Brown Lentil tacos are a great alternative to traditional beef or chicken tacos!
Several years ago, when I first started working at Kitchen Kneads, I was totally excited about whole grains and beans. My husband and I had a goal to eat more healthy.
This is one reason I started to work at Kitchen Kneads: I was excited to learn how to cook with whole grains and beans. So, I set out searching for recipes that used healthier alternatives.
Now, this was before the age of Pinterest (Imagine that!), so I scoured through my many, many cookbooks. (Reading cookbooks was a for real past time of mine.)
In my red checkered Better Homes and Gardens giant three-ring binder cookbook (I’ll bet many of you have one or another version of that one, right?), I found a recipe for tacos that uses lentils instead of ground beef. This intrigued me and put it on the menu for the following week.
It was a hit! Now, at this time it was just me and my husband, so it’s more likely that two adults will like something like this. But what about kids?
Well, I’m pleased to say that since the first time I made these tacos, my husband and I have added three kids to the dinner table and they love them too. They don’t even seem to notice that these lentil tacos don’t have any meat.
So, the next time you put tacos on your dinner menu, try lentils instead of beef or chicken. I chose Brown Lentil Tacos, but any lentil works great!
Why use lentils?
These tacos have a good amount of protein, just like their meaty counterparts. They’re also a great source of fiber. Lentils are easier to digest than meat, which is a plus for your digestive system. On top of all that, they’re much less expensive to make. Lentils cost a fraction of the cost of ground beef.
Brown Lentil Tacos
- 2 cups lentils, cooked (from 1 cup dry lentils)
- White onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1–2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup of vegetable broth
- Corn or Flour Tortillas, for serving
- Taco toppings: cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced jalapenos, homemade guacamole
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon each:
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- crushed red pepper flakes
- dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- First, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, sweat the onion in 1 tbsp. oil. Stir frequently, about 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Then, add the garlic and spice mixture and cook for another minute or two, stirring frequently. Remember, you don’t want to burn the spices just crank up the flavor by cooking them.
- While you are cooking this, warm the tortillas. You can do this in the oven or microwave. I just place them on the burner behind my frying pan and let them warm up while I cook the filling, this way I don’t have to turn on the oven.
- Next, add the lentils and stir to combine. Then, add the vegetable broth and using a potato masher or fork, gently mash the lentils until they start to look like ground meat. Then, cook another few minutes until hot. Note, if the lentils start to dry out, add another tbsp. or two of vegetable broth (can also use salsa here)
- Finally, place a heaping spoonful or two into the taco shell and add your fillings. The filling will make about 8 tacos, depending on how stuffed you like them!
I’ve tweaked the original recipe to best fit my family’s tastes and you can do the same if you’d like. For example, if you don’t want them quite as spicy, add a little less crushed red peppers. If you want a stronger Mexican flavor, add a little more cumin.
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