Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Red Lentil Tacos or "Bean-Dip" {Revised} (vegan)

I actually posted the first version of this recipe over 2 years ago, and it was proudly one of my first recipes to post. I recently was making this recipe again because tis the season when avocados are "in-season" and on sale. So, what better way to eat avocados than with tacos?! This recipe has been around for a few years, but this revised edition is a little bit easier to read and I made some adjustments to the seasonings and ingredients. Nothing major. Just revised it to be better after making it again and again. I have gotten so many compliments on this recipe alone. I think if you are looking to add more vegan recipes to your diet, this is definitely one to try.
It is a really basic, simple, flavorful and... it could pass as a "fake" meat. Or, don't even think about it like that. Think about how lentils are filled with beneficial plant protein, minerals, vitamins, and delicious-ness. So this is just a new way to eat tacos, and you may not really care about ground meat any more...

Lentil Mixture Recipe
1/2 cup of diced onions
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 TB of olive oil
1 1/2 cup of dry organic red lentils
3 cups of pure water
1 TB of ground cumin
1 TB of ground paprika
dash to 1/2 ts. of ground cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)
2 ts. of ground turmeric
1/2 ts. of sea salt, or more or less to taste
1/2 ts. of ground black pepper, or more or less to taste
1/3 cup of crushed tomatoes (I used canned, but fresh could work)
2-3 TB of non-dairy milk, I use unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk (or 2 TB of organic butter or ghee would work too)
huge handful of fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
fresh lemon or lime juice to serve

Saute the chopped onion garlic in the olive oil in a large pan. Wait until the onions are clear or a little crispy, then pour in the red lentils with the pure water and stir and let simmer till it boils. It will take about 15-20 minutes for it to soak in and become a thicker texture.

After the thickening happens, you can add the spices, tomatoes, and non-dairy milk. You are constantly stirring at this point so that the mixture doesn't burn. It will start to become almost like a ground-meat texture. If your mix is a bit watery, just keep cooking on medium heat and it will thicken up as you go. I like to throw in the fresh cilantro in last to add some fresh flavor and color. I also add some fresh lemon or lime at the end to cool down the spices. Not too much, just a splash and lets the flavors dance together. Hm, it smells delicious!
Now serve up how you wish:

You can pile the mixture in a soft gluten-free corn taco shell that has been heated up in a pan with a touch of olive oil and salt. When you warm up the shell a bit it makes it easier to stretch when you are putting the insides in. You really only need to take about one minute to do this. If you over warm it up it will probably become a crispy chip that won't let you fold or wrap. If you want a crispy chip, then by all means... I liked having a flexible taco shell with this specific recipe. Load your vegan taco with lentil mixture, leftover brown rice (or quinoa), lettuce or greens, salsa, and avocado. Then splash with lemon or lime and eat!
Or, you can use this lentil mixture as a "bean-dip-bowl" kind of meal. You could pile on a plate some rice or quinoa, add the lentil mix and top with lettuce, avocado and salsa. Use gluten-free corn chips to scoop up your layers of flavor. Or forget the chips and just eat with a fork.

I made up this lentil mixture as a meat replacement for tacos and it actually turned out to be a very tasty comparison. I actually like it better! It has the legume flavor and texture of a burrito, but the fun of a messy and hand eaten taco.

Now that wasn't too hard... now, enjoy!

Servings, usually can make up to 8 tacos, so can serve anywhere from 4 to 8 people.

Much love to you today!


  1. It is so exciting to be able to find such delicious Gluten Free recipes since I am Celiac. Thanks for the recipes and added information.

  2. Does it have to be red lentils? Would green work just as well?

  3. I am so excited to try these!

  4. Pat- I have only used red lentils for this specific recipe, mainly to have the color and look of taco meat, but I am guessing other lentils would be just as fine, it would take a little longer to cook green lentils though... try it out and let me know!

    Thanks everyone for the comments!

  5. Hi Stephanie!

    Just found your blog via FB and a post on the So Delicious Dairy Free page! This recipe sounds fabulous, can't wait to try it! I am currently enrolled at IIN!!! Have your blog bookmarked and will be back for sure!


  6. Cricket- thanks for the comment. I hope you love IIN- if you ever have any questions or want to chat more... just email. :) much love!

  7. Wow, Stephanie! Your recipes just keep getting more and more innovative! This one made me hungry as soon as I saw the first photo, and I truly can't wait to try this for dinner tonight! Thanks so much for sharing another incredible So Delicious recipe!

  8. Thanks Gail for all the kind words and blog-love! Hope you enjoy dinner!

  9. This is so interesting. Living in the Texas Hill Country we love our tacos and our bean dip! :-) I'm anxious to try this unique variation.

    Thanks for sharing.



  10. I think that will be dinner tonight, w/o tomatoes and on sweet potatoes. A nice option for when I wasn't organized enough to soak the usual black/pinto beans. Perfect timing!

  11. I made these tacos on cinco de mayo and loved them!!! I used the leftover lentil mixture the next day to make a quesadillas, just put the lentils and some daiya cheese on half a corn totilla and cook until crispy. So good!

  12. Love, love, love!!! Defintely putting this in my meal-planning rotation :)

  13. Do you think the lentil mixture would freeze well? I'm expecting a baby in a few weeks and am looking for some recipes that I can make and put in the freezer ahead of time.

  14. Inspired Parenthood- Yes- I think that if you let the mix cool and then pack it in an airtight container you would be able to freeze it very well. Hope it turns out and many blessings on your coming baby. love, Stephanie

  15. I just hunted down your blog again for THIS recipe. We deal with dairy allergies at our house and now perhaps iron deficiency. Seeing how lentils are high in iron and they were such a hit last time, I'm making them this week. Thanks Stephanie, I can't wait to look over your other recipes

    1. Mindy! Glad to hear from you :) hope it turns out! Hope you find lots of recipes to help with your food sensitivities and much love xoxo