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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


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
  • 11/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Optional: 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves


  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)!


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

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