Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad Recipe

Welcome to my Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad recipe! This dish is a perfect way to enjoy the abundance of fresh produce that summer has to offer. With its colorful mix of vegetables, protein-packed lentils, and delicious pasta, this salad is a complete meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and energized.

As a chef, I believe that food should not only be delicious but also nutritious. That’s why I created this recipe with a focus on plant-based ingredients like lentils and fresh vegetables. This dish is not only good for your taste buds but also good for your body.

I love making this recipe for summer gatherings, picnics, or even as a meal prep option for the week. It’s quick and easy to make, and the flavors only get better with time. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, this recipe is sure to impress.

So let’s get started and dive into the world of fresh, vibrant flavors with my Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad
Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad

Get ready to fall in love with this Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad Recipe! This dish is packed with fresh and healthy ingredients that will make your taste buds dance with joy. Here are a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe:

Firstly, this pasta salad is perfect for a hot summer day. It’s light, refreshing, and has a deliciously tangy flavor that’s perfect for beating the heat. The fresh herbs and vegetables in this dish will keep you cool and hydrated, making it the perfect meal to enjoy on a hot summer day.

Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can make substitutions and variations to suit your tastes and dietary needs. For example, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can use chickpea pasta or substitute the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with a vegan alternative. You can also add or remove ingredients based on your preferences. The possibilities are endless!

Thirdly, this recipe is quick and easy to make. You can have it ready in under 30 minutes, making it a perfect meal for busy weeknights or last-minute get-togethers. All you need to do is cook the lentils and pasta, chop the vegetables, and mix everything together. It’s that simple!

Lastly, this dish is healthy and nutritious. It’s packed with plant-based protein from the lentils and healthy fats from the olive oil. The vegetables in this dish are also rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious and filling meal that will keep you energized throughout the day.

Overall, this Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad Recipe is a quick, easy, and delicious meal that’s perfect for any occasion. It’s healthy, versatile, and packed with flavor, making it a recipe that you’ll want to make again and again.

Ingredient List

 A colorful medley of garden-fresh ingredients in every bite
A colorful medley of garden-fresh ingredients in every bite

Here are all the ingredients you will need for this delicious summer garden lentil and pasta salad recipe:

For the Salad:

  • 1 cup dry green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 8 oz. dried petite green lentils
  • 8 oz. farfalle pasta
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

All the ingredients can be found in your local grocery store or farmers market. Make sure to check your pantry first for any of the ingredients you might already have on hand.

The Recipe How-To

 This pasta salad is the perfect summer side dish for any occasion
This pasta salad is the perfect summer side dish for any occasion

Now that we have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to put them together and create the perfect summer garden lentil and pasta salad. This recipe is quick and easy to make and perfect for a weeknight dinner or a weekend barbecue. Follow these simple steps to create a flavorful and healthy dish that everyone will love.

Step 1: Cook the Lentils

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of dry green lentils with 3 cups of fat-free chicken broth and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Remove the bay leaf and drain the lentils. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Cook the Pasta

Cook 8 ounces of pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool.

Step 3: Prepare the Dressing

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1 minced shallot, 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil until well combined.

Step 4: Combine the Ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the cooked lentils and pasta with 1 diced red onion, 1 diced yellow bell pepper, 1 diced red bell pepper, 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes, and 1 diced zucchini. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Step 5: Add the Herbs and Cheese

Add 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano, 1/2 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley, 1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil, and 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Toss gently to combine.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy

This summer garden lentil and pasta salad is best served chilled or at room temperature. It’s a perfect side dish for any summer meal, or it can be served as a light and healthy main course. Garnish with extra herbs and cheese before serving, if desired.

Now that you know how to make this delicious summer garden lentil pasta salad, give it a try and impress your guests with this quick and easy recipe.

Substitutions and Variations

 Lentils add a protein-packed punch to this refreshing salad
Lentils add a protein-packed punch to this refreshing salad

There are plenty of ways to switch up this Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad recipe to make it your own. Here are some substitutions and variations to consider:

– Vegetarian/Vegan: This recipe is already plant-based, but if you’d like to make it vegan, simply omit the parmigiano-reggiano cheese or swap it for a vegan cheese alternative. You can also use chickpea pasta instead of regular pasta to make it vegan-friendly.

– Gluten-Free: To make this recipe gluten-free, use a gluten-free pasta and ensure that your chicken broth is gluten-free as well. You can also use red lentil pasta instead of regular pasta for a grain-free option.

– Different Lentils: While this recipe calls for green lentils, you can also use red lentils or a mixture of both. Just keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the type of lentil you use.

– Different Vegetables: This recipe is a great way to use up whatever veggies you have on hand. Try adding in some roasted eggplant or mushrooms for an earthy flavor, or swap out the cherry tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes.

– Different Herbs: If you don’t have thyme or oregano on hand, you can use other fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, or cilantro. Just be sure to adjust the amounts to your liking.

– Dressing Variations: If you prefer a different type of dressing, you can swap out the red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard for a balsamic vinaigrette or an Italian dressing. You can also add in some fresh lemon juice for a citrusy kick.

With these substitutions and variations, you can create a customized version of this Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad recipe that suits your taste buds and dietary needs. Experiment and have fun with it!

