Lentil Walnut Taco Meat

By Alexandra Caspero on September 7, 2018

Happy Friday friends! Any fun plans for the weekend? September is one of my favorite months in St. Louis as so many fun events happen at once. This weekend is the Art Fair, where vendors from all over the country come to showcase their art along with lots of food trucks and live bands. What more could you possible want? We’ll be taking Vander for the opening this afternoon and then BL and I will make a date night out of it tomorrow evening.

Tell me what fun things you’ve got planned this weekend. Is it too early to go apple picking? I put on a sweater for the first time this morning and even though temperatures are still in the 90s, my office is always cold and it felt very almost fall appropriate. It’s way too early for pumpkin-flavored things for me, but I’ll sneak in a sweater or two until temperatures dip.

Let me introduce you to another delicious taco filling- lentil walnut taco meat! My lentil tacos are one of the most popular recipes on this blog and for good reason. They are delicious! Simple to make and packed with plant-based protein, it’s no wonder I make a batch at least weekly.

lentil walnut vegan taco meat

Last year I made these lentil walnut tacos (in the Instant Pot) and they’ve been a hit in our house as well as yours. Therefore, I thought it was time to make a version on the stove that you can use in tacos, burritos, taco bowls, salads and more.

This recipe is a simpler than my original lentil taco recipe, designed for easy weeknights. I used canned lentils, but of course- you can cook dry lentils first. Most of the time I cook lentils myself but I recently discovered canned lentils and while they have more salt than the dried kind, they are also great for quick weeknight dinners. I included directions for both!
lentil walnut vegan taco meat

See that super delicious green rice taco bowl above!? That recipe is coming to you on Monday. First we’ll make the taco meat filling, then we’ll add it to a yummy taco bowl. Lentil walnut taco meat- it’s the recipe that keeps on giving.

Have a great weekend! xo

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lentil walnut vegan taco meat

Lentil Walnut Taco Meat

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: mexican inspired, vegan, glutenfree

Description

Lentil Walnut Vegan Taco Meat! Looking for a healthy filling for tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more? Try this vegan lentil walnut taco meat. Delicious!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: mexican inspired, vegan, glutenfree
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: mexican inspired, vegan, glutenfree
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut pieces
  • 3/4 cup uncooked brown lentils (or 1 can lentils, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional if using canned lentils)
  • 3 tablespoons salsa (or vegetable broth, or water)

Instructions

  1. If using dried lentils, rinse lentils then add to a medium sauce pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the walnuts. Toast for ~2 minutes, stirring often until walnuts are lightly browned and fragrant, taking care not to burn. Place the walnuts in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the oil to the same skillet along with the onion and spices. Cook for 5-6 minutes until onions are reduced and translucent but not browned. Add the cooked (or canned) lentils and walnut mixture along with the salsa or broth and cook another 2-3 minutes, gently mashing some of the lentils with the back of your spoon/spatula.
  4. Season to taste, adding more salt/spice as needed.

Notes

I find canned lentils at my local Whole Foods.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based 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. Cheryl
      September 22, 2022 AT 7:44 pm

      I made this today. It was a great replacement for meat. My meat loving hubby ate two servings of our vegan nachos. I did use seasoning that I usually use when I make taco meat. I also let it warm on the burner a little longer on low. The longer it sat on the burner, the more it resembled meat. Thanks for the great recipe. I love you

    2. Maria
      May 3, 2021 AT 8:04 pm

      Hi Alex,
      I’m a HUGE fan! love all your recipes and have purchased all your PBJ books. I notice you use chili powder often in recipes and I’m wondering what brand you’d recommend for kids. Thank you!

      1. Alex
        May 4, 2021 AT 6:29 am

        Thanks, Maria! I do use a lot of chili powder in my recipes. I usually use the plain chili powder from Penzey’s or Frontier– it’s not super spicy, but I find that my kids both enjoy it.

    3. Cynthia
      March 20, 2021 AT 8:05 am

      I make this often!
      I also make black bean hummus and smear my taco shell with it before adding taco “meat” and tons of greens on top
      I could eat this every day!!

    4. Olivia Vazquez
      January 24, 2021 AT 9:41 am

      Hi Alex! I’m curious if you think these would freeze well. Thanks!

      1. Alex
        January 25, 2021 AT 8:35 am

        Hi Olivia, thanks for the email. I haven’t frozen this one before, but I’ve done my lentil meat before and it turns out fine. Please let me know if you need anything else.

    5. Ian
      April 12, 2020 AT 7:08 am

      This was awesome! The texture, I think, is better than ground beef! The seasoning was really good too. I put this in my vegan taco-in-a-bowl (with fritos, scalions, tomatoes, olives, salsa, tahini and nutritional yeast). Probably the best taco-in-a-bowl I’ve ever eaten. It made my vegetarian sister so jealous.
      (It goes without saying that this will be a new staple in my house)

    6. Rachel
      February 24, 2020 AT 5:55 am

      This is delicious! I made my own lentils with what I had left of a bag, only about 3/4 of a cup and I ate so much out of the pan that I wished I had made more. It has a good texture and even tasted good with very little oil. Probably a double batch next time so that I can have leftovers! I will have to try making it with salsa too that sounds like it would be delicious.

      1. Alex
        February 24, 2020 AT 9:47 am

        Glad you liked it! Thanks Rachel!