Saucy, spicy lentils tucked into corn tortillas then topped with crunchy and tangy lime slaw. These Spicy Lentil Tacos are delish!
We have all things good going on in this vegan taco recipe! Spiced, smoky, tomatoey, saucy lentils, and tangy, crunchy lime slaw, all tucked into warm corn tortillas.
The flavours, the textures, the colours...It’s all there. Like a party in your mouth...Roll on taco Tuesday!
Here are the ingredients you need to make Spicy Lentil Tacos:
And a few ingredient notes/substitution tips:
- Corn tortillas - Flour tortillas work too, of course, but I love the added flavor of the corn ones! If you are gluten-free use corn tortillas.
- Lentils - These are the protein-packed base of your taco filling. I like to use green lentils but brown work well too. Don't use red lentils. They don't keep their shape and will make the taco filling turn into stodge.
- Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce - For deep, rich, smoky, and spicy flavour.
- Chili powder - If you are in the UK/Europe don't miss my note in the recipe about reducing the amount. Your chili powder is very different to North American chili powder and you don't need as much.
- Sugar - This is optional but recommended to balance the flavours and acidity.
And for the simple red cabbage slaw:
If you don't have maple syrup you can use some sugar instead.
How To Make Spicy Lentil Tacos
Spicy Lentil Tacos are surprisingly easy to make. Here's a quick summary of how it's done:
- Simmer the lentils until tender, or buy canned lentils then you can skip this step.
- Saute the onion and garlic then add the spices and cook until fragrant.
- Add the lentils and everything else then simmer for about 20 minutes until rich and thick.
- Make the easy slaw while the lentil mixture is simmering.
- Assemble your tacos! Dollop on the lentil "taco meat" then top with some slaw. It adds the perfect amount of sharp sweet texture to the spicy lentil filling.
Use the spicy lentil "taco meat" as the base, the red cabbage slaw on top, then load 'em up with whatever else you've got. Going big with your toppings is mandatory! I love:
- fresh cilantro
- crumbled vegan feta cheese
- quick pickled red onions
- guacamole or avocado dressing
- corn kernels
- vegan sour cream
A salad on the side is a nice addition. I particularly enjoy these tacos with my cool, creamy, and crunchy Cucumber Avocado Salad.
I love to double the lentil filling recipe and freeze half for another day. It can be used to make more tacos, or for burritos, taco salad, enchiladas, nachos, or bowl meals. It's great served over rice or with tortilla chips.
Tips For Storing Leftovers
Store leftover spicy lentils in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days or the freezer for 3 months. The slaw will be ok for a couple of days in the fridge but will soften slightly and is best when freshly made.
Spicy Lentil Tacos with Lime SlawAuthor:
- ¾ cup uncooked green or brown lentils , or 1¾ cup (350g cooked/canned green or brown lentils). Do NOT use red lentils.
- 3½ cup (840 ml) water , divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil , or a few tablespoons water for oil-free
- 1 medium onion , diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder , If in the UK/Europe do not use this much. North American is different. Just use ¼ tsp)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce , diced
- 2 teaspoons sugar , optional but recommended
- 1 teaspoon sea salt , plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 small corn tortillas , or flour tortillas
- toppings of choice
For the lentils
- Start by cooking the lentils. Combine the dried lentils and 3 cups (720ml) of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 18 to 20 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Once tender drain immediately and set aside. Skip this step if using already cooked or canned lentils.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, then saute the onion until tender and translucent (about 5 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the spices (chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and oregano), and cook, stirring frequently, for a minute or two until smelling fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and cook it for a minute or two until it darkens slightly in colour.
- Pour in ½ cup (120ml) water, the cooked lentils, chipotle pepper, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well, then bring to a gentle simmer.
- Allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the mixture is thick and rich. Add a drop more water to loosen if necessary, and adjust the seasoning to taste.
For the slaw
- To a bowl add the lime juice, zest, maple syrup, and salt. Whisk together then add the shredded cabbage and red onion. Toss to coat. (toss again right before serving).
For the tacos
- Warm the tortillas, either one at a time in a very hot skillet, wrapping them in a clean dish towel to keep warm as you go, or in a stack, wrapped in foil, then baked in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.
- Place a couple of tablespoons of the lentil mixture in the center of each tortilla then top with slaw and extra toppings of choice.