Monday, January 7, 2013

lentil tacos

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Justin has the benefit of coming home everyday for lunch-  on the occasions I have a weekday off I look forward to surprising him with a hot lunch that we get to enjoy together . After Christmas I was able to take a few days off which was welcomed with open arms after all the crazy holiday excitement, Justin unfortunately had to head back to work. To make his day a little brighter I made a favorite of his  - tacos! These tacos were a bit different than he was use to, instead of black beans or his beloved veggie crumbles Spanish pardina lentils were subbed in. I know that this isn't a "new" idea using lentils as a filler for tacos, but it certainly was a first for us. Let me tell you, it may have been a first but it certainly wasn't the last - they were amazing!

One of the reasons tacos are a favorite around our house is the endless possibilities of fresh veggies and toppings that can be added - olives, tomatoes, avocado, greens, caramelized onions and peppers are just a few of our must haves on taco night- making it super easy to eat the rainbow in one sitting.

Spanish Pardina Lentils are called for in the recipe however any lentil would work well - canned lentils would cut your prep time in half, getting dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes.
Aside from the lentils, my favorite thing about these tacos are the caramelized onions. Caramelized onions can magically transform an ordinary meal into one that is pretty special. The best part, caramelized onions are easy to make - not sure what to make for dinner? Slice some onion, throw in a bit of vegan butter and let the onions go to work while you get inspired on what to make for dinner - 9 times out of 10 the onions you have caramelizing on the stove top will compliment just about any meal.
Even better, this meal is pocketbook friendly; I typically have everything on hand to make this meal at least once a week. If you have any leftover lentils & caramelized onions, they make a great salad topper the next day.
What is your favorite super quick & cheap weeknight meal?
Do you get to enjoy lunch at home on a weekly basis or are you a slave to your desk during the week?
Lentil Tacos
makes 4 large tacos/burritos or 6 small
you will need:
1 large onion - cut in half & each half thinly sliced
1 tbsp coconut butter
 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils/ (1) 15oz can
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp chipotle seasoning
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime

4 vegan soft tortillas (I used Trader Joe's Jalapeno)

handful of greens
1 tomato sliced or cubed

 Thinly slice each onion half - in a medium pan melt coconut butter over medium heat. Add onion slices, tossing to coat. Cook onions over medium - low heat stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until onions begin to caramelize.

Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan add lentils through liquid smoke - simmer over medium/low heat for 10 minutes. Just prior to assembling tacos stir in salt & lime juice.

To assemble tacos, create a base layer of greens in the tortilla, then add your tomatoes & top with lentils and caramelized onions.




  1. I love lentils in tacos, but I don't do that nearly enough! I usually lean towards chickpeas or black beans. However, lentils have a texture that really works. I like your additions of smoked paprika, chipotle seasoning, and liquid smoke. That sounds wonderful! It's sweet of you to make your husband's work day a little brighter!

    For super quick weeknight meals, we have a big salad several times a week with grilled garlic sourdough. (When it's too cold outside, then we warm it in the oven instead.) Tacos are definitely on the list and a pizza with whatever toppings we have on hand on a frozen cornmeal crust.

  2. i have been craving mexican food like crazy lately and made a huge mexican inspired salad last night for dinner. these look fabulous! i always use lentils instead of black beans when i make tacos, too. i actually cook them WITH the rice. so easy ;)

  3. These pics are so amazingly gorgeous!! I love the idea of using lentils for the filling.

  4. I always had black beans in my tacos too... but i've never thought of trying ''lentil tacos'' it looks so delicious and the texture looks just perfect !

  5. I've never had lentils in taco form--super intriguing! What a great idea. :)

  6. I know what I'm making for dinner this week! These sound perfect! I honestly never get sick of mexican inspired food. Love the use of lentils as the filling for these tacos.

  7. Oooh, this sounds amazing! I've never heard of using lentils in tacos, so it's new to me, too. I also love tacos because of all the topping possibilities. Plus they're easy and delicious, of course! Also, I agree with you 100% on the caramelized onions... there aren't many things that don't benefit from them! I hate to say it, but most of my favorite quick lunches are actually reheated dinners. It doesn't get much easier than leftovers!

