My healthy vegetarian taco filling makes the most EPIC Lentil Taco bowls served over a bed of crisp romaine lettuce and flavorful yellow rice with all the tasty taco toppings!
It’s no secret that I love taco bowling just about everything.
I mean, the taco filling and toppings just fling themselves out of the tortilla anyways so this makes me feel just a teeny bit more like I have my life together by not flinging veggies everywhere while I eat.
While I recipe test, however, veggies shall be flung!
So far I’ve whipped up a classic Vegetarian Taco Bowl, cilantro lime Shrimp Taco Bowls, and enough burrito bowls to rock a few months worth of taco nights.
Love them so!
What’s in these Lentil Taco Bowls?
Let’s talk ingredients, shall we?
The base is super simple. I use my favorite trio of fluffy yellow rice, shredded romaine lettuce, and go-to lentil taco filling.
You can use a pre-seasoned packet of yellow rice that you boil, the microwavable kind, or whip it up from scratch – whichever you prefer!
The rice or is totally optional but I love adding it to my bowls. In place of yellow rice you’re welcome to use white rice (season it with cilantro and lime for a flavor boost) Spanish-style rice, or even brown rice if you prefer. Quinoa is another tasty gluten-free option.
Finely chop or shred romaine lettuce or leaf lettuce for your bowls. You can skip it and just use rice and lentils as the base but I like to lighten up my bowls with lettuce whenever I have it on hand.
Lentil Taco Filling
I love how lentils have this great meaty texture to them without having to rely on processed faux crumbles. They’re a powerhouse of a legume packed with protein and fiber and taste straight up amazing with taco spices and seasonings.
These taco-spiced lentils get a little extra veggie love with the addition of sautéed onion and garlic, salsa for flavor and sauciness, and of course the go-to spices of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano with a little salt and pepper to taste. The lentils cook in the veggie/spice mixture along with some vegetable broth for added richness. Delish!
You could also use my chipotle lentil filling for these tasty taco bowls. I find them super easy to whip up in a pot on the stove but you can also make your lentils in a pressure cooker using my Instant Pot Lentil Tacos recipe or even make them in a slow cooker as part of your weekly meal prep.
Taco Bowl Toppings + Extras
To my bowls I added sliced avocado, sour cream, crispy tortilla strips, sliced jalapeño, and fresh cilantro, tomatoes, scallions and grated cheese.
Honestly my favorite part about bowl recipes like this is the toppings! It’s a great way to really amp up the flavors, colors, and textures of your taco bowls.
I’ve included a list of my favorites toppings and mix-ins below. Pick and choose your favorites from for a tasty custom taco bowl!
- sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
- sour cream (regular or vegan)
- sliced or cubed avocado
- fresh salsa or pico de gallo
- grated cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (skip for vegan)
- thinly sliced red onion or pickled red onion
- black bean salsa
- corn salsa
- sliced olives
- fresh cilantro
- chopped scallions
- crispy corn chips
- tortilla chips or strips
You can basically add anything your heart desires! Sautéed zucchini or bell peppers are another delicious option and you can even add some roasted sweet potato cubes if you’d like. Delicious!
Meal Prep Tips
Leftover lentil taco filling will keep for up to 4 days (or the same as typical leftovers) in the fridge and can be frozen for up to a month.
Whenever I make lentils for tacos/burritos/bowls I always make some extra so I have lunch sorted for the following day or two.
You can assemble your bowls in meal prep containers and keep extras like sour cream, guac, tortilla chips and strips, etc… in little baggies or lidded containers on the side so you can heat up the hot components of the bowls then pile on the fresh toppings at the end.
Vegetarian Lentil Taco Bowls
As written these baller bowls are vegetarian and gluten-free. To make them vegan and dairy-free, simply choose your favorite vegan toppings from the list and you’re good to go!
Lentil Taco Bowls
- 1 cup dried lentils (brown or green)
- 1 tsp avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano leaves
- ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup jarred salsa (use your favorite)
- 1 ½-2 cups cooked yellow rice
- 1 ½-2 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 large avocado, sliced or try it with guacamole – yum!
- 1-2 cups chopped tomato
- 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup sour cream (regular or vegan)
- ½ cup grated sharp cheddar (optional)
- tortilla strips or chips for a crispy topping
EXTRA TOPPING OPTIONS
- pico de gallo
- thinly sliced red onion pickled or regular
- sliced bell pepper raw or sautéed
- corn or corn salsa
- hot sauce or taco sauce
- roasted sweet potato
- black beans
- Rinse and prep 1 cup of dried lentils.
- In a large pot, heat 1-2 tsp oil over medium-high heat and sauté diced onion for approx. 5 minutes or until translucent and tender.
- Add spices and garlic and sauté an additional minute, stirring often.
- Next add the lentil, vegetable broth, and salsa. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer. Cover with the lid slightly tipped to vent and simmer for approx. 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender and saucy.
- If not using leftover cooked rice, cook rice via package instructions while the lentils simmer away.
- Prep toppings while the lentils cook.
- Once the lentils are ready, from heat. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Add any additional seasoning to taste during this step. Sometimes I'll add an extra pinch of salt and cumin. If you'd like the lentils spicy you could add hot sauce, spicy taco sauce, or cayenne pepper.
- Let's get our taco bowl on! Divide lentil mixture, cooked rice, and lettuce between bowls. Top with all your favorite toppings and extras and dive in while it's hot!
MEAL PREP INSTRUCTIONS
- Leftover lentil taco filling will keep for up to 4 days (or the same as typical leftovers) in the fridge and can be frozen for up to a month. Whenever I make lentils for tacos/burritos/bowls I always make some extra so I have lunch sorted for the following day or two.
- You can assemble your bowls in meal prep containers and keep extras like sour cream, guac, tortilla chips and strips, etc… in little baggies or lidded containers on the side so you can heat up the hot components of the bowls then pile on the fresh toppings at the end.
Loving Lentils? Try These Next!
- Lentil Minestrone
- Crock-Pot Madras Lentils
- Curry Lentil Soup via FoodieCrush
- Vegetarian Lentil Tacos
If you get a chance to try these vegetarian lentil taco bowls, let me know! You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!
This recipe is going to be going on a permanent rotation at my house. I love these lentil taco bowls so much!!
This recipe was amazing! I loved pulling from the list of toppings. So filling!
So glad it was a hit, Brandi! Thanks!