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 guacamole from Burger King during a long road trip or satisfying the occasional BLT craving with some 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:
- 1 cup of dried lentils
- 16oz refried beans
- 1 cup diced onion
- 4oz mushrooms, minced
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ cup of your favorite enchilada sauce
- all-natural blue corn taco shells [ah-mazing!]
- a splash of oil [olive..grape seed...coconut]
- Seasoning Blend:
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼-1/2 tsp dried cilantro [I highly suggest trying this stuff on everything!]
- ¼ 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
- 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.
- 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 and enchilada sauce at the end and stir.
- By now the lentils should be done! Drain and return to pot.
- Combine your seasoned vegetables 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.
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 =)
update: after making these a bajillion and one times [a totally legit statistic, I tell you!] I now REALLY insist that you make these. Then make my Triple Bean Tacos next and be the hero of Taco Tuesday!