  8. Wow that is so lovely of you to make these for Justin to cheer him up! and lucky him for getting to come home everyday for lunch! I would looooove if I could come home for this :)

  9. Oh my - saved to try as soon as I pick up a couple missing ingredients! Liquid Smoke is not part of my usual pantry staples, and finding chipotle seasoning and smoked paprika will mean a 45 minute (each way) trip, but since these are (mostly) items I will use again it will be worth it ;-)

  10. This has got to be the most tempting, most delicious vegetarian taco I've seen! The colours just pop and that must mean it's good for the body. You know, coz we must eat the colours of the rainbow everyday...this meal looks like a complete, well-balanced vegetarian meal! If I came home to this, I would be a happy girl!

  11. It's new to me but this definitely looks like a healthy taco recipe!

  12. i dont make tacos enough.. i love spicy and smoky lentils/beans and these will be a sure hit in this house! love the picture of the veggies and tomatoes in the back!

  13. I love your twist on making tofu my friend :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  14. I don't think I've ever tried lentil tacos, but I love the idea - especially with the smoky flavours you added! It would be a nice change from just black beans, because sometimes I don't like eating too much of them. I also wish I lived near a Trader Joes so I could try those tortillas!

  15. I am a huge taco fan - it just makes such an easy meal to toss in whatever veggies you have around. I love your use of the lentils here... these taco look delicious!

  16. Hi! I tried these last night and overall the flavors were great. I used chipotle powder (I don't have chipotle seasoning) and 1 TBL is definitely too much for one can of lentils. I had to add more lentils to mellow out the heat. Maybe 1 tsp chipotle powder and some garlic (and sugar?) if you don't have chipotle seasoning? Thanks!

    1. Excellent! I am so happy to hear you tried out the recipe - definitely 1 tbsp of straight up chipotle powder would be over powering, 1 tsp of chipotle plus sugar & garlic, maybe even some dried cilantro or Mexican oregano would be a perfect substitute!

  17. Yum! I always want to make an alternative to the meat I make for the hubby for taco night but I usually just have my homemade refried beans with whatever toppings we have... This looks delicious! I bet it would freeze good too, so I can just reheat a little on taco night! :) I love the liquid smoke... I think that might actually make my hubby want to try it, he loves that stuff, lol!

  18. Beautiful and sounds so yummy! ;)

    Can I be a slave at my desk AT home? 'cause that's what I do, but it's great to make fresh lunches at home ;) (well... not all the time because clean up is no fun if it's 3-5 meals a day!) But still great ;)

  19. These are my kind of tacos, Heather! I'm swooning over those lentils! And the tortillas looks so soft and inviting! I need these. Like, now.

    It depends on if I'm working or not, but even when I'm not working (otherwise, at home, doing blog stuff), I tend to make pretty simple, quick lunches. I don't like to go through a lot of trouble when it's just little old me. :-) When I'm working, however, I tend to bring leftovers from dinner the night before, so I guess my lunches are better when I'm actually working.

  20. Stunning!!! I LOVE colorful meals. This is going to be a favorite :) mmmm tacos tacos tacossss

  21. LOVED this! I ended up making it as a taco salad for a potluck for my running club's post holiday/awards party. It was a big hit! I had to make some more the next day because there wasn't any left.

  22. I've been making lentil tacos for a while, I love them so much better than the ground crumbles or any other type of legume in this application!I love that you added liquid smoke and caramelized onions. I need to come visit you and pay you to teach me how to take better photographs. I seriously can't be bothered to learn and it shows. Sigh.

  23. I love lentil tacos! And, carmelized onions make everything better! Delicious!

  24. thanks for the taco tips - but glad I know how to add ingredients when not told how....this is great, cause can make extra lentil filling ahead of time, to keep on hand for a quick lunch or snack! TY again!

  25. Out of all the lentil taco recipes out there, I think this may be my favorite!

  26. I hope you will forgive my ignorance but where do you add in the Chipotle, Tomato paste and Paprika??? These sound amazing and would love to make them :-)

    1. It is in the directions, add lentils through liquid smoke which includes the ingredients you listed. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do! Thanks for stopping bu :)


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