Lentils for Tacos!

A couple of years ago my friend started using a trick to stretch ground meats for some recipes. One of the things she did was add lentils to ground beef for tacos. As a vegetarian I know I have access to lots of vegetarian meat options, but I don’t really like to use them very often. I think of them as a once in a while food, not an everyday food – like then I want to have a hot dog at a bbq with friends. As lentils are good price-wise and health-wise, I thought why not try and make a mostly lentil-based taco filling? After I made the filling I discovered my taco kit was out of date (oops…) so I ate the filling as a kind of de-constructed taco salad-ish bowl… a few blue corn tortilla chips on the bottom with some lentil filling, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, green onion, guacamole and salsa.

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In the ingredients below I add textured vegetable protein. I’m not sure that this is a real need in the recipe, but if you’re using a bit of real ground meat or dropping the TVP you’ll want to reduce the water to perhaps about ¾ cup as the TVP does soak some of it up. Instead of using the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce some taco seasoning would work nicely.

The recipe below makes a cup of filling.

Ingredients

  • 1 quick spray of cooking spray (I will probably use some of the Vegan Magic next time I make this)
  • 1⁄2cup uncooked onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (I buy this in a squeeze bottle and it is awesome. No more wasting half a tin of it.)
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning (my mix has things like cilantro, oregano, cumin…)
  • 1⁄4cup dry lentil mix (I buy a mix that has several different kinds including green, red, and yellow. The red lentils break down into a paste while the green holds shape and texture making the whole mix more interesting.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon dry textured vegetable protein

Instructions

  1. Rinse lentils and remove any debris, set aside.
  2. Give a quick spray to the bottom of your pot if you need to.
  3. Cook chopped onions and garlic together.
  4. Add a splash of water if needed to avoid adding oil.
  5. When they have softened a little, add the tablespoon of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, or less depending on your tolerance for heat.
  6. Add Mexican spices. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes more.
  7. Add lentils, water, and TVP.
  8. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then cook on low for 30-40 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  9. If you find you have a little bit more water in the lentils than you like at the end, you can bring up the heat and reduce it.
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