May 9, 2020

Vegan Lentil Tacos

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 taco 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

Toppings for lentil tacos

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

If you try these lentil 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. 

Print
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

Description

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
Scale

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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!

Notes

  • 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?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

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

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

92 comments
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    1. Lina Jardim-Vaz
      January 6, 2022 AT 7:46 am

      Very simple to make.
      Delicious and full of flavour

      1. Alex
        January 10, 2022 AT 9:14 am

        Glad to hear, thanks Lina!

    2. Emily
      June 27, 2021 AT 12:18 pm

      Only lentil recipe for tacos/ burritos I make, I double up the spices and add chopped spinach to sneak veggies to the toddler and he loves it, and I use leftovers in quesadillas the next day- so good.

    3. Julie
      May 10, 2021 AT 6:05 pm

      This is a great recipe. We are meat eaters and love beef or chicken tacos but recently started a Meatless Monday routine. I had some lentils in the pantry and came upon this recipe. The taco lentil preparation is awesome. We cannot tell it isn’t beef. We made it per recipe and loved the spice mix. I will probably use this spice mix with beef or chicken tacos too instead of using packets in the future. We put our usual fixings in the tacos and used hard taco shells. It was great. Will definitely make them again and probably regularly. All meat eaters will enjoy these. Thanks for publishing this recipe!!

      1. Alex
        May 11, 2021 AT 8:22 am

        Thank you, Julie! So glad you liked them.

    4. Rachel
      December 27, 2020 AT 7:03 pm

      I love using lentils as a vegetarian alternative, this recipe looks awesome!

    5. Kelly
      December 15, 2020 AT 12:55 am

      This recipe was so good. I’m always looking for great vegan taco variations, and this hit the spot.

      1. Alex
        December 15, 2020 AT 8:52 am

        So glad you like it. Thanks, kelly!

    6. Michelle
      January 24, 2020 AT 5:24 pm

      Sooo I just made this and it was delicious!!! So easy to make! Easy cleanup and everything!! Thank you thank you! This is a perfect college recipe.

    7. Emily
      January 18, 2020 AT 8:32 pm

      Wonderful! I’ve had to make it a few more times for my daughter!

    8. JB
      January 10, 2020 AT 12:52 pm

      I just made this for lunch. Absolutely awesome this recipe is a keeper

      1. Alex
        January 10, 2020 AT 2:21 pm

        So glad you liked it!

    9. Mickey
      December 10, 2019 AT 9:36 am

      I’ve just made these with brown lentils and it came out amazing. Great texture – creamy yet ground-like (hard to explain, really). I added a pinch of turmeric and substituted the paprika for smoked paprika. Thanks for the inspiration!

      1. Alex
        December 10, 2019 AT 9:48 am

        So glad you liked them! Thanks Mickey!

    10. Karyn
      November 8, 2019 AT 12:25 pm

      Giving these a try tonight in homemade sourdough spelt tortillas. We love sprouting buckwheat and cooking in the skillet with sautéed veggies in a similar way. Have you tried that in a taco?

      1. Alex
        November 10, 2019 AT 12:18 pm

        That sounds delicious!