Vegan Lentil Tacos

By Alexandra Caspero on May 9, 2020
Simple vegan lentil tacos! A great introduction to plant-based meals.
Makes 8 tacos

Vegan Lentil Tacos! These are the BEST swap for ground meat tacos with the same amount of protein and half the fat! 

Of all the recipes that I’ve put on this blog, these vegan lentil tacos are my favorite. My I-hope-you-will-make-these-first recipe, as I am confident in their ability to win over any die-hard omnivore.

Not only is this meal healthy, it’s also pretty inexpensive and quick to make. A win-win in my book. Of all the subs for ground beef, lentils are probably one of my favorite. They are high in fiber, iron and protein and one cup provides almost all of your daily folate needs.

If you’re trying to lower cholesterol levels then try subbing lentils for ground beef, turkey or chicken in your pasta sauces, burgers, and these tacos. I’ve made these for many carnivores and everyone asks for the recipe. And, coincidentally, this lentil recipe is gluten-free if you sub corn tortillas for flour. Vegan, gluten-free, these lentil tacos please everyone!

Plant-Based Tacos With Lentils

Vegan Lentil Taco Ingredients

​In addition to lentils, you’ll also need:

  • Diced onion and garlic
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Spice mix. You can use a packet of taco seasoning to make things as easy as possible or use my homemade spice mix that I’ve included below using chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper 
Lentil Tacos With Guacamole And Tomatoes

Taco Toppings!

Our favorite toppings for these tacos are diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cheese– either dairy-free or regular– and black olives. Flour tortillas are my preferred tortilla here, but corn will also work for gluten-free tacos. 

These lentils are also fantastic on a taco salad! Shredded lettuce, whatever vegetables you want and a big scoop of this alongside taco dressing is one of our favorite meals.

Vegan Tacos With Lentils

How to make the lentil taco meat

The good news is that these tacos couldn’t be easier to put together! First, sauté an onion until translucent and soft in a large skillet over medium heat. This helps give the lentils more flavor and adds to the overall texture of the dish.

From there, you’ll add the spices and let cook until you start to smell them, about 1-2 minutes. Cooking the spices in the fat of the onions and oil is called blooming, which is just a fancy way of making the dried spices more potent.

Then, stir in cooked lentils and cook until warmed through. The secret to getting these lentils to act like ground meat is to gently smash some of them using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher.

Can I use canned lentils?

Canned lentils are fine to substitute here. A reminder that you don’t have to soak lentils first before cooking them, so you can cook a large batch at once to use in these tacos, then in my lentil loaflentil masala, or lentil tacos with cauliflower later in the week.

Vegan Tacos With Lentils

Which lentils are best for vegan lentil tacos?

Brown or french green lentils are best as they hold their shape after being cooked. Split lentils or red lentils will turn to mush once cooked, so avoid them in this recipe. If you cannot find lentils, you can substitute cooked black beans or pinto beans.

Can I substitute in a taco seasoning packet?

If you’re short on time, sub in the spice mixture for a taco seasoning packet. You may need to add in a little vegetable broth along with the lentils as taco seasoning packets tend to have added thickeners in them that will absorb moisture in the recipe.

Vegan And Gluten-Free Lentil Tacos

If you love these tacos, then you will love these other lentil taco recipes:

If you try these tacos, make sure to come back to leave a comment and rate them! Your feedback helps others and seeing you make my recipes makes my day. 

Vegan And Gluten-Free Lentil Tacos

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Vegan And Gluten-Free Lentil Tacos

Vegan Lentil Tacos

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Vegan, Main
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan


Vegan Lentil Tacos! These are the BEST swap for ground meat tacos with the same amount of protein and half the fat!

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Vegan, Main
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Vegan, Main
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 2 cups lentils, cooked (from 1 cup dry lentils)
  • White onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable broth
  • Corn or Flour Tortillas, for serving
  • Taco toppings: shredded lettuce, sliced jalapeños, homemade guacamole

Spice mix:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. First, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, sweat the onion in 1 tbsp. oil. Stir frequently, about 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Then, add the garlic and spice mixture and cook for another minute or two, stirring frequently. Remember, you don’t want to burn the spices just crank up the flavor by cooking them.
  2. While you are cooking this, warm the tortillas. You can do this in the oven or microwave. I just place them on the burner behind my frying pan and let them warm up while I cook the filling, this way I don’t have to turn on the oven.
  3. Next, add the lentils and stir to combine. Then, add the vegetable broth and using a potato masher or fork, gently mash the lentils until they start to look like ground meat. Then, cook another few minutes until hot. Note, if the lentils start to dry out, add another tbsp. or two of vegetable broth (can also use salsa here)
  4. Finally, place a heaping spoonful or two into the taco shell and add your fillings. The filling will make about 8 tacos, depending on how stuffed you like them!


  • If you are using dried lentils, you’ll need to cook them first. Rinse the lentils, then place in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer until tender, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Instead of the homemade spice mix, you can use a packaged taco seasoning. Start with 2 tablespoons, then add more as desired.

did you make this?

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This recipe was first posted in 2015 and updated in 2021. 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Elisia
      December 12, 2023 AT 6:53 pm

      Loved this recipe! I added a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles but otherwise followed the recipe, and it came out so flavorful! I will definitely make it again!

    2. Cindy
      September 6, 2023 AT 6:59 pm

      This was delicious. I have just started cooking vegan meals so it was nice to fix something that my husband and I both loved.

      1. Alex
        September 8, 2023 AT 7:22 am

        So glad to hear! We love this one too in my house

    3. Deborah Reeves
      July 30, 2023 AT 11:42 am

      This is absolutely delicious! I made taco salads using corn tortilla chips. I didn’t have vegetable broth so I simply used water. Perfect in every way! Thanks for a great recipe!!!+

    4. Megan
      March 30, 2023 AT 5:19 pm

      Perfect spice combo! This will be my “to go” taco recipe from now on! Thanks you!

    5. Jennifer
      November 8, 2022 AT 5:18 pm

      These are super delicious and easy to whip up!

    6. S.w.
      September 23, 2022 AT 8:13 am

      Used canned pinto beans. Turned out very well.

    7. Randy
      August 10, 2022 AT 4:20 pm

      Love these lentils on tortillas and as nachos.

    8. Nellie
      August 4, 2022 AT 4:46 pm

      I did not expect this to taste good. This was so delicious it made me briefly evaluate becoming vegetarian.

    9. Sandra McDevitt
      July 21, 2022 AT 8:39 am

      Made this dish twice. Used the canned French green lentils and Taco seasoning mix.
      Great tasting dish. Just sent the recipe to my cousin in England who looks for meatless dishes.

    10. Carolyn
      May 29, 2022 AT 1:50 pm

      Excellent!! The spice mix was on point! I swapped the chilli flakes and onions with fresh salsa from Whole Foods, but it was still great! Quick, easy, delicious! Thank you!!