I have made a very conscious effort to include more lentils and other pulses in my cooking. There are just so many healthy benefits: they’re high in protein, high in fibre, high in iron and many other vitamins and minerals. Lentils are also very budget friendly – the cost of the protein in the meal will only be dollar or two. Through experimentation I have found pulses really work with many different herb and spice combinations, and it is easy to mix things up to avoid ho hum dinners! The website www.lentils.ca is a wonderful source of inspiration for using lentils in all kinds of ways. This recipe is a variation of the lentil tacos on that site.
I remember the first time I made these my family just loved them! Tacos in any form are such a fun, kid-friendly meal and great for casual family style dining where all the fixings are on the table and everyone builds their own. These are so delicious, with all the familiar flavours of tacos, yet the lentils make a lighter, healthier, fibre rich meal. Paired with a fresh green salad, this easy dinner is on the table in only 40 minutes. I usually make a double recipe so that I cook once and then have extra filling for another meal of taco’s, burritos, or other mexican flavoured dish. The filling freezes well. Simply defrost, heat and serve. This meal is gluten free and vegan (with a dairy free cheese).
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup brown lentils (rinsed and drained)
340 ml strained tomatoes
340 ml water or more
salt and pepper
10 Taco Shells *see note about TBHQ
Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute a few minutes and then add garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant. Turn heat down to low and add cumin, coriander, paprika and chili powder. Cook a minute or two. Add lentils, strained tomatoes and water. Simmer until lentils are cooked, adding more water if needed. Once the lentils are cooked (about 25 minutes) continue to simmer to thicken to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place taco shells on cookie sheet and heat for about 5-7 minutes until warm.
Assemble taco’s with filling, lettuce, tomatoes or salsa, cheese and avocado. (vegan cheese product to make vegan)
TBHQ – When you shop for taco shells, check the ingredient list. One of the ingredients may be TBHQ. TBHQ is tertiary butylhydroquinone, a synthetic antioxidant that is used to extend the shelf life of packaged foods. It is to keep the fat in the product from becoming rancid. There are good qualtiy brands of taco shells on the market that do not have TBHQ and also have a very reasonable best before date.