Spicy Lentil Tacos
Do you have lentils in your pantry? These easy going legumes are like the laid back surfers of the bean world. Ready to go at a moment’s notice they require hardly any preparation and take just a brief 25 minutes to cook. No overnight soaking, pre-cooking, or long slow simmers required. Packed with protein, fiber, essential minerals, and B vitamins lentils are an excellent choice for bulking up meatless meals.
I have long appreciated the lentil, enjoying tangy lentil salads, orange lentil soup, and warm curried ham and lentil salads. However I never considered the possibility of using brown lentils as a meat substitute until I came across a recipe for Ancho Lentil Tacos over at the Post Punk Kitchen. Vegan cookbook author and blogger extraordinaire Isa Chandra uses brown lentils cooked in a spicy taco seasoning to fill corn tortillas. A brilliant idea, I knew I had to give it a try at the first opportunity.
First I made a big batch of basic lentils, simmering the lentils with a few aromatics to enhance their natural earthy flavor. (As a bonus, I found that Anna loves pureed lentils. Health food for everyone!) Then all that was left was a quick saute of onions and peppers, mixing in the spices and lentils, and heating the entire dish through. You can mash the lentils a bit if you want a thicker texture, but I enjoyed leaving ours mostly intact.
Inside a corn tortilla, topped with avocado, tomatoes, and thinly sliced radish the spicy lentils are a convincing alternative to taco meat. Mr. B happily ate his soft tacos and didn’t even ask about the missing cheese. (Of course a sharp cheddar would be great on top if you are so inclined.) I am learning that with vegan or vegetarian cooking often the key to success is the use of bold, at times aggressive, seasoning. Delicately seasoned vegetables have their place on a menu but for meatless main courses strong flavors and high fiber go a long ways in creating a pleasing sense of satiety.
Spicy Lentil Tacos Print Recipe
Total Time: 15 months, 15 minutes
Serving Size: 1 Cup
Calories per serving: 216
Fat per serving: 2.3 grams
- 1 1/2 cups Diced Onion
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Poblano Peppers, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Ancho Chile Powder
- 1 teaspoon Chipotle Chile Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 4 cups Cooked Lentils
- 1/3 cup Vegetable Stock (Low Sodium)
- 4 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce (Tapatio or Similar)
- 2 teaspoons Olive Oil