Although I usually use veggie mince to make taco filling, last night I wanted to make a less processed meal, and decided to use lentils as a base for making a taco filling.
The original idea was to make tacos and not taco salad. I found half a box of taco shells in the cupboard, and although their age was unknown (and with no “best before” date to guide me), I figured they’d be fine once they were heated in the oven.
Except they weren’t. Even after heating, they had a strange chemical taste and a stale, chewy texture. Bleurgh.
Fortunately, there was a fresh package of tortilla chips in the cupboard, and lentil tacos became lentil taco salad.
The lentil filling was really scrummy, and I wouldn’t hesitate to make it again. It’s a variation of this recipe from epicurious. This will become my standard taco filling, as I like it as much as the one made from veggie mince, and it’s cheaper and healthier to boot. I think I’m even going to try it next time I make my Mexican tortilla bake.
I used Puy (French) lentils, because I like the texture better than regular brown or green lentils. Puy lentils don’t have that mealy texture that other lentils have, and they don’t fall apart when cooked (provided they’re not overcooked).
I topped the salad with lettuce (in retrospect, that probably should have gone on the bottom, underneath the tortilla chips), tomato, vegan sour cream and vegan Cheddar cheese. I didn’t have any avocado in the house, but that would be a great addition, as would tomato or tomatillo salsa, spring onions, olives, fresh coriander (cilantro) or any other Mexican-type toppings.
Lentil taco salad
|1 tablespoon||olive oil||1 tablespoon|
|60g||finely chopped onion||1/2 cup|
|60g||finely chopped red pepper||1/2 cup|
|1 large clove||garlic, minced||1 large clove|
|1-1/2 tablespoons||taco seasoning mix||1-1/2 tablespoons|
|100g||Puy lentils||1/2 cup|
|300ml||vegetable broth or bouillon||1-1/4 cups|
|2 cups||shredded lettuce||2 cups|
|90g||tortilla chips||3 ounces|
|toppings of choice: salsa, avocado, tomato,
spring onion, olives, vegan sour cream,
vegan cheese, fresh coriander (cilantro), etc.
1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and red pepper until vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to saute another minute.
2. Add lentils and taco seasoning. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth or bouillon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a bit of boiling water if liquid has evaporated before lentils are cooked through.
3. When lentils are tender or almost tender, uncover and simmer until extra liquid has evaporated. (If you have a lot of extra liquid, uncover before lentils are completely tender, so you don’t overcook them.) The lentils should be tender but not falling apart.
4. Arrange half the lettuce on each of two plates. Top with tortilla chips, then with lentil mixture. Add toppings of choice.
Makes 2 servings.