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.
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.
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.
- Add lentils, water, minced onion, salt, chili powder, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin to a medium sized saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer another 15-30 minutes or until lentils are soft and all the water has boiled out.
- Serve on a tortilla with your favorite taco toppings.
- The lentils tend to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn toward the last 15 minutes of cooking. To avoid this, I recommend stirring frequently for the last 15 minutes or so.