Lentil Tacos

Does anyone else take issue with the whole regimented food schedule we all suddenly seem to be on? As if I didn't have enough irrational guilt about missing some of the lesser kid-centric holidays, I'm now a Communist if I'm not having Tacos on Tuesday, a donut on the randomly selected day to honor its contribution to society or find myself inhaling a meatball sub with emphasis on the "meat" part on a Monday. It's too much! I have no idea where this all came from but my inner child does NOT want to be told what to wear, what to eat or how often to floss. That being said, we did find ourselves eating tacos...on a Tuesday and my love for alliteration won out, leaving me to do a little shimmy to the table while carrying plates and singing a stupid song about tacos. 

Whenever the option of tacos comes up we come back to this lentil mixture. It goes over well with everyone and the leftovers are versatile enough to find their way into breakfast burritos and nachos. I'm guessing you can grind it in a blender or just mash it but I can't vouch for that - if you have an immersion blender, that's the best choice and if not, it may be a good investment to make (single serving smoothies and shakes!) 

If you have the time, sprouting lentils can be an excellent way to get their nutritional benefits while making them easier to digest. If you'd like to try it, here is a tutorial. 

2 cups French green lentils, rinsed, sorted through and soaked in water for 2-12 hours then drained, rinsed and dried with a dishtowel
1 large yellow onion, diced small
1 large red pepper, diced small
2 large carrots, shredded (best) or diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
4-5 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth or water will work, too)
3 tablespoons olive, avocado oil or mild coconut oil

Heat a large skillet that also has a lid on medium high heat and add the cooking oil. When the oil has thinned, add the onion, pepper, carrots and garlic. Reduce heat slightly and stir until the onions become translucent. Add the chili powder, cumin and salt, then stir continuously to toast the spices without burning them. Add the tomato paste and lentils, give them a quick stir, then stir in 1 cup of the broth and lower heat to medium low. Add another cup of broth, give another stir and cover the skillet, allowing the mixture to stay at a low simmer. When the liquid has mostly evaporated, 5-10 minutes, add another cup of liquid and cover again. Continue to do this until the vegetables are softened and the lentils are still a bit toothsome but have a soft, chewy consistency. Add more salt to taste, then remove the skillet from the stove and have an immersion blender ready. Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into a pile in the middle of the pan and insert the blender, pulsing to create a meat-like texture. Continue scraping and blending until most of the lentils have been incorporated, adding a bit more liquid if the mixture seems dry or too crumbly. 

We like to serve our tacos on soft corn tortillas with chili lime coleslaw, avocado, grated raw cheese, salsa and a healthy squeeze of lime. This recipe makes quite a bit, so you'll likely have leftovers. To reheat the lentil filling, put in a small pan with a bit of water, stir and heat over low medium heat. 

*original post: April 29, 2017