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Lentil Tacos with Onion Jalapeño Salsa

Lentil Tacos with Onion Jalapeño Salsa

This was one of those meals that just worked. It came out of nowhere, mainly out of necessity and the need to use up more of those doggone green onions.

These are some meaty tacos. Meatless meaty tacos. Somehow, Taylor managed to make lentils taste like ground beef. The simple addition of some smoked paprika (maybe one of our favorite and most used spices of all time) and a dried ancho chili turned lentils into a delicious taco that even the most ardent carnivore would devour. Even Taylor ate these without commenting that they’d be better with meat of one kind or another.

The salsa on top may seem incomplete (and to be honest, we totally forgot to buy a tomato for it, that was our original intention), but the result is a bright and refreshing salsa with just enough crunch and spice to complement the lentils perfectly. You could add a tomato if you want, but it’s totally not necessary.

Make the effort to find French green lentils if you can; they hold their shape much better than the standard brown lentils, not nearly as mushy. But if you can’t, that’s ok, you won’t be missing out on any of the flavor. Just adjust the cook time accordingly.

More often than not, we follow recipes. Or mostly follow recipes. But sometimes, like for this dish, we just wing it. Pull out a bunch of random ingredients and turn them into something delicious. And to to be honest, those are the nights we enjoy the most in the kitchen. We just have to remember to write it down, or at least post it before we forget what we did.

Lentil Tacos with Onion Jalapeño Salsa

Makes 8 tacos.


1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup garlic scapes, thinly sliced, or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup french green lentils
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 dried ancho chili, finely chopped
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

8 whole wheat flour tortillas, warmed
1 cup lettuce, torn into small pieces or sliced into strips
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)


For salsa, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and toss to coat. Set aside.

Rinse lentils with cold water and sift through, making sure there are no small stones mixed in. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add lentils, and cook for 20 minutes or until tender but still slightly al-dente. Drain.

Heat a few splashes of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and chili and cook until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lentils and paprika and cook until coated and heated through.

Spoon lentil mixture onto warmed tortillas. Top with salsa, lettuce, and mozzarella cheese.

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15 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On July 10, 2010 at 9:55 am

    As a vegetarian I’m totally freaking over the idea of a lentil taco. WHY have I not done this before? Looks ‘lish!


  2. 2
    Posted On July 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

    I recently discovered lentils at the farmers’ market and I don’t know many recipes other than soup for them. I’ll be trying this recipe soon! Sounds delish!


  3. 3
    Posted On July 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    What a great idea, they sound wonderful:) Like your site…


  4. 4
    Posted On July 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    these look really delicious! I love that you used lentils instead of something like black beans or kidney beans its very creative.


  5. 5
    Posted On July 10, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I love the meatiness of this lentil filling! Sure to please both vegetarians and omnivores!


  6. 6
    Posted On July 10, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Wow, what an awesome idea! I’m not a vegetarian, but I really want to try these. I need to invite some veggie friends over and get on this!! :)


  7. 7
    Posted On July 12, 2010 at 8:09 am

    This is kind of random because it’s not related to this post (although these tacos look so good), but anyway: I’ve been reading your blog for a long time without commenting, and have saved many of your recipes in my “To Make” folder. Somehow I never got to any of them – until this weekend. I made your chocolate-banana cupcakes, and they were hands-down the best chocolate cupcakes of any kind I’ve ever made. And I’m a chef who worked at a bakery for long, so I’ve made LOTS of cupcakes. Thanks so much for the great recipe, and I’m looking forward to working my way through the rest of your cupcake recipes :)


  8. 8
    Posted On July 12, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Yayyy, veg tacos! These look great!


  9. 9
    Posted On July 13, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Interesting new take on a taco! The lentils and salsa sound absolutely delicious.


  10. 10
    Posted On July 13, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for a great vegetarian dinner idea! I love that the lentils taste like beef!


  11. 11
    Posted On July 15, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I’m totally intrigued by this recipe. Usually I don’t like things masquerading as meat but I really love lentils and the preparation sounds awesome. Very creative!


  12. 12
    Posted On July 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I gotta say – I love my meat and am always skeptical of things that claim to be “like meat.” Made this, ate it and loved it! Very filling! Thanks for the recipe.


  13. 13
    Posted On July 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    This might sound weird but I’d totally relieve you of some green onions.


  14. 14
    Posted On August 14, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    I scooped this recipe when you posted it. I finally got to make it about 30 days later. It was freaking fantastic.

    We only made one alteration. We used cilantro rather than lettuce. It was grand.


  15. 15
    Posted On March 28, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I don’t think I cooked my lentils long enough. Also I am not the worlds finest of choppers… but the recipe is YUMMY. Thanks for inspiring my dinner tonight (and leftovers through out the week!)



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