Spiced Lentil Tacos
Tacos are one of my husband's favorite dinners. I'm talking the kind with the crunchy shell filled with ground beef, cheese, taco sauce, sour cream, etc. They're not exactly the picture of health, and they're filled with meat - in other words, a rare indulgence for him and a no-go for me. So while looking for a tasty, healthy vegetarian taco option that we could both enjoy, I came across these spiced lentil tacos on Epicurious. I figured if I used the same spices that he loves in meat tacos, we'd be one step closer to an acceptable vegetarian taco. I kept the crunchy shell and the traditional toppings (just turned the fat down a notch with reasonable portions and lower-fat options), so the only real difference here is the fact that we're subbing lentils for ground meat. I don't like processed faux meat, so I thought the lentil idea was brilliant. And hubby did enjoy them - but I don't think you'll be fooling any carnivores with this recipe. I loved them - I think they're absolutely delicious - so I'm definitely recommending them as an excellent vegetarian taco option. Quick and easy, too.
The original recipe calls for an easy adobo sauce - but I forgot to pick up the chipotle chile in adobo, so we used hot sauce instead. Take a look at the original recipe if you're interested in the sauce.
Spiced Lentil Tacos
- 1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
- 1 (1.25-ounce) package of your favorite taco seasoning, preferably low-sodium (or make your own taco seasoning)
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 8 crunchy taco shells
- shredded lettuce
- chopped tomato
- shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (or a low-fat shredded Mexican blend)
- sour cream or low-fat sour cream
- hot sauce
- In a large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil; add onion, garlic, and salt and cook until onions begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add lentils and taco seasoning to pan. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until lentils are tender (and most of the liquid is gone), 25-30 minutes (just keep an eye on things). Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens a bit, 6-8 minutes. While the lentil mixture is thickening, go ahead and heat/crisp up your taco shells in the oven for a few minutes (I put them on a foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 3 minutes).
- Spoon 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of low fat shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, a teaspoon or two of sour cream, and hot sauce, not necessarily in that order. Get a napkin and a fork, because things are going to get messy.
It even looks like meat....