Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lentil Tacos

If the idea of having a vegetarian over for dinner sends you into a panic and makes you feel woozy, I think this recipe might be the answer to your dinner woes.  This is one of those "you don't miss the meat" meals that is satisfying for everyone from vegetarians to die hard carnivores who have been doctor-ordered to cut down on the meat but don't know what in the world to make.
Yield: 8 tacos
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed

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

3 cups vegetable broth
8 taco shells
6 oz. sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack

optional loco style:
10 small flour tortillas
1 ½ cups refried beans, warmed

*this is fairly mild, if you want it spicier, 
  increase the taco spices or add some 
  finely chopped jalapeno when cooking 
  the onions and garlic.

1.      Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions, garlic and salt until onions begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
2.      Add lentils and taco spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until lentils are dry.
3.      Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. 
4.      Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Mash with a rubber spatula.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
5.      Spoon 1/4 cup lentils into each taco shell. Top with a dollop of sour cream, lettuce, tomato and cheese.
6.      To make “loco” style: Spread 2-3 tablespoons refried beans on a tortilla.  Place a lentil taco in the center and bring the sides up around the taco.

adapted from Jennifer Iserloh

This recipe can be made three ways:
1) as a straight-up taco

2) as a "taco loco" 
loco'd (the beauty of a "taco loco" is that the
shell won't fall apart all over you when you eat it)!

3) as a burrito with just a tortilla and no taco shell
(use your imagination, I didn't make one of those tonight)

Disclaimer: This particular taco recipe has no affiliation with any Taco Loco restaurant (I googled, it turns out there are quit a few of them). I call wrapping a taco with a burrito "loco" style because the first time I ever had one that way was when my friends and I (probably around 4am), stumbled into a small Mexican take out spot in the East Village called San Loco.  I don't know if they came up with the idea, I just know I had it there first, probably 20 years ago.  So I guess you can call this an homage.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Light but satisfying. Tasty and great texture.

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