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.
- 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
- 1–1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but highly recommended)
- 1/2 cup water
- Optional: 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 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.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion; cook and stir for 7 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper to the skillet, cook and stir for 30 seconds longer.
- 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.
- Serve in any and all of your favorite meals that call for taco meat (e.g., taco, burritos, salads, nachos)!
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
- 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