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Lentil tacos on a white plate with avocado and limes.

Spicy Lentil Tacos

  • Author: Ally Milligan
  • 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
  • 12 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.


  1. 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.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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