You can’t go wrong with tacos any night of the week, but for an easy weeknight meal, tacos are life. And we’re making a whole lot of weeknight meals these days, right?
These spicy lentil tacos check all my plant-based meal requirements: filling, flavorful, high in fiber, high in protein, and (very importantly) easy. Made with staple ingredients from the capsule pantry to keep things super simple.
In the spirit of saving time (always), you can use any extra lentil taco filling throughout the week on salads, bowls, or nachos (a personal favorite). More detailed meal ideas are listed here.
Lentil Taco Ingredients
The chipotle peppers in adobo are what make them extra spicy and smoky, but I’ve made this lentil taco filling without the chipotles too (use some smoked paprika instead!) and it’s still good.
For the lentils, use green or brown (often labeled generic “lentils”) and not red, yellow, or split lentils since these will get too mushy. I like to cook the lentils a little on the al dente side before adding to the spice mixture since they will continue to cook a little once everything is added together.
Lentil Taco Filling Meal Ideas
This recipe makes a pretty big batch, but you can always double to use in several recipes throughout the week. Here are some ideas:
- Tacos. Of course 😉 as written. Use whatever toppings you like. I highly recommend avocado (always) but don’t overcomplicate. A few taco toppings will do. For tortillas, I like 100% corn (ingredients should read corn, lime, and salt) or Siete.
- Burrito Bowls. You can make some rice or quinoa (or cauliflower rice!) and then add the lentil taco filling, some greens or whatever vegetables you have on hand, and top with salsa and avocado. Dinner, done. ✔️
- Nachos. My personal favorite – and a great way to use up random leftover ingredients at the end of the week! Sauté whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. Layer tortilla chips (I love Garden Of Eatin’ organic blues), lentil taco filling, vegetables, and cheese (dairy-free if desired). Bake until the nachos are warmed through and the cheese, if using, is melted. Serve with fresh cilantro, avocado, and salsa.
Spicy Lentil Tacos
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 30 Minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Sauté
- Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired
- Diet: Vegan
A healthy, spicy, and smoky lentil taco filling that is super easy to make. Perfect for tacos, bowls, nachos, or salads! Vegan and gluten-free.
- 1 1/2 cups dry green or brown lentils
- oil for cooking (olive, avocado, etc.)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1–2 small chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped + 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (see notes)
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/3 cup water
- taco ingredients of choice like tortillas, avocado, sliced cabbage, cilantro, salsa, cotija, etc.
- Cook the lentils. Add lentils and 5 cups of water to a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until just tender but not mushy. Once done, drain and set aside.
- While the lentils are cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of oil to coat the pan and then add the onion and garlic. Sauté until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cumin, chili powder, salt, maple syrup, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce (start with less and work your way up!), lime juice, and water. Stir so that everything is well mixed.
- Add the cooked and drained lentils and give everything a good stir again, cooking until all the liquid has evaporated. Taste and season with more salt, if needed.
- Serve with desired taco ingredients!
Most of the spiciness comes from the chipotle peppers! Use one pepper for a less spicy taco filling or bump it up to two if you like things hot. The adobo sauce is the sauce that comes in the can with the peppers.
Don’t have maple syrup? Any sweetener (honey, agave, coconut sugar, etc.) will work here. If not using maple syrup, start with 1 tablespoon and add more if needed since some sweeteners are sweeter than others.
Keywords: lentil tacos, lentil taco filling, lentil taco meat
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