Lentil Tacos are a delicious meatless version of tacos. Made with tender lentils that are simmered with taco seasoning, a bright avocado-lime cream, and crunchy cabbage, Lentil tacos have the perfect balance of flavors and texture.
One request I often get is for more meatless meals that satisfy both vegetarians and meat-eaters.
Lentil Tacos are just the answer you are looking for.
Lentils are a sort of magical thing when it comes to meatless meals. They have a similar texture to ground meat, are easy to find, easy to cook, and take on any flavor you are going for--therefore they are really easy to get picky family members to eat. I often use lentils to make lentil sloppy joes, meatless meatballs, and these Lentil Tacos. The meals are always a hit with my family, including my meat-eating husband.
Not to mention that lentils are inexpensive. But really who cares if you save money if no one will eat your meal, right?
You don't need to worry about these slightly spicy Lentil Tacos. They are AH-AMAZING!!! The lentils themselves taste just like traditional ground taco meat and when paired with a fresh lime avocado cream, these meatless tacos are sure to be devoured.
- Lentils: Be sure to use brown or green lentils, not red or yellow lentils, as they will break down too much when cooked.
- Taco Seasoning: The seasoning for the lentil meat is just tomato sauce and taco seasoning. I use my homemade taco seasoning, but any taco seasoning is fine to use.
- Avocado Sauce: The avocado sauce is made with avocado, lime juice, and salt. It is simple, yet so flavorful.
- Cabbage: Shredded cabbage adds crunch and freshness to these meatless tacos. Be sure to add fresh lime juice to the shredded cabbage to help really flavor it.
- Tortillas: Use any tortillas you like--corn, wheat, or gluten-free, homemade tortillas.
How to Prepare Lentil Taco Meat
- In a large stock pan, bring water, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and lentils to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed.
- Fluff with a fork and taste to adjust seasonings.
I highly recommend serving this lentil taco meat with an avocado lime sauce, that adds richness and bright acidity, and shredded cabbage for crunch. They are also delicious topped with Pickled Red Onions
- To prepare the avocado lime sauce, simply mash together the flesh of the avocado with fresh lime juice and salt. You can opt to blend until smooth, or simply mash and dollop on your tacos.
- Prepare the cabbage by slicing it into thin strips or shredding it in a food processor. Sprinkle the cabbage with a pinch of salt and fresh lime juice to really enhance the flavors.
- If not serving in tortillas, use your lentil taco meat to top Baked Sweet Potatoes, in place of the taco meat in a Taco Salad or a Taco Pizza, or as the filling for Vegetarian Enchiladas.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- To prepare lentils in the Instant Pot: Place rinsed lentils into the inner pot of the instant pot. Add in 2 cups of water or stock and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning. Stir well. Top with tomato sauce--do NOT stir. Place lid on the pressure cooker and set cook time for 9 minutes on high pressure. Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally on its own for at least 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stirring in the tomato sauce, and serve as desired.
- Leftovers: Store cooled lentil taco meat in an air-tight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months.
- No Broth? If you don't have vegetable broth, you can use chicken stock (no longer veggie tacos) or water. If using just water, you may want to increase your taco seasoning by an additional 1-2 teaspoons.
- Looking to add a bit more flavor? Feel free to saute 1 minced onion and 2 cloves of garlic in 2 teaspoons of oil before cooking the lentils. Once the onion and garlic are softened, add in the lentils, taco seasoning, broth, and tomato sauce and simmer. Another way to add some more dimension to this simple recipe for Lentil Taco Meat is to use jarred salsa in place of the tomato sauce. I find that when serving kids, using just the seasoning and smooth tomato sauce is best for their pickier palates.
More Meatless Mexican Favorites
- Vegan Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers
- Southwestern Veggie Tostadas
- Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna
- Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos
- Cauliflower Tacos
These lentil tacos are not only healthy, easy, and flavorful, they are also super affordable and made with simple pantry staples. If you gave this recipe a try, I would love for you to leave a comment below.
Easy Lentil Tacos
For Lentil Taco Meat
For Avocado Sauce
- 1 large avocado
- 2 limes divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 tomato optional
- ¼ cup cilantro optional
- 6 tortillas
- Bring water, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and lentils to a boil in a large stock pan. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed.
- While lentils are cooking, prepare the avocado sauce, by mashing the avocado with the juice of 1 ½ limes and salt. Use the remaining lime juice to drizzle the cabbage with.
- Warm the toritllas by placing tortillas directly over gas burners (over medium-heat) for 1 minute per side, but you can also heat them in dry hot skillet the same way.
- To assemble, place a layer of cabbage on tortilla, top with lentil mixture, diced tomatoes, cilantro and a drizzle or dollop of the avocado cream.
This post was originally published in 2018 but was updated in 2021 with new tips and pictures.