crunchy tacos. MY FAVORITE. and after some experimenting, i’ve come up with THE PERFECT vegetarian answer to beef-style taco filling: lentil-tempeh tacos. the lentils are filling, versatile, and make me feel good. combine it with tempeh, a soy product similar to tofu but consisting of a “cake” of whole soybeans, which has a fantastic texture that could be similar to a meat substitute. when seasoned just right, you will not know these aren’t from taco time or your similar favorite taco joint with who-knows-what that beef filling is actually made of, plus none of the fat.
it’s so healthy and delicious and can be made in simply the time it takes to prepare a batch of lentils (30-40 minutes).
are you ready?
makes filling for 12 tacos. you will need…
>> ½ heaping cup of dry lentils (i used brown)
>> 1 package organic tempeh (i used smoked flavor)
>> your favorite taco shells or tortillas
>> one packet of taco seasoning
>> taco sauce or salsa
>> your favorite taco toppings
(i like diced onion, tomato, shredded lettuce, sometimes arugula/rocket/rucola when i’m feeling fancy, & cheese)
1) in a small saucepan, add lentils to 2-3 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. once boiling, cover and let simmer for 30+ minutes, checking on them to make sure they still have water (like rice). these suckers soak up quite a lot!
2) in the mean time, grate the block of tempeh and set aside. prepare all of your favorite taco toppings and set aside as well.
3) keep an eye on the lentils to ensure they are not dry, but not too watery, either. taste them occasionally to check for doneness (when they are completely soft).
4) drain any excess water from lentils. mash lightly with a fork or other utensil. add in the tempeh and mix well. add your preferred amount of taco seasoning to taste (i usually use half a packet). the mixture should be a similar consistency of ground beef at this point and not dry. if it appears dry, add a teaspoon or two of warm water.
5) your filling should be hot and ready to serve! spoon into tacos, add toppings and sauce. serve immediately.
i am so much in love with these tacos. lentils always make me feel great (not greasy) and full of energy… and i can’t believe how much these taste like a typical ground beef mixture! i often like to eat the leftover mixture as a taco salad of sorts– so good & guaranteed to please the staunchest carnivore.
ps. sunday cookin’: ukranian borscht (september 2014).