Lentil Tacos are a flavorful, filling, healthy, meatless version of tacos! Ready in under 30 minutes with simple, affordable ingredients, these Lentil Tacos are ridiculously delicious.
When you find yourself looking for a vegan-friendly dinner recipe or a healthy vegetarian recipe that appeals to both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, give these Lentil Tacos a try. They are flavorful, hearty, and incredibly easy to make.
One request I often get is for more meatless meals that satisfy both vegetarians and meat-eaters.
When it comes to replacing meat with a hearty, healthy vegan substitute, I love turning to lentils.
Lentils are a sort of magical thing when it comes to meatless meals. These legumes have a similar texture to ground meat, are cheap, easy to find, easy to cook, and take on any flavor really well.
And lentils are also a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. They are cholesterol free, low in fat, and high in antioxidants, fiber, and folate.
This recipe for Lentil Tacos is one of my favorite 30-Minute Dinner Recipes. Lentils are simmered in a perfectly seasoned sauce until tender to create a healthy taco meat. Served over toasted tortillas with fresh, crunchy cabbage, and a bright avocado lime sauce, these vegan tacos have the perfect balance of flavor and texture.
- 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: I use my homemade taco seasoning, to control the additives and sodium content, but any brand of taco seasoning will work.
- Tomato Sauce: I love using tomato sauce to give the lentils a nice saucy consistency, just like classic taco meat.
- Vegetable Broth: If you don't have vegetable broth, you can use chicken stock (no longer vegetarian-friendly) or water. If using just water, you may want to increase your taco seasoning by an additional 1-2 teaspoons to really flavor the lentils.
- Avocado Sauce: The avocado sauce is made with avocado, lime juice, and salt. It is simple, yet so flavorful and the perfect finishing touch.
- Cabbage: Shredded cabbage adds crunch and freshness to these meatless tacos. You certainly don't have to add it to your Lentil Tacos, but I highly recommend it for the best contrast in texture.
- Tortillas: Use any tortillas you like. Corn, hard-shell, gluten-free, or homemade fllour tortillas.
How to Prepare Lentil Tacos
Step One: Prepare Lentil Taco Meat
This recipe for lentil taco meat comes together quickly on the stovetop.
- In a large stock pan, bring the broth/water, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and lentils to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat and simmer the lentil taco meat covered, until the lentils are tender and the majority of the liquid has been absorbed.
Step Two: Prepare Toppings
While the lentils are simmering, use that time to prepare the avocado sauce, slice the cabbage, and toast the tortillas so that everything comes together at once.
- To prepare the avocado lime sauce, simply mash together the flesh of an 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.
- Toast tortillas over a dry skillet until just warm and pliable.
Step Three: Assemble Tacos
I highly recommend serving lentil taco meat on warm tortillas, twith an avocado lime sauce, that adds richness and bright acidity, and shredded cabbage for crunch.
- Dish the lentil meat out onto each tortilla. Top with fresh cabbage and the avocado sauce.
- If desired, add diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and/or pickled red onions. And if not vegan or dairy-free, these vegetarain tacos are delicious served with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
Additional Serving Suggestions
While lentil taco meat is delicious used for tacos, you can serve lentil taco meat in endless ways.
- Instead of a tortillas, use a Baked Sweet Potato for the serving vessel of lentil taco meat and avocado sauce.
- Replace taco meat in a Taco Salad or a Taco Pizza with these seasoned lentils.
- Replace the beans in Vegetarian Enchiladas with lentil tacos.
- Serve in burritos for a packable lunch or dinner on the go.
- Add onions and garlic. If you are looking to add in a bit more flavor, and don't have picky eaters that are opposed to minced onions in a recipe, start this recipe for lentil taco meat by sauteing 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.
- Use salsa. 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
These lentil tacos are not only healthy, easy, and flavorful, but 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
- 1 cup dried green or brown lentils
- 2 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning see notes for individual spices
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 broth, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and lentils to a boil in a large stock pan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, cover and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Once cooked, fluff the lentils with a fork and taste to adjust the seasoning.
- While the lentils are cooking, prepare the cabbage and avocado sauce and toast the tortillas. Thinly slice the cabbage and drizzle with the juice of half of a lime and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat. Prepare the avocado sauce, by mashing or pureeing the flesh of an avocado with the remaining fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt. Warm the tortillas in a dry skillet over high heat for 30-60 seconds per side, until warm and pliable.
- To assemble the lentil tacos, place a layer of cabbage on each tortilla, top with lentil mixture, and drizzle or dollop the avocado cream over the lentils. Add cilantro, tomatoes, etc if desired, and serve immediately.
This post was originally published in 2018 but was updated in 2023.