard is best for flavor, but you can use yellow mustard or even Dijon mustard.
Garlic - Smashed and chopped will give you the best flavor, but you can use garlic powder in it's place if you do not have garlic cloves. Smashing it first is optional but something that does help to release the flavor better.
Italian seasoning - You can use one third of a teaspoon of each - basil, oregano and parsley if you do not have Italian seasoning.
Salt and pepper - You may want to adjust the amount to taste.
Making the lentil pasta salad
This is an easy summer salad to make, but we do recommend you make the dressing first even before cooking the pasta. This gives it time for the flavors to combine perfectly before adding to the salad.
The dressing is easy to make and I do recommend you set it aside for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors come together. We make it and allow it to sit out at room temperature while preparing the rest of the salad.
Chop up the leeks (or scallions) and pour them into a small bowl. I use 2-3 full leaves from the root end (cut the root off) to the top of the greens - this depends on how large the leeks are. Use about 2 thirds of a cup chopped. You can use more if you prefer! If using scallions, it should be 2 scallions chopped.
Pour the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning over the leeks. Stir well and set aside until ready to assemble the lentil pasta salad.
Cook the lentil pasta according to the directions on the box until desired texture. Drain and rinse well with cold water to cool down completely.
While the pasta is cooking chop your vegetables. Chop the bell peppers and cucumbers into bite size pieces. For the cucumber I like to quarter it lengthwise and then slice it into small pieces so you have small triangles. I find it easiest to chop them this way.
For the tomatoes, I wash them and cut them in half. You can add them in whole or you can use 1-2 regular tomatoes cut into small chunks.
As a note - if your cucumber feels waxy you can peel the skin off with a potato peeler. The wax is put on by stores to help extend the freshness and is harmless but I don't usually like it on my food. It is hard to wash off.
Pour the drained and cooled lentil pasta into a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped vegetables to the bowl. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and pour into the bowl with the pasta and veggies.
Mix everything together well. Add in the dressing and stir until it is completely mixed.
You can serve the lentil pasta salad immediately or place in the fridge until ready to serve.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, this salad is gluten free! Just be sure to check the ingredients to be sure there is no cross contamination. All of the ingredients are naturally gluten free, but it depends on the manufacturing process. Most if not all lentil pastas should be gluten free (unless they add something), but I do know that Barilla is gluten free.
No it is not. Lentil pasta is a healthy alternative to regular pasta, but it is not low carb pasta.
Yes you can! You can use the green pasta in place of the red. We just prefer the red pasta, but it is a personal preference.
It should last 3-4 days in the fridge. After the 3-4 days the pasta will likely change in texture and the veggies will not be so fresh.
Easy Lentil Pasta Salad
- 8.8 ounces lentil pasta see notes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped bell peppers see notes
- 15 ounces canned cannellini beans or chick peas
- 3 Tablespoons oil olive or avocado is best
- 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ⅔ cup chopped leeks or scallions
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon spicy mustard
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Make the dressing before cooking the pasta. Chop the leeks (or scallions) and pour into a small bowl. Pour the oil, vinegar, honey, chopped garlic, spicy mustard, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper over the leeks. Mix well and set aside.3 Tablespoons oil, 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, ⅔ cup chopped leeks, 1 Tablespoon honey, 1 Tablespoon spicy mustard, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 2 cloves garlic
- Cook lentil pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water until it is cooled.Pour into a large mixing bowl.8.8 ounces lentil pasta
- Chop the peppers and cucumber into bite size pieces.Cut the grape (or cherry) tomatoes in half.Add the vegetables to the cooled pasta.1 cucumber, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 2 cups chopped bell peppers
- Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.Pour over the vegetables and pasta. Stir well to combine.15 ounces canned cannellini beans
- Pour the dressing over the lentil pasta and vegetable mixture. Stir well.Serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to serve.