Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta {Recipe}

Make packing school lunch easy and serve your kids something delicious with this vegetarian, nut-free, and gluten-free Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad. 

Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta | Protein- and fiber-rich lentils and chickpeas, crunchy bell peppers and Persian cucumbers, sweet pomegranate seeds, and salty feta cheese are tossed together in a lemony maple-mustard vinaigrette for a kid-friendly and adult approved lunchbox salad. Get this gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly recipe @jlevinsonrd.

Packing lunch for the kids every single day is not easy. I think most parents would agree it’s a chore they can’t wait to stop doing once their children are old enough to make their own lunch or buy it at school. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that packing my girls’ lunch is my favorite part of being a mom, but I also don’t mind it as much as many of my friends.

You see, packing their mid-day meal gives me the insurance that they are eating a healthy and delicious lunch, allows me to show them how much I love them by making one of their favorite recipes or adding a note to their lunchbox, and provides me with an opportunity to be creative in the kitchen as I seek to keep their lunch interesting and avoid their boredom from the same lunch meals week after week.

One of the challenges I am faced with when packing my girls’ lunchboxes is that they go to a Jewish and kosher pre-school, and as such they can only bring vegetarian or fish-based meals – no meat allowed. On top of that restriction, their school is a nut-free establishment. There are so many days I wish I could send leftover chicken from last night’s dinner or peanut soba noodles, which they love. But alas, I can’t, and so I head to the kitchen with my thinking cap on to keep things interesting for them at lunchtime.

Some of their favorite lunchboxes consist of these Quick, Easy, & Healthy School Lunch Ideas, like Easy Veggie Egg Muffins, Veggie & Bean Quinoa Bites, soynut butter and fruit sandwich kebabs, cucumber and cheese “sandwiches,” smoked salmon and cucumber roll-ups (one of their all-time faves), and this Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad.

Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta | Protein- and fiber-rich lentils and chickpeas, crunchy bell peppers and Persian cucumbers, sweet pomegranate seeds, and salty feta cheese are tossed together in a lemony maple-mustard vinaigrette for a kid-friendly and adult approved lunchbox salad. Get this gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly recipe @jlevinsonrd.

Ingredients & Preparation

This salad came about the way many of the lunchboxes I put together do – from ingredients I have on hand. I always have a package of Trader Joe’s steamed ready-to-eat lentils in my freezer, and one night after making my Vegetarian Lentil Bolognese I had about a cup of lentils left over and decided I would use them for the next day’s lunch. I peeked into my fridge to see what else I could add and found some staples –  colorful bell peppers, Persian cucumbers, and feta cheese. I also had pomegranates, which my girls absolutely love, so I decided to throw them into the salad too.

The next morning when I posted their lunchbox on my Instagram account, I had such an overwhelming response from people who loved the look of the lentil salad and asked for the recipe. Then the girls came home with empty lunchboxes and I knew I had a winner and had to make it again.

Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta | Protein- and fiber-rich lentils and chickpeas, crunchy bell peppers and Persian cucumbers, sweet pomegranate seeds, and salty feta cheese are tossed together in a lemony maple-mustard vinaigrette for a kid-friendly and adult approved lunchbox salad. Get this gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly recipe @jlevinsonrd.

The next time around I had half a can of chickpeas in my fridge, so I decided to add those in for the added protein and fiber boost. The salad is topped with a lemony mustard maple dressing that’s bright, fresh, and subtly sweet. I always make enough of it to have some for my lunch too and I throw it over a bed of arugula or mixed greens to bulk it up and make it a more filling meal.

This Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta fits the bill perfectly for my girls’ school – it’s vegetarian (vegan if you don’t add the cheese) and nut-free. It’s also gluten-free and egg-free for those who are looking for that in their lunch recipes. I would even recommend it as a side dish next to a piece of chicken or fish at dinner.

As always, you can change up the recipe to make it your own – add different veggies, make it without cheese or choose a different cheese, and when pomegranates aren’t in season (like now!), add diced strawberries, halved blueberries, or even chopped apples. So many possibilities and so so easy!

Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta | Protein- and fiber-rich lentils and chickpeas, crunchy bell peppers and Persian cucumbers, sweet pomegranate seeds, and salty feta cheese are tossed together in a lemony maple-mustard vinaigrette for a kid-friendly and adult approved lunchbox salad. Get this gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly recipe @jlevinsonrd.

Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad Recipe

5.0 from 5 reviews
Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta
 
Prep Time
Total Time
 
Protein- and fiber-rich lentils and chickpeas, crunchy bell peppers and Persian cucumbers, sweet pomegranate seeds, and salty feta cheese are tossed together in a lemony maple-mustard vinaigrette for a kid-friendly and adult approved lunchbox salad. Add some arugula or mixed greens for a more filling meal.
Author:
Recipe Type: Salad, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Nut-Free, Egg-Free
Serves: 8 (serving size: ½-cup)
Ingredients
For the Salad:
  • 1½ cups cooked lentils (I use Trader Joe's steamed, ready-to-eat lentils)
  • 1 cup drained and rinsed no-salt-added canned chickpeas
  • ½ cup diced bell peppers
  • ½ cup diced Persian or English cucumbers (I keep skin on, but peel if desired)
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds (sub other fruit of choice at other seasons)
  • Arugula or mixed greens (optional)
For the Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1½ teaspoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine lentils, chickpeas, peppers, cucumbers, feta, and pomegranate seeds.
  2. In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, syrup, salt, and pepper, to taste.
  3. Pour dressing over lentil chickpea vegetable salad and toss to combine.
  4. Serve over a bed of arugula or mixed greens if desired.

Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta | Protein- and fiber-rich lentils and chickpeas, crunchy bell peppers and Persian cucumbers, sweet pomegranate seeds, and salty feta cheese are tossed together in a lemony maple-mustard vinaigrette for a kid-friendly and adult approved lunchbox salad. Get this gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly recipe @jlevinsonrd.

Do you pack lunch for your kids?

If so, do you enjoy it or find it a chore?

Share with me in the comments section below!

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55 Responses to Lentil Chickpea Vegetable Salad with Feta {Recipe}


  1. I love that you put so much great thought into their lunch boxes! They’re so lucky to have a mom who cares so much about their health! This salad looks delicious!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Sara – I really appreciate you saying that! Hope you give the salad a try 🙂

  2. Jenn says:

    I think we would get along quite well at that school! 🙂 The nut-free is hard though. My son’s class is tree-nut free, but that just pertains to snacks. Since lunch is eaten in the lunchroom, not the classroom and there is a separate area for the allergy kids. I’m thankful I don’t have to do nut free for lunch as well since we eat a lot of them. This salad looks incredible. Totally something I would whip up for sure! yum!

    • Jessica says:

      You definitely would Jenn! I’m happy that next year when they’re in Kindergarten they can bring nuts since we eat a lot of them too. I’ll still have to do meat-free, but I’ll have more options. Hope you give this salad a try – I think you’d really like it!

  3. Maria says:

    I love everything in this salad! And you’ve got some very healthy girls 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Maria! haha…they have their fair share of treats too, but all in moderation 🙂 I’m proud of what good little eaters they are!

  4. This is definitely a great protein-filled packable option! I bet the flavors just improve as it chills, too.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Alisa! And yes – the flavors meld as the vinaigrette soaks into the ingredients!

  5. What a great way to use lentils! That is something I keep telling myself I have to eat more of – and this is a great recipe to get me started! Yum

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Charlene! I hope you give it a try and enjoy!

  6. That is one scrumptious looking salad! And it’s full of nutrients, just what we want for our little ones!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Sonali! Exactly! Hope Sienna likes it!

  7. I love finding plant based meals that are so hearty and filling!! helps me prove people wrong about requiring meat 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Yay! So glad you like it Amanda!

  8. Jessica, This looks wonderful! Way to go with the creativity and taste – doesn’t look like any restrictions here. I know how some schools can be strict with their dietary adherences – and most (I think all) are nut-free. Meat-free is another challenge. Plant-based is always a great way to go regardless! : )

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Lauren! It’s definitely a challenge to keep those lunch boxes packed with something new, interesting, and that the kids will like. I’m so glad that they enjoy these plant-based meals!