Serving and Pairing

 Brighten up your plate (and your taste buds) with this vibrant dish
Brighten up your plate (and your taste buds) with this vibrant dish

This Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad Recipe is a versatile dish that can be served as a main course or as a side dish. It is perfect for a summer picnic or a backyard barbecue. This salad pairs well with a variety of dishes, and its light and fresh flavors complement any meal.

As a main course, this salad is satisfying and filling, thanks to the protein and fiber-rich lentils. You can also add grilled chicken or shrimp for an extra boost of protein. The pasta adds a nice texture and a subtle flavor that complements the lentils and vegetables.

As a side dish, this salad goes well with grilled meats, such as steak, chicken or fish. It can also be served alongside roasted vegetables or a bowl of soup for a complete meal.

To enhance the flavors of this salad, you can pair it with a crisp white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio. If you prefer red wine, a light-bodied red like a Pinot Noir would be a good choice.

If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic option, you can pair this salad with a refreshing iced tea or a sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime.

Overall, this salad is a crowd-pleaser that will satisfy any palate. Its flavors are fresh and light, making it the perfect dish for a summer gathering or a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Who says salads have to be boring? This one is bursting with flavor
Who says salads have to be boring? This one is bursting with flavor

One of the great things about this Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad Recipe is that it is perfect for making ahead of time. In fact, I often recommend making it a day or two ahead of when you plan to serve it, as the flavors will have time to meld together and become even more delicious.

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe as directed and then store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to three days, although I recommend giving it a good stir before serving to redistribute any dressing that may have settled at the bottom.

When it comes time to serve the salad, you may find that it has dried out a bit as the pasta and lentils absorb the dressing. If this is the case, simply add a bit more dressing to moisten it up again. You can use the leftover dressing from the original recipe or whip up a fresh batch.

If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. The pasta and lentils will continue to absorb the dressing, so you may need to add more before serving.

To reheat the salad, you have a couple of options. You can either microwave it on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating, or you can reheat it on the stovetop in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until heated through.

Overall, this Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad Recipe is a great make-ahead option that can be enjoyed for days after it’s been prepared. Just be sure to store it properly and add a bit of extra dressing as needed to keep it moist and flavorful.

Tips for Perfect Results

 From garden to table, this salad is a celebration of summer's bounty
From garden to table, this salad is a celebration of summer’s bounty

When it comes to making the perfect Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad, there are a few tips and tricks that can take your dish from good to great. Here are my top tips for achieving the perfect results every time:

1. Cook the lentils correctly

To ensure that the lentils are cooked perfectly, make sure to simmer them in broth with a bay leaf for at least 25 minutes or until they are tender. Drain them and let them cool before adding them to the salad.

2. Use fresh herbs

Fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, parsley, and basil add a burst of flavor to the dish. Make sure to chop them finely and add them at the end to avoid wilting.

3. Don’t overcook the pasta

Cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means it should be cooked but still firm to the bite. Overcooked pasta can make the salad mushy and unappetizing.

4. Use high-quality ingredients

Choose ripe cherry tomatoes, crisp bell peppers, and zucchinis that are not too soft. Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for the best flavor.

5. Adjust seasoning

Before serving, taste the salad and adjust the seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or vinegar to taste.

6. Chill the salad

Chill the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

7. Experiment with substitutions

Feel free to substitute different vegetables or herbs based on what is in season or what you have on hand. You can also use different types of pasta, such as farfalle or chickpea pasta, for a grain-free or gluten-free option.

8. Serve with a side dish

Consider serving the Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad with a side dish, such as a quick and easy caprese salad, for a complete and satisfying meal.

By following these tips, you can create a delicious and healthy Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad that is perfect for any occasion. Enjoy!

Bottom Line


In conclusion, this Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad Recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves delicious and healthy food. With its incredible blend of fresh herbs, veggies, lentils, and pasta, this salad is the perfect way to enjoy the flavors of summer in a single dish.

Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking for a plant-based meal, this recipe is perfect for you. It’s also a great option for those who want to eat healthier or follow a grain-free diet.

So, what are you waiting for? Try this recipe today and taste the magic of summer garden lentil pasta salad. I guarantee that it will become one of your go-to salad recipes for years to come. Don’t forget to share your feedback with us and let us know how you liked it. Happy cooking!

Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad Recipe

From Cooking Light. Serving size: 1 1/4 c. Per serving: 380 calories, 7.9 g fat, 16.2 g protein, 63.7 g carb, 7.6 g fiber, 3 mg cholesterol.


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  • 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup petite dry green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups uncooked orecchiette (pasta)
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 t. dried)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 t. dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. To make the vinaigrette: Add the first 7 ingredients to the container of a blender or food processor; process until well blended.
  2. To make the salad: Add the broth, lentils, and bay leaf to a saucepan; bring to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat; simmer 25 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  4. Drain; rinse under cold water; drain.
  5. Discard bay leaf.
  6. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting the salt and fat; drain and rinse under cold water, then drain again.
  7. Add lentils, pasta, zucchini, and remaining 11 ingredients to a mixing bowl; stir gently to combine.
  8. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat; adjust seasoning to taste and serve.
Side Dish
< 4 Hours, Beans, Healthy, Lentils, Low Cholesterol, Lunch, Stove Top, Summer

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