Taco Greetings! Today I bring you a super fast and super yummy pantry-friendly lentil taco filling.
This filling can be made pretty quickly on the stove top, but it’s super simple and licket-y split fast in the good ol’ Instant Pot — especially if you use a pre-made taco seasoning. I like the one from Frontier as I can find it easily in bulk here in Portland, and it tastes a lot like the taco seasoning my mom made me growing up. If you can’t find it, you can use whatever taco seasoning you like, just make sure it contains a little corn flour or thickener, so your filling is not soupy.
Beluga (black) lentils work great as a taco “meat,” since they have a firm, but tender texture when cooked. They’re also a great non-soy source of protein. There’s nothing at all wrong with soy, but I enjoy switching up protein options since most gluten-free vegan meat is soy based.
You can use this lentil filling anywhere you’d use traditional taco meat, although I especially enjoy it on a big assed taco salad. :))
Super easy lentil taco filling made in the Instant Pot. Lots of vegan, gluten free protein without soy!
The taco salad pictured above was made with romaine lettuce, red and orange bell peppers, homemade dill pickle cheese (sans pickle relish), Forager unsweetened yogurt, avocado, tomato, green onions, and a good squeeze of lime juice. Any of our homemade cheese would be great on top–especially our Life Changing Nacho Sauce, plus Julie will be sharing a special taco flavored cheese recipe later this week!
Quick Instant Pot Lentil Taco Filling
These lentils are super quick in the Instant Pot, but can also be made quite easily on the stove top.
Use pre-made taco seasoning to save time!
Pick over the lentils and remove any visible debris or foreign objects and quickly rinse and drain. Add them to the Instant Pot with the water. Cover, lock the lid of the pressure cooker, close the vent, and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Let the Instant Pot release steam naturally for 5 minutes and if the Instant Pot is still under pressure, carefully, quick-release the lentils. They should be tender, but still chewy. Transfer the lentils and the remaining liquid to a bowl and set aside.
Press the saute setting on the Instant Pot, and let it get hot. Add the olive oil, onion and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for another minute, stirring frequently to prevent the garlic from burning.
Add the reserved lentils and cooking liquid and stir to incorporate. Add the taco seasoning and stir. If the lentils seem dry, add just enough water to make them saucy, about 1/4-1/2 cup (the taco seasoning contains corn flour, which will thicken the sauce).
Season to taste with salt and enjoy!
To save time, prep the onion (and the rest of your salad, if making) while the lentils are cooking.
If you're making these on the stove-top, just follow the recipe as written but put the water and lentils into a medium saucepan and cook until tender, but firm, about 8-10 minutes. If you have a lot of water left after the lentils are cooked, drain a bit off before mixing with the taco seasoning (you can always add more in if you need it saucier).
We hope these lentils become a staple at your house! Tag #julieandkittee if you make any of our recipes! <3
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xo Julie & Kittee