I came up with this recipe when I first started making more veggie-based dishes for dinners. We were in the mood for tacos but I didn’t want to use ground meat so I started looking for substitutes. I wasn’t fond of using a “fake” or “veggie” based meat substitute and needed something that would provide fiber, protein, and be on the healthy side.
Enter the lentils. Lentils are an amazing little legume. They have a very mild flavor and can really go into any style of dish because they take on whatever flavor you toss their way. They are cheap at the store and easy to make. Cooking lentils yourself is so simple, no need to buy premade lentils! They don’t take long to make at all. Unlike dry beans that take hours to simmer on the stove, lentils only take a few minutes to become soft and chewy. If you haven’t tried lentils before, I highly encourage you to do so!
Lentil tacos can help get you started! My lentil taco recipe is very quick and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time.
Andrea’s Lentil Tacos
- 1 C cooked lentils
- 1/4 of a large red onion, chopped
- 1/2 of a large green pepper, chopped
- 1 sm-med zucchini finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 C of your favorite salsa (chunky versions work best)
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 1/3-1/2 C of chicken stock
- 1 tsp of chili powder
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (the hotter, the larger the amount)
- 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
- 1/2 TBSP olive oil
In a large skillet with high sides, add oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is ready, add in the onions, carrot, green pepper, and jalapeno. Stir so everything is covered with oil, then add all the spices. Stir again to make sure everything is coated. Allow to sautee until the onions are soft and the carrot just begins to soften. Then add in the zucchini and stir again. Continue to sautee for about another 3-5 minutes or until the zucchini starts to soften a bit. Add in the tomato paste and salsa. Stir and cook for a few minutes, about 2, allowing the tomato paste to thicken the salsa and incorporate into the veggies. Then add the chicken stock, starting with 1/3 of a cup. If the mixture seems a bit too thick, add in more chicken stock a tablespoon at a time. You want this mixture to be thick but also saucy. If it’s too thin, it won’t stay in the taco shells. Once the stock is added, then add in the lentils. Cook for another 3 minutes or so until the mixture is at a simmer. Turn off heat and spoon mixture into taco shells. Serve warm, makes plenty for leftover meals. Freezes well.
Lentil tacos are a favorite here at the HQ. A definite a “go-to” meal when we need something quick and I’m craving a bellah full of veggies. You get the loveliness of a taco with the healthy benefits of veggies. Naturally, you could eat this many different ways. Soft shell? No problem. Or make burritos with the filling. I’ve laid it on top of a salad and had it that way as well. It’s yummy hot or cold because I would be lying if I said I’ve never just dipped tortilla chips right into the filling.
I use chicken stock in everything. Very rarely will you see a true vegetarian dish at the HQ. However, most of my veggie based dishes can easily be turned full vegetarian. For example, vegetable stock can be subbed for the chicken stock in this dish.
I’ve also played around with the liquids and used a bit of stock and a bit of beer, which turned out very nice! Gave it a more complex taste of sorts and felt a little more indulgent. I have no idea how typical meat eaters would respond to this dish. I would say try it and find out! My husband loves these tacos and usually has 3 or more at a meal.
This does make a large serving. I tend to make things in large batches so I have leftovers and can freeze portions for later use.
If you’re looking for something new, give this twist on tacos a try! Have fun guys and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!