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Vegan Lentil Taco Meat {Grain-Free, High-Protein}

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Perfect for your next Taco Tuesday, this easy, delicious, vegan lentil taco meat is nutritious, soy-free, grain-free, high in protein (11 g per 3/4 cup!), frugal, easy-to-make, and ready for use in your favorite tacos, burritos, nachos, and taco salads.

Vegan Lentil Taco Meat in a sillet with more behind.

Vegan Lentil Taco Meat for Taco Tuesday

It may be Monday, but I am already thinking about Taco Tuesday.

I hope that you will be, too, as soon as you read this post. This is a filling you are sure to LOVE.

It’s my Vegan Lentil Taco Meat.

Cast iron skillet of vegan taco meat

I made crispy tacos, stuffed with this lentil taco meat, for my carnivorous 11 year-old (who happens to love tacos) shortly after completing this batch. He devoured them, without noticing (in the least) that his meat had been swapped for lentils.

In short, this is a taco filling for carnivores, herbivores, and everyone in between!

It boasts the following attributes:

*Vegan
*Grain-free
*Soy-free
*High in protein (11 grams per 3/4 cup serving!)
*High in fiber (sorry bran flakes, lentils win)
*Super-frugal

Ready to make it?

Ingredients for Lentil Taco Meat

Here is your pantry list: regular lentils, an onion, spices, salt & pepper, nutritional yeast (completely optional, but it adds excellent umami flavor), and a bit of oil to cook the onion (I have an oil-free option in the recipe for those of you who do not eat oil).

ingredients for lentil taco meat

Step 1: Cook the Lentils

Start by cooking the lentils for 20 to 25 minutes, just until they are tender, but not completely falling apart. One cup of dry lentils yields 3 cups of cooked lentils.

white bowl of cooked lentils

Onward!

Step 2:  Cook the Onions and Spices

Next. cook the onions in the small amount of oil, followed soon after by the spices.

Step 3: Add the Cooked Lentils

For the home stretch, add the cooked lentils, (optional) nutritional yeast, and a bit more water. Release any accumulated stress by mushing and mashing the lentils, with a fork, until some of the lentils are broken apart and the texture resembles ground meat.

Cook everything for 5 or 6 minutes longer, until most of the water has absorbed, and, SHAZAMM, your taco meat is ready for eating!

skillet full of lentil taco meat

Use the taco meat to fill tacos, stuff burritos, spoon over nachos, create taco salads, you name it!

vegan lentil tacos with avocado and tomatoes

Don’t forget to adjust and modify the spices and seasonings as much as you like to create your signature taco blend!

Happy cooking, everyone!

More Easy, Plant-Based Meat Recipes to Try:

Vegan Oat Mushroom Ground Beef

3-Ingredient Almond Flour Vegetable Nuggets

Mushroom Almond Flour Ground Beef (2 ingredients)

Vegan Ground Beef

Lentil & Mushroom Meatballs

Lentil & Vegetable Kefta

Grain-Free Lentil Loaf

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Lentil Taco Meat {Vegan, Grain-Free, High-Protein}


  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 3 (heaping) cups 1x

Description

Perfect for your next Taco Tuesday, this easy, delicious, lentil taco meat is nutritious, soy-free, grain-free, high in protein, frugal, easy-to-make, and ready for use in your favorite tacos, burritos, nachos, and taco salads.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 and 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup tan (common variety) lentils (uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped relatively fine
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 11/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Optional: 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of the water to a boil; add the lentils and reduce heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes until lentils are tender (but not completely falling apart). Drain any excess water.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion; cook and stir for 7 minutes.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper to the skillet, cook and stir for 30 seconds longer.
  4. Add the lentils, nutritional yeast (if using), remaining 1/2 cup water to the skillet. Cook and stir, coarsely mashing the lentils with a fork, until the almost all of the water is absorbed. If desired, sprinkle with cilantro.
  5. Serve in any and all of your favorite meals that call for taco meat (e.g., taco, burritos, salads, nachos)!

Notes

Oil-Free Option: If you do not eat oil, feel free to simply spritz the pan with nonstick spray, or cook and stir the onion in a small amount of water until softened.

Lentil Options: I used the common (tan/brown) lentils from the supermarket for this recipe. Black or green lentils will also work, without adaptation. If you have red split lentils, reduce the cooking time in step 1 to about 10 to 12 minutes (because they are split, red lentils cook in about half the time; cook until just barely tender).

Storage: Store the cooled taco meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freezer for up to 6 months.

Seasonings: Adjust the seasonings (more less, other spices) to your heart’s centent! For example,sometimes I add a bit of smoked paprika and a little bit of unsweetened cocoa powder,

  • Category: Entree

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup
  • Calories: 137
  • Sugar: 4.2 g
  • Sodium: 302.5 g
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25.7 g
  • Fiber: 12.8 g
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: lentils, vegan, vegan meat, plant-based meat, vegan taco meat, oil-free, grain-free, easy, gluten-free, plant-based

 

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Recipe rating

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Cathy

Sunday 10th of January 2021

Wow, easy, super tasty, and my meat loving husband couldn't get enough! Next time I'm going to make a double recipe so I have some in the fridge for later on!

Camilla

Thursday 14th of January 2021

Yippee! Glad it was a success, Cathy!

Vegan Oat Mushroom Ground Beef {Soy-Free GF Nut-Free}| power hungry

Monday 23rd of November 2020

[…] Vegan Lentil Taco Meat […]

Lola

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

My niece was looking for a good taco meat substitute, I found this recipe and decided to make it too! Let me tell you it was super easy and fast to make 🤗. I had the red split lentils and they definitely cooked in half the time. I added some diced mushrooms for even more protein and used tostadas instead. Hubby said it’s his new favorite taco. I’m transitioning him into plant based, some recipes are a fail, yours was 💥💥💥💥

Mariah

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Awesome and on my birthday too!

Camilla

Friday 4th of December 2020

Whoohoo!!!!! :) xoxo

5 Environmental Benefits of Reducing Meat Consumption - Tamborasi

Thursday 22nd of October 2020

[…] tacos are on the menu, swap out the ground beef for lentils seasoned with cumin and chili […]

Vegan Ground Beef {Grain-Free, High-Protein, Nut-Free}

Wednesday 12th of August 2020

[…] Vegan Lentil Taco Meat […]

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