Summer potluck lentil and potato salad with red onion, and (optional) grilled salmon…all tossed with a yogurt-dill dressing. Perfect for a picnic!

easy summer potluck salad, potato salad with lentils and grilled salmon


A lot of my salads tend to be thrown together from the latest scavenger hunt in rarely visited caverns of my refrigerator. Some wilted kale from the bottom of the produce drawer gets thrown in ice water to rehydrate, and make it like new again (sure wish my skin was like that). A last apple is washed, cored and sliced up. If I need a little protein, I might add a soft- or hard-boiled egg. And my dressing rarely strays from  olive oil, sherry vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. It’s all good, but I’ve been in a serious rut.

This time, I wanted to make an entrée salad. And because it’s summer, an EASY entrée salad. I took an approach as if there might be both vegetarians and omnivores at an imaginary potluck picnic and made two versions of the same salad, and yes, they both pass the “easy summer cooking” litmus test.

Both are a potato salad served at room temperature, tossed in red onions and cooked lentils, but the omnivore version mixes in some grilled salmon. Both are dressed with a yogurt-boursin (cheese)-dill dressing. Best of all, they’re made with ingredients I always have on hand, except perhaps the dill. I don’t know why I haven’t made this before!

The Wimpy Vegetarian Table

The omnivore version of this warm salad tosses in some grilled salmon (as pictured), but the vegetarian version can be easily served as a main meal with the lentils packing enough protein and depth into the salad to satisfy everyone. More details are provided in the below recipe.

Roasted Potato Salad with Lentils & Salmon

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: Serves 6 - 8

Vegetarian Roasted Potato Salad with Lentils
  • 5 cups halved baby potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ - ¾ tsp kosher salt, according to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ cup cooked brown lentil beans (or your favorite lentils)
  • 1½ Tbsp minced chives
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 Tbsp soft cheese with herbs (I used Boursin garlic and herbed cheese)
  • 2 Tbsp plain full-fat yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chopped dill
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
For the Omnivores
  • ¾ pound fresh salmon filet
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp peanut oil
Vegetarian Roasted Potato Salad with Lentils
  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Toss the potatoes in oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender. The blade of a knife should be able to easily puncture the potatoes.
  2. I frequently have a stash of cooked lentils in the refrigerator, but they're so easy, and quick, to make. If your lentils aren't already cooked, go here for detailed instructions on cooking lentil beans.
  3. Combine the roasted potatoes, ¾ cup of cooked lentils (or more, if you prefer), the minced chives, and chopped red onion together in a large bowl.
  1. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. This makes more dressing than you will need, so reserve the rest to re-dress leftovers the next day. Lightly toss.
For the Omnivores
  1. Fire up the grill, nice and hot. You should be able to hold your hand two inches above the grill for five seconds. Lightly oil a grill pan suitable for grilling fish or vegetables. I like to use peanut oil for its high smoke temperature rather than olive oil.
  2. Bring the salmon to room temperature, rub a little oil on it, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place the salmon, flesh side down on the grill pan, skin side up. Grill for 5 minutes. Flip, add the dill to the top of the fish, and cook another five minutes or more, depending on how well cooked you like your fish. My instructions are for grilling one inch thick salmon medium-rare.
  3. Divide the Vegetarian Lentil Potato Salad into two portions. One portion should be ⅓ of the total for the omnivores, the other portion is obviously ⅔, enough for the vegetarians at the table. Flake the salmon in large chunks and toss into the omnivore portion.


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13 Responses to “Lentil and Potato Salad (with Salmon Option)” Subscribe

  1. lizthechef July 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Love the flexibility of your salad, Susan –
    lizthechef recently posted..Black Rice Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette for #TheSaladBarMy Profile

  2. Wendy July 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    This turned out great…love it! That dressing is fabulous…I’d eat the salmon version as we’re going to try to eat fish 2-3 times each week going forward in lieu of fish oil supps.
    Wendy recently posted..#The Salad Bar for July: Potluck Salads…Featuring Updated Asian Ramen SlawMy Profile

  3. apuginthekitchen July 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Really nice salad Susan, love the options to change it up a bit i.e. salmon. I love it the way you wrote with the lentils. That dressing sounds amazing, this is a great salad.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Spiced Plum CobblerMy Profile

  4. Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious July 13, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    I really like the flexible way you wrote this recipe!
    Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious recently posted..Non-Traditional Arroz Verde for #TheSaladBarMy Profile

  5. veronica gantley July 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Your lentil potato salad is so lovely. I could go for a big bowl of that right now!!

  6. Marlene @Nosh My Way July 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    I love how you gave options for this. I love salmon, but I think this salad is great stand alone.

  7. Michelle July 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    The dressing sounds wonderful!

  8. angela@spinachtiger July 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    I like this as a vegetarian dish. Seems filling and satisfying and I think would disappear at a party.

  9. Cindys Recipes and Writings July 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Salmon is never an option at my house if I have it its on this salad!

  10. CCU July 13, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    My mum always complains I eat potatoes not lentils 😛
    Now I can eat both – perfect!

    CCU recently posted..CCU Undercover Diary: Patisserie New YorkMy Profile

  11. Erika July 19, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    Ooh fabulous–I know what you mean about getting kind of stuck in a rut. So great to start exploring and finding new and different flavor/ingredient combinations! Wait–I just realized I have five little potatoes from my coworker’s leftover CSA. I’m so excited!!! I might make this salad this weekend–I love lentils sooo much. They’re perfect for taking a salad from, well, a salad to an entree with lots of protein/fiber/etc. So basically, this is a brilliant salad. Beautiful, as always!
    Erika recently posted..{Stovetop} Banana Bread BitesMy Profile

  12. Mary Frances July 24, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    There are few things that shout “summer!” to me more than a potato salad. I love your twist on the common potato salad–the addition of salmon is wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration, I will be sure to step it up with my next salad! :)
    Mary Frances recently posted..Dinner salads with Provencial chicken or 2 dinners in 1!My Profile

  13. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies July 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    I love the idea of adding lentils to potato salad–two of my favorite ingredients together!

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