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Marathoner’s lentil taco filling

September 23, 2010

First things first—have you made my white chocolate-peanut butter blondies yet? If not, why not?! There are substitution possibilities galore, even beyond those I listed, so no matter what’s in your pantry, it’s a near certainty that you could whip these up right now. My friend Hillary of The Anti-Chef made them recently as dark chocolate-cashew butter brownies! She left me this comment that perfectly illustrates how endlessly customizable the recipe is:

“I used Dagoba organic 87% cacao chocolate (if you like dark chocolate, this stuff might as well be crack-cocaine), coconut oil, and cashew butter (pretty sure we discussed this at your birthday party, but I make my own with roasted cashews, agave nectar, and either coconut or safflower oil depending on what I have at the time). These brownies were as close as you could get to fudge without actually being fudge–so tasty!! And not horribly sweet, either. I had some mini bittersweet chips, so I used those. Also, after putting them in the pan, I cracked some sea salt over the top just to give them an extra kick and cut the richness a tad. I want to make these with chili-infused chocolate next. Excellent recipe!!”

The moral of the story is: get thyself to a kitchen and make these amazing blondies!

Anyway, let’s move on to today’s dish. I’ve made this recipe from Runner’s World multiple times since last November—guess it’s about time I show it to you, right? Lentils are one of my favorite foods (I’m just a legume girl in general!), and this healthy taco “meat” is packed with carbs for energy and protein for recovery. Not an endurance athlete? No worries—you don’t have to be a marathon runner, or even a runner at all, to benefit from its fiberrific goodness.

1 medium onion, diced
½ cup diced red or green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup brown lentils (dry)
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup water
2 tsp vegan bouillon (optional)
1 cup prepared salsa
Salt and pepper to taste
Corn tortillas or tortilla chips, for serving

In a large pan over medium heat, sautée the onions and bell pepper in the olive oil for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional minute. (Allow me to apologize right now for how terrible all these pictures are!)

Stir in the lentils, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook and stir for one minute. Add the broth and bouillon, if desired.

Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Check it often, adding more water as needed if it gets dry. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. Fold in the salsa, season to taste, remove from the heat, and serve.

You can wrap it in tortillas, spoon it into taco shells, or scoop it up with chips. Add any toppings you like—diced tomatoes or avocado, vegan cheese shreds, or (my choice) hot sauce! This hearty meal is quick, it’s simple, and now that it’s officially fall, I can say that it will make a perfect autumn dinner any night of the week.

Yield: 4 servings.
Per serving: 247 calories, 4.5g fat (.5g sat), 38.1g carbs, 17g fiber, 14.7g protein.

If you like this, you might also like…
Roasted potato wraps w/black bean hummus
Black bean-avocado enchiladas
Chilaquiles casserole

22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 1:31 pm

    Just last week I experimented with a lentil-rice “taco meat,” after having really great nachos in WA with such a filling (I just posted about it, too — the nachos at Bloom). I wasn’t too crazy about how mine turned out, but this recipe you just posted really points out what I missed and what could have made it a little better. This post is so timely! Thanks for sharing.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:06 am

      Good deal! I hope you can tweak your recipe more to your liking. Timely, indeed…great minds think alike!

  2. September 23, 2010 2:22 pm

    Ohh..I’m going to have to try that recipe. Usually we make our taco “meat” with TVP, but using lentils sounds like a great idea!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:06 am

      TVP taco meat IS delicious, but I think you’ll find that lentils are a nice change of pace!

  3. September 23, 2010 3:13 pm

    I haven’t made your blondies yet, but it’s not because I haven’t wanted to. I am just out of everything at home. I am in serious need of grocery shopping. 😦
    I made some lentil sloppy joes a while back and did not care for it very much. Not sure why. Your lentil taco “meat” sounds really good though. I’ll have to give it a try. :o)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:08 am

      Hehe, no worries! Consider it a friendly reminder 🙂

      I’ve never made sloppy joes with lentils…that’s too bad it didn’t turn out well. If you try this, I hope you like it better!

  4. September 23, 2010 3:51 pm

    I need more time in a day! I am going nutty over here not being able to bake or cook like a decent house wife! I am flying by the seat of my pants! 🙂 I will make them soon.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:09 am

      Hehe! Oh man, do I know how you feel.
      Whenever you DO get the time, the blondie recipe will be here waiting for you 😛

  5. September 23, 2010 5:41 pm

    Oh, yes please! I love lentil tacos, but I have never made the lentils in a sofrito-like base like this! Awesome! Next time we have tacos I’ll be coming back for the recipe. Mr. Wing-It is a lentil hater, but I’m a lover! 😀

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:09 am

      I guess it is kind of sofrito-like, isn’t it?
      How does your man hate lentils?! That’s crazy talk!

  6. September 23, 2010 6:43 pm

    I promise I’m going to make the blondies soon! I’ve been feeling guilty though about how I’ve only been making sweet things lately, and not any inventive proper meals… so maybe I should try this lentil dish first 😉

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:16 am

      Hehe, whichever order you try them in, I think you’ll enjoy both…though I admit, the blondies will reign supreme 😀

  7. September 23, 2010 7:53 pm

    Mmm. I’ve never tried lentil tacos. These look awesome. And those blondies look like the perfect treat. 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:23 am

      Thanks! I don’t think I’d ever put lentils in tacos either, before this. The blondies ARE pretty perfect, if I may say so!

  8. September 24, 2010 2:41 am

    OK, seriously, great minds must think alike. The day you posted the banana chocolate muffins, I had made a batch (non-vegan). I was just thinking about lentil enchiladas a couple days ago, and now you post this? Get out of me head, Amber!!! 😉

    Glad you approve of the brownies. They are absolutely awesome :D.

    Ahem. Around the world dinner party?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:26 am

      Haha, for real? We are definitely on the same wavelength. I hadn’t thought of putting this in enchiladas, though—that would be FANTASTIC!

      The brownies sounded amazing; I wish I could’ve tried one!

      You know, I’ve actually thought about that myself several times. We could put up little flags of each dish’s country of origin, and do drink pairings…perhaps someday we could set that up!

  9. September 24, 2010 6:25 am

    I love the idea of using lentils in this!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:26 am

      It is different, but delicious!

  10. Matt permalink
    September 24, 2010 9:05 pm

    This lentil taco stuff beats “secret Taco Bell” any day! (*cough* inside joke)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:27 am

      Hehehe…I’m glad you think so! And I’m glad I haven’t caught you with any Secret Taco Bell recently… 😛

  11. September 24, 2010 9:40 pm

    I never thought to make lentil taco’s before, great idea!


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:31 am

      Thanks Whitney! It was a new idea to me too. 🙂

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