Friday, April 1, 2011

Southwest Lentils

I am not a huge fan of packaged meat substitutes, such as frozen veggie burgers or crumbles. Instead, I like to use other proteins, such as beans and legumes. An obvious choice for taco filling would be pinto or black beans, but I thought lentils would be equally delicious and a little bit different. Adjust the amounts of garlic, spices and peppers to your liking - I tend to like things pretty spicy myself.

I have a variety of chili powders in my spice cabinet. Some I bought from the Asian market and are meant for Thai, Chinese or Indian food, others for the more southwest or Mexican type of spicy. Use the southwest kind for this recipe (usually the chili powder you'd get at the grocery store is great). Mexican oregano is a little bit milder in flavor than Italian oregano - if you don't have it, any kind will do.

We ate these as tacos with blue corn tortillas, chopped red onion, fresh spinach, shredded cheese and plain yogurt. It made enough for about ten tacos. I can imagine there would be enough here for three or four burritos. Also try this in enchiladas, on top of nachos or baked potatoes, with Spanish rice or in a taco salad!

Southwest Lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1-3 jalapenos
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • olive oil
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized pot. Chop the onion, mince the garlic cloves. Remove the stems and ribs from the jalapeno and mince it. Add all of these to the pot and saute over medium heat for about five minutes. Add in the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano and stir to combine. Pour in the vegetable stock and cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Let the pot sit off the heat, without the lid, for a few minutes to allow more moisture to escape before using.


  1. They looks wonderful and inviting..

  2. This is a great vegetarian option for tacos. I love the versatility of lentils, and this recipe simply highlights the many ways lentils can be incorporated.

  3. I'm always looking for new ideas with lentils -this looks great!