  9. Lindsey Pine says:

    You had me at the word feta! yum!! Love putting it into salads

    • Jessica says:

      Haha I love feta too! Thanks so much Lindsey!

  10. I love how versatile chickpeas are! I made this over the weekend (just skipped the pomegranate since I didn’t have any) and it was great!

    • Jessica says:

      So do I! Thank you so much for letting me know and so glad you liked it! I made it for the girls for lunch today and added diced strawberries now that Pomegranate seeds are out of season!

  11. I love all the colors, flavors and textures in this salad! It’s seriously perfect!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you so much Shannon! You’re so kind 🙂

  12. Delicious!! I think I get in a “salad rut” sometimes. This is inspiring!

    • Jessica says:

      Glad you’re inspired by it Stacey. I agree – salads can get boring after a while. Definitely need to change things up!

  13. ACKTIVE LIFE says:

    I love all of these ingredients. Such a refreshing, nourishing, and healthy salad to have all week. I’m sure that the longer you let these flavors sit, the better it gets. Thanks for sharing! Pinning for later!

    • Jessica says:

      So glad you like the recipe and thanks for pinning! It definitely gets more flavorful as the ingredients sit and the flavors meld together.

  14. LOVE this! Especially the feta, such a nice addition.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you so much Abbie!

  15. Chickpeas are such a versatile food! This salad looks yummy!

    • Jessica says:

      I agree – and so are lentils! Thanks Kristina!

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  17. This looks so tasty! I love that you added pomegranate seeds – I’m sure that adds a nice flavor profile.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Christina! I always love sweet and savory combos!

  18. abbey sharp says:

    This looks great!! And the Vinaigrette sounds amazing!!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Abbey! I hope you love it as much as we do!

  19. This is my kind of lunch for sure! I do still make my highschoolers lunch for him but he would never eat this!

    • Jessica says:

      I’m glad you would like it Deborah! What a mom you are that you still make your son’s lunch! By the time I was in high school I had to do it myself 🙂

  20. Chrissy says:

    I think I’d like the control over their nutrition, too. But I’m amazed your pre-schoolers will eat this salad. Looks too healthy. 🙂 My toddlers will see the veggies and run. Such picky eaters. I’ll enjoy it myself then.

    • Jessica says:

      Haha Chrissy, most of the kids in their school wouldn’t eat it either. I feel very lucky and am grateful that my girls enjoy this kind of food. I started them super early eating all these kinds of flavors and I think that has made all the difference. Although I know that doesn’t happen for everyone, so I don’t take it for granted. I hope you at least get to enjoy this delicious salad!

  21. Marisa Moore says:

    Pinned. Can’t wait to try this recipe, Jessica. I love chickpeas, arugula, feta… so I’m sure I’ll love this one.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Marisa! If you like lentils too, this will be a home run 😉

  22. Liz says:

    I love the addition of the pom seeds in here- but so perfect that you also said you could make it seasonal too! I think your girls are so lucky to have this in their lunch- I know I would be!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks liz. The Pom seeds are a perfect compliment, but I made it with diced strawberries last week and it was a delicious combo too. Lmk if you give it a try!

  23. I am so jealous that your girls will eat this, so healthy and delicious!

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so grateful they do! I definitely don’t take it for granted and hope it doesn’t change 😊

  24. I absolutely love this for a lunchbox idea! My daughter would really like this.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much! My girls love it – hope your daughter does too. Keep me posted!

  25. Forget the kids! I’m going to make this for myself and eat it every day for lunch 🙂 Seriously though, I saw your recipe on Pinterest the other day, and pinned it right away. I love all the ingredients in this, and pretty much have all of them on hand in my regular pantry rotation. How wonderful that your girls love it too!

    • Jessica says:

      Haha…you totally should EA! I love it too. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and can’t wait for you to try it!

  26. Diane Boyd says:

    Wow, your daughters don’t know how lucky they are! Great recipe!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Diane! I know they love their lunches and hopefully they appreciate it all! They rarely ask for what their friends are having, which at least is something!

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