New-to-Me Recipe: Lentil Taco Filling

Watch out, foodies, I’m mangling another recipe and I have the bad photos to prove it!

I’ve been wanting to incorporate more lentils into my meal repertoire, partly for nutritional reasons (high fiber, low fat, good protein) and also because they’re just so danged budget friendly ($2/pound for lentils or $5/pound for ground turkey breast). When I saw this recipe for Lentil Tacos (Taste of Home), I knew I’d found a good place to start experimenting. (Danger Girl Cooks Again!)

As so often happens, I improvised a little.

Taste of Home ingredient list:
– 1 cup finely chopped onion
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– 1 teaspoon canola oil
– 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
– 1 tablespoon chili powder
– 2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 2-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
– 1 cup salsa

That all looks fine–nothing complicated. I am the queen of shortcuts, however, and as such, was able to pare down the list.

Taste of Cammy’s Home ingredients:
– 1 teaspoon canola oil
– 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
– 2 generous tbsp DIY Taco Seasoning
– 2-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
– 1 cup salsa
* 4-oz. can of chopped green chiles (or other peppers) – OPTIONAL

Ahh, much better. My simplified mise en place:

lentil taco filling ingredients

Yeah, about that X. I really was going to trouble myself with chopping an onion and opening a jar of minced garlic, but then I remembered that my taco seasoning already has garlic powder and onion powder in it so I skipped that step. Yes, I know it’s not the same thing, but it was late and I was hungry. Do I at least get credit for the great score on the chicken broth sale?

So anyway, if you were doing the onion and garlic step, you’d toss those in the pot with the canola oil and cook them until soft. (Note: I already had the oil in the pot heating when I decided to skip the onion/garlic step. I didn’t really need it after all.) Next, stir in the lentils and cook for a minute or so.

When that’s all nice and hot, pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Give or take. (The lentils should be soft.)

Next, remove the cover and let cook 6-8 more minutes, and then mash the lentils with your fork or the Oster Blender stick you bought last year that you’ve used about 5 times. Final step: stir in the salsa.

I’m not sure how it’s supposed to look, but mine looked like this:

lentil taco filling

It thickened a bit more as it cooled while I prepped my fixin’s: a whole grain high fiber tortilla wrap with a bit of cheese and sliced black olives.

A very tasty meal and with about 30g of protein (lentils, cheese, wrap combined) and over 50% of my daily fiber needs, quite filling as well. As an added bonus, it’s super simple to prepare. Basically, if you can stir and boil water, you can make this recipe.

During last night’s reheatability test, I decided it needed just a bit more…something, so I stirred in a 4-oz. can of chopped green chiles. That took it from gooood to really, really good!

On the menu last night was a duo: a lentil taco and lentil nachos.

lentil taco and lentil nachos

I’m pleased to report that it passed the reheat test with flying colors! If it passes the freezability test (I’ll know this weekend), then this recipe is a definite keeper for me. In fact, I may never eat turkey taco filling again! (Okay, I probably will, but it won’t be very often.)

Oh, and one more little thing: despite the glare in the last photo, you might have noticed my cute little taco shell. I made that myself, too, using a handy tip I picked up from Eating Well.

Y’all know it’s only a matter of time before I’m preparing my own tortillas from scratch, don’t you? (Seriously, I priced the masa harina and a tortilla press, so maybe someday.)

At this point, I don’t have a reliable figure for nutritional values. My rough calculation (completed in my head while I was waiting for my taco shell to bake, so numbers may change) had the taco filling at about 150 calories for 1/3 cup. When I added my two 6″ corn tortillas, cheese, and sliced black olives, it worked out to about 300 calories for this plate. If you like sour cream or avocado or other toppings, adjust calories accordingly. I just added a side salad and called it a 400 calorie meal.

Okay, I showed you mine; now it’s your turn. Got any lentil recipes to share?



14 thoughts on “New-to-Me Recipe: Lentil Taco Filling

    • LOL I was a little afraid, too. The only lentils I’d ever been served were NOT very tasty (basically, just boiled and lightly seasoned), and my one excursion in black bean cooking did NOT go well either. These are very good, though, and super tasty. So, be brave, little soldier!

  1. Hi,it looks very good.Have you made lentils Indian style.Its very simple also.Saute cut onions,garlic and ginger first.When just brown add cut tomatoes ,if you want to add green chilis and cumin that’s fine too.when tomatoes are completely mashed add lentils till soft.Add salt of course and turmeric too.To make it easy you can buy ready made Indian spices for dal.After its done just mash it a little bit.Eat it with basmati rice.I hope you make it one day and like it.Love your blog

    • Hi Karuna, thank you so much for stopping by! Thank you also for bringing a recipe!

      I have a difficult time with Indian flavors, but in reading your recipe, I wonder if preparing this at home with a bit of a lighter touch with the seasonings would help be grow more accustomed to them. I’ll let you know how it goes–wish me luck! :)

  2. Right now I can’t eat anything spicy but am looking forward to trying these. Since my husband is still on hi vegetarian kick, I’m constantly on the lookout for recipes that he’ll eat and I’ll eat.

    This one is yummy (and DH LOVES it) but I have to go to several stores to get the ingredients: http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2010/03/lentils-recipe-barley-pilaf-with-mushrooms.html

    This is another good one: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/lentil-soup-with-lemon/detail.aspx

  3. I am not a fan of lentils, but it’s been awhile since I tried anything new with them. Maybe this will spur me to action.

  4. Great recipe! I like a shorter list of ingredients anyway!!! Love the shell trick too!

    I used to eat lentils a lot when I was in the building stage for my bodybuilding contests… need to check out again! They do make me toot though! 😉

  5. That does look yummy. I like lentils, but am afraid of cooking them… Yeah, I tried one whole time and they didn’t turn out.

    Anyway, good stats on a fun dinner.

    My favorite lentil recipe is something that Vicky does–curried red lentils and rice with peanuts, sunflower seeds, and grated apples in it. Too much trouble to make myself, so definitely not an economy dish.

  6. That’s a great meal! I don’t eat raw lentils, but I don’t mind lentils as well as olives in my tacos and tortillas.

  7. Um – YUM!! This looks fantabulous! I love the idea of hanging the tortillas upside down in the oven. Can’t believe I’ve never thought of that!

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