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lentil and salmon salad on tomatoes

Have a piece of salmon left from grilling? How about a 6-ounce can of wild salmon? Cook up some lentils, chop a few vegetables, whip up Molly O’Neill’s Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette, and you’re set for dinner for 4 or a first course for 6-8.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, First Course, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lentils, Salmon


  • 1 ½ cups lentils brown or green, well-rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon EACH kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Generous pinch crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 stalks celery minced
  • ½ medium fennel bulb cored and minced
  • Medium carrot, trimmed, peeled, and cut into small dice
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped-plus extra left whole for serving
  • Molly O’Neill’s Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette--See Notes
  • 4-6 ounces cooked salmon, skin and bones removed, chopped or flaked with a fork
  • 4 large tomatoes-for main course or 6-8 small ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little salt and pepper before adding the salad to them
  • Thyme sprigs or fresh mint for garnish
  • Lemon wedges for serving optional


  • Add lentils to three quarts of water in a 4-quart pot; bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and let cook until tender – about 20 minutes. Drain well, tip into a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and red wine vinegar, and sprinkle with the salt and peppers. Stir well. Add the onion, celery, fennel, carrot, parsley, and olives to the lentils; stir again. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Carefully stir in the salmon. Taste and adjust seasonings. Using a large ice cream scoop or ladle, place about 1 ¼ cups of salad at the center of the tomatoes on each plate for 4 main servings. Use about ¾ cup each for 6 first-course servings or a bit more than ½ cup for each of 8. Add a few of the reserved kalamata olives around the edges of the plate. Garnish the plates with a thyme sprig or mint and a wedge of lemon, if using.


Other vegetables substitute easily for the ones I’ve used. Try chopped cooked green beans or asparagus, diced grilled eggplant, or sautéed leeks or mushrooms. Additions could include toasted chopped nuts, diced sharp cheese, pepitas, or other crunchy favorites. Large red sweet bell peppers, cut in half and grilled, could substitute for the tomatoes if desired.
Whisk together in a small bowl ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, 2 minced cloves garlic, and 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil. Whisk in the ½ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Molly’s recipe also includes 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley. I’ve left it out here as I added parsley to the salad itself.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2019. All rights reserved.