Lentil-Veggie Tacos

Lentil Veggie Tacos - Healthy and Delicious!
I totally get the appeal of meat substitutes.  In fact I pretty much lived off of faux-chicken patties, boca burgers, and other soy based swaps all throughout college.  But have you ever read the ingredients on those things?  Ugh!  They’re practically a mile long!  If it were a mile long list of nothing but whole foods I’d be stuffing my face silly by now, but we all know that at least half the contents on that list will be unrecognizable and/or unpronounceable.  Plus they’re pricey… and loaded with salt…. and… I rest my case.

After doing a little bit of researched on uber-processed soy, tvp, and a few of the other components of faux meats, I decided to put them on my extreme moderation list.  I’m not oppossed to grabbing a morningstar veggie burger with guac from Burger King during a long road trip or satisfying the occasional BLT craving with some smoky maple tempeh bacon.  But regular consumption?  Not happening.  For the rest of my eats, I want them as clean and un-processed as possible.  So gosh darn-it, i’ll just make my own!  Starting with this deeeelish taco filling:

Lentil Veggie Tacos - Healthy and Delicious!

Lentil-Veggie Tacos
[Serves 4-5 and the filling tastes even better the next day!  love it!]

What’s in it?
1 cup of dried lentils
16oz refried beans
1 cup diced onion
4oz mushrooms, minced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of your favorite enchilada sauce
all-natural blue corn taco shells [ah-mazing!]
a splash of oil [olive..grape seed...coconut]

Seasoning Blend:
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4-1/2 tsp dried cilantro [I highly suggest trying this stuff on everything!]
1/4 tsp salt

Many taco seasoning packets are laced with MSG, this blend will spare you from the sketchy additive.

Tasty Toppings:
shredded romaine or spring mix lettuce
grated cheese + greek yogurt [or sour cream] [vegansaurus chefs- simply skip it!]
green or red salsa
fresh, ripe tomatoes
fresh or pickled peppers
guacamole

Lentil Veggie Tacos - Healthy and Delicious!

Get Cooking!

Rinse and sort 1 cup of lentils.  Heat 3 cups of water in a pot until it’s just about to boil, add lentils, and reduce to simmer for 15-25 minutes or until tender.  [drain and return to pot once fully cooked]  While the lentils are simmering, you’ll have enough time to make the entire meal.  Saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic with a splash of oil until tender.  Add seasoning blend [see recipe] and enchilada sauce at the end and stir.  Next combine them with the lentils, along with the refried beans and heat on low, stirring gently to incorporate.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  I decided to add an extra sprinkle of each spice — feel free to follow suit!  Bake your tortilla shells, prep your toppings, and assemble.
Lentil Veggie Tacos - Healthy and Delicious!

So…How was it?

Meat-who?  I didn’t even notice it was missing!  The shroom-onion-lentil-pinto combo gave the tacos a meaty taste and texture [think: a hearty, tasty chili] minus the moo cow.  These are not your basic lentil tacos.  In fact, the ones I’ve had before were always just okay… yet never very memorable.  But these? These are downright delicious!  Granted, I do think nearly any taco on this earth is a beautiful, glorious thing but — these are my magical version that I’ll be making for years to come.  Obviously you have GOT to try them =)

Since we’re talking tacos — tell me your favorite toppings!

Comments

  1. says

    OMG, those look scrumptious!!! I have bean tacos on my menu but I need to try lentils next time. Such a versatile little legume. YUMMY

  2. says

    YUM these look so good! i am a huge fan of anything bean-related and mexican food is one of my favs! i recently fell in love with lentils so this recipe is definitely getting bookmarked!

  3. Robyn :) says

    okay, first of all, Burger King makes a vegetarian hamburger??????  I had no idea!  Second, where do you buy your blue corn taco shells?

  4. says

    YES!!!! Its a morningstar garden veggie burger and its really really tasty with their guacamole! I have them every time we move so like — once or twice a year? haha they’re delish!

    The blue corn tortilla shells are Garden of Eatin’ brand — so whole foods… harris teeter… publix… and even little hippie grocery stores and co-ops should have them! Amazon.com does too I think =) They’re SO DELICIOUS!!!!!!!

    xoxo
    jenn

  5. says

    Yum, looks awesome!!  By the way, I made your potato soup over the weekend … pictures will be on the blog later this week, with links to you. :)  It was super yummy.  I just finished the leftovers for lunch! :)

    And P.S. I tried that maple tempeh bacon stuff.  Yeah.  Not a fan. ;)  But that’s OK … there are plenty of other fun recipes to try on your blog and other veggie blogs that don’t include tempeh! :)

  6. says

    Glad you liked the soup!!!! I spent soooo much time developing and photographing that damn recipe — but its deeeelish so — worth it!!!! Did you try it in a BLT or some other way? lol I think i’d only ever like it in blt form… just b/c fake meats are soooo not my thing! Though I know people who eat it straight out of the pan *shudders!*

  7. says

    Will he eat chili with beans in it? If so this is soooo close in taste/texture that you might be able to pull one over on him! — though this is a great solo dish too, considering that’s the only kind of food I eat lately. lol

  8. Kaitlin @ TheGardenGrazer says

    Ohhh yeah!! These are right up my alley. Love every ingredient – lentils are SO good! Pinned and ready to make :)

  9. says

    I loooove lentils as taco/burrito filling. It’s cheaper than opening a can of refried beans if I didn’t get around to making a pot. It’s also quicker than cooking dry beans, and a lighter taste.

