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Plate of yogurt topped with lentil served with a wedge of fluffy torn pita on the side.

Summer Lentil Salad with Sumac Yogurt Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This summer lentil salad is served over a citrusy sumac yogurt spread. A refreshing light salad that can be served for lunch or dinner.


  • 3/4 cup dry French lentils
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds or pepitas
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 8 leaves of mint, minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Sumac Yogurt Sauce

  • 4 tbsp thick unsweetened plant based yogurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp sumac
  • Kosher salt to taste

For Serving

  • 2 Persian cucumbers, finely diced
  • Warm whole grain pita


  1. Rinse the dry lentils then add to a medium saucepan with 2 cups of vegetable broth. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook the lentils for 17-20 minutes, stirring the lentils occasionally until they are tender in texture. Drain off any excess liquid, then set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare your yogurt sauce by combining the yogurt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and zest, sumac and a generous pinch of salt. Whisk together until mostly smooth then taste and adjust salt to preference.
  3. Place a medium sauté pan over medium low heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil to warm through. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and allow to bloom for 30-45 seconds until fragrant. Add the shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook until the shallots have softened and the garlic is golden. Stir in the coriander and remaining lemon zest then remove from heat.
  4. To a mixing bowl add the cooked lentils, the cooked shallot and garlic mix, almonds, raisins, parsley, mint, red wine vinegar and the juice of half a lemon. Toss the mixture together to fully combine then drizzle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. After mixing, adjust the seasonings to taste.
  5. To assemble your plate, spread a generous amount of the yogurt sauce (I used about 2-3 heaping spoons) on your plate. Spread the mixture out evenly then top with the lentil salad and a sprinkle of the diced cucumbers. Warm some pita and use it to scoop up the mixture and enjoy.


Save time and use pre-cooked lentils. You can get pre-cooked lentils a few different ways. Try canned varieties of French lentils or beluga lentils. Some stores may also sell lentils that are pre-cooked and refrigerated like Trader Joe’s.

For some extra protein, opt for a soy or protein boosted yogurt. Brands like Silk offer soy yogurts that typically have at least 6 grams of protein per serving. For a soy free option try Kite Hill’s Greek Style yogurt.

Don’t over cook your lentils. Use smaller lentils like small brown lentils, French lentils or black lentils as they tend to hold their shape the best when cooked. Cooking them a few minutes shy of the recommended cooking time tends to help prevent them from being overly mushy.