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Vegetarian Lentil Tacos

Let's taco 'bout lentils! Lentil tacos are a great way to introduce legumes, and are perfect for anyone interested in adopting a plant-based eating pattern!

How to make Vegetarian Lentil Tacos

This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal. Ready in under 30 minutes, these tacos use lentils as a budget-friendly meat replacement. They also pack a nutritious punch with protein, fiber, plant-based iron and folate!

Making lentil tacos is super easy! You will need:

  • Cooked lentils

  • Canola oil

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • Carrot

  • Worcestershire sauce, low-sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce

  • Tomato paste

  • Salsa, tomato sauce or low-sodium vegetable broth

  • Cumin

  • Paprika

  • Oregano

  • Chili powder

  • Salt

  • Garlic powder

  • Taco shells, or soft tacos

  • Your favorite toppings - I used shredded lettuce and cilantro, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, and guacamole

In a large frying pan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until fragrant and golden. Then, stir in cooked, drained lentils and shredded carrot.

Add all the spices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes until fragrant.

Finally, add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and salsa. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring until the mixture thickens.

How to use lentils as a meat substitute

You can use the lentil taco filling as a meat substitute for a number of dishes, like :

  • Taco salad

  • Burritos

  • Quesadillas

  • Enchiladas

  • Stuffed baked potato

  • Nachos

Lentils are also a great meat substitute in some of your favorite recipes, like shepherd's pie, lasagna, spaghetti sauce or soups!

Can I used canned lentils?

Canned lentils will work great in this recipe and save you time! Make sure you drain and rinse them before adding to the pan. You may also use:

  • Cooked dry green lentils

  • Cooked dry brown lentils

  • Cooked red split lentils (these will give you a mushier consistency, but will still taste delicious!)

Not a fan of lentils? Try black beans or red kidney beans instead!

Not completely sold on lentils? Try mixing half lean ground beef with cooked lentils.

How to cook lentils

Dry green or brown lentils will be ready in 15-20 minutes on the stovetop. As a general rule, you need 3 cups of water or broth per cup of dry lentils.

Place the dry lentils into a large saucepan. Cover with cold liquid. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and reduce heat. Simmer until the lentils are tender – depending on lentils varieties, this can take between 15-20 minutes.

If using red split lentils, note that these cook way faster – in about 7-10 minutes!

Vegetarian Lentil Tacos

Servings: Makes 8 tacos

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


1/2 tbsp canola oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups brown lentils, cooked

1 large carrot, shredded

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/2 cup salsa, or low-sodium vegetable broth

3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup tomato paste

8 taco shells

Toppings of choice: shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, sour cream


  1. In a large skillet, heat canola oil. Cook onion and garlic until fragrant - about 1-3 minutes.

  2. Stir in cooked, drained brown lentils and shredded carrot. Cook for an additional 1-3 minutes.

  3. Stir in spices: cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, chili powder and salt.

  4. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and salsa. Stir to combine.

  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until mixture thickens. If the mixture starts to become dry, add additional salsa, broth or water as needed.

  6. Serve lentil taco meat hot in taco shells with your toppings of choice!


Storing the Vegetarian Lentil Taco meat

Lentil taco meat can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the mixture and thaw the day before using in any recipe.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Be sure to take a photo and tag me on social @vguitard.nutrition so I can see!

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