  10. says

    hmmm my dad would probably dig these (and he’s not vegetarian)! I love lentils. Have you ever used them in a shepherd’s pie? SO GOOD. 

  11. says

    I have never seen blue corn taco shells. Tacos are one of my husbands favorite meals which works out nicely since they are so quick. I love plain greek yogurt, avocado, lettuce, and cheese on mine! I am going to search for these shells too!

  12. Sprint2theTable says

    Ohhh… I want those taco shells!  And you know I’m in for anything with lentils and cumin. :)

    Pickled stuff has been a staple lately too.  I just discovered pickled okra and am in lurve.

  13. says

    I make tacos alllll the time. This is a good spin to add to my rotation! Thanks for sharing!! I try to limit my consumption of all the fake veggie stuff too :/

  14. says

    YUMMY!!!  I use lentils quite often as the “meat” layer of my meals. I’m like you — I love the occassional veggie burger and I LOVE tempeh bacon (thanks to you my friend ;) but generally I keep those for treats!

  15. Dianecidade says

    I saw these tacos on Pinterest this morning and thought they looked SO yummy that I made them tonight for dinner, and they were a success! I’d like to say I followed the recipe to the letter, but I had to make my own refried beans and enchilada sauce from scratch so there was some straying from your guidelines; I just wanted to pop in and say thanks very much for sharing your  lovely recipe and for the inspiration! It’s such a good base that you can tweak it, like you’ve mentioned, to suit your own taste – and while tucking into them, I found out they were the first tacos my other half had ever eaten (Shocking, I know. Poor boy!). Anyway, thanks very much :)

  16. says

    I’m SO EXCITED you tried them! and cheers to you for making the refried beans and sauce from scratch!! I haven’t in so long and I’m way way overdue to make a big batch and freeze the leftovers. Were those really his first tacos!? Ohmygosh I’m flattered… and also really curious how he managed to never try tacos before! Haha! Is he a fan now? =)

    Thanks so so so much for making them and stopping by to say hello! xoxo

  17. DianeCidade says

    Yep, as far as he can remember, he’s never had a taco before! We live in a remote part of the UK, and he’s spent most of his life here. Mexican food, although not entirely unheard of (you can but fajita and taco kits – to be made with meat- from the tiny grocery store here) is not really not popular enough here! I’m originally from Canada, so I had my fair share of grease and meat laden tacos both at home and from a fast food chain that shall remain nameless (ding-dong) before becoming vegetarian and moving here, but even then it’s been years since I’ve had one! I’d say we’ve made a convert of him!
    I’ll be sure to have a snoop around to see what other goodies are waiting for me on your site :D

    (Oh, and I said I found you through Pinterest, but I meant foodgawker – I pinned it from there!)

    xx

  18. Maria @ A life to Bragg about says

    Omg these look so good. I love lentils (and you, duh. Just had to throw that in there of course) and this would be perfect for our next meatless Monday. P will thank you later!

  19. says

    Thanks Ashley! My mom got me hooked on dried cilantro and its crazy how it doesn’t quite taste like cilantro… or dried parsley… but this entirely new amazingness when its in a dish! Do you cook with it too?

  20. says

    I think tempeh is def one of the best out there! That and tofu strike me as more whole-foodie than the stuff that is “molded” into shapes and textures! lol

    Totally try these girl — oh my gawwwwsh they’re addictive! Love you almond joy! <3

  21. Tara@SugarSpiceandBacon says

    I think I will be hooked as well! I was also thinking about some sort of lentil-refried bean combo side dish…so many delicious options! Thanks so much for the recipe!:) 

  22. says

    Yummy! I didn’t have any mushrooms but this still tasted great. I used blue corn tortilla chips, diced tomatoes and daiya shredded cheddar “cheese” and made nachos, then used the filling as a dip along with some homemade guacamole! I wish I had some tortilla shells as this WOULD made a fantastic taco. I love my tacos with diced tomatoes, onion, shredded lettuce, cheese, guacamole and salsa. YUM.

  23. says

    Thanks Michelle!!!! So so so stoked you made it! I made nachos out of the leftovers the next day and loved them — the tacos are still my fav I think b/c of the rockin blue corn taco shells I found – def hunt those down!!! =) xoxo

  24. says

    ohmygoooosh your tacos look amazing! =) The blue corn taco shells are from the brand Garden of Eatin’ — I go to Harris Teeter to get them but I bet Whole foods and other healthy-ish grocery stores will have them! <3 xoxo

  25. Julia Mestas says

    Waitta spread the word about minimizing crap faux meat in our diets.  Seriously, eat REAL food, people!  These are my kinda vegetarian taco!

  26. katy coffey says

    These were delicious!!! Even got the thumbs up from my husband.  Thanks for sharing.  Any idea if I can freeze the lentil mix?  1 recipe was more than enough for dinner and leftover lunches for both my husband and me…

  27. says

    Yayy!!!! Thanks Katy! <3  It freezes like a champ!  Seal it up in a freezer safe bag with all the air smushed out and you’re good to go! =)  

    It also makes really yummy quesadillas if you get bored of tacos! =)

  28. Haley says

    Made these for dinner tonight! What a hit!  Even got the kiddos to eat it.  So good!  Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

  29. says

    My emails are a hooooot mess! So sorry lovely! If I haven’t yet responded [or if I have, just ignore my insanity ;)] then yes they freeze wonderfully! Just try to get the air out so there isn’t freezer burn and you’re good to go! <3

    xoxo
    Jenn

  30. Esther J says

    My omnivore Southern mother (who loves tacos) LOVED this recipe – so much so that she asked me to make it for her again the following week. I did double the spices, however, and for the second part of the chili powder, I used chipotle chili to give it a kick.

    It *is* very yummy.

    Thank you very much, ma’m!.

  31. says

    Whoo! I always add a boat-load of extra spices at the end too — I like things to wake me up when I’m eating them! hehe =) Ooh and I’ll totally try the chipotle pepper next time! My friend and I made a chipotle sauce for pizza the other night and I fell head over heels with the flavor profile! I have no idea why I’ve never cooked with it before. Must be crazy!

    So so so thrilled you guys loved the recipe! This totally made my day!

  32. Esther J says

    I’m glad that made your day! With all the food she’s requesting from me, my mother will be vegan before I know it.  She isn’t the biggest fan of lentils, but she absolutely loves them with the refried beans and the spices of this recipe.

    With regard to the spices, I noticed you mentioned you added more at the end, so I decided just to double them and it worked out great! As to the chipotle chili powder, that’s a curtsy to Susan Voisin of the fat free vegan blog whose recipes I use often and who also uses it in a number of her Mexican-themed recipes.
    Thanks, again! I’ll be sure to peek around for more of your recipes!

  33. says

    Sometimes it’s difficult to get the little ones to eat ground beef. They’d probably be more receptive to the lentils! Thanks for the recipe!

  34. Kristyn says

    I made these dinner one night and I loved them.  You really couldn’t tell there was not beef in the taco.  My boyfriend even loved them and he is usually a big meat eater.  They were amazing and I can’t wait to have them again.  Delicious!

  35. Jaime says

    I couldn’t get my two year old to eat this. Then, I broke up the taco shells, added some veggies and told him it was a dip. Voila! He gobbled the plate up and loved having “sauce” with his chips and veggies. It made two meals for us and we’ll definitely be making it again and again. Thank you!

  36. says

    Ohmygosh Jaime!!! My heart sunk after reading the first line~!! You scared me! Haha I’m glad he loved the “sauce” — and it totally made my day to know the little guy gobbled it up! Thanks girl!

  37. says

    Deee~licious! Thank you so very much! I have been a vegetarian for nearly 20 years and I’ve never had lentil tacos, this will be a staple here now! (In the past I’ve used frozen soy granules) I’ve been trying to eliminate processed foods, this is a GREAT alternative! Also, my husband is a big beef eater and has been advised by his doctor to go on a low cholesterol diet. We had these tonight for dinner and he liked them, as did our 14 month old.  We ate them in romaine lettuce leaves, ditching the taco shells to be a bit healthier.

  38. Anne-Michelle says

    My kids have dreams about these tacos. They LOVE them! My son is allergic to wheat, dairy, eggs, and nuts, and this meal fills all of our bellies! I’ve made them twice now, and they’re amazing every time. Thank you!

  39. LeAnne says

    just made this recipe and oh.my.gosh. i have a lot of food allergies and i can have almost all the ingredients in this recipe and tacos are my all time favorite!!!! thank you, thank you, thank you!

  40. Trisha says

    This was yummy! The lentils were a nice touch. We are going to use the leftovers in burritos, which we will freeze for later lunches. I am going to put kale in mine.

  41. says

    Made these last night. Will definitely be making them again. My 3 year old twins loved them and said they were the best tacos ever. When I first went Vegetarian, I made tacos from a Vegan taco mix from a box. It was meh and kind of weird, but then I read the ingredients and I was disgusted by the salt content and whatever else was in there. That’s when I went on a search for a healthier vegetarian taco recipe. This will be my taco recipe forever. Thank you!

  42. Melissa says

    I love this recipe and I make it weekly for my family. I usually add kale, corn and a can of beans to make it thicker. I have used this filling in quesadillas and just last night I used it in a enchilada style casserole that turned out fantastic.I used corn tortillas and a jar of green chili sauce and layered the lentils with a little cheese- really awesome! Thanks for all your fantastic recipes!

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