These tasty plant based tacos make for a perfect meal. Lentils are very fulfilling as they are packed with protein, dietary fiber, and complex carbohydrates as well as an array of vitamins and minerals. Having more plant based meals is associated with disease prevention for diabetes, heart disease and chronic kidney disease. So if you have never tried cooking with lentils this is the perfect recipe to get started.
It is recommend to consume 8 to 11 (1/2 cup) servings of fruits and vegetables per day to help with disease prevention and overall health. The majority of Americans typically do not meet this goal.
I used cauliflower and corn in the lentil taco filling adding a good dose of veggies to this recipe. You can also top your taco with veggies as well. My favorites are: shredded red cabbage and carrots for a nice crunchy topping.
Lentils are considered a plant based protein, even though they also contain a fair amount of complex carbohydrates. A ½ cup serving of lentils contains 8.9 grams of protein and 7.8 grams of dietary fiber. Adequate dietary fiber intake has been associated with better blood glucose control, improved cholesterol levels and improved bowel regularity.
Lentils are very inexpensive making for a healthful and budget friendly protein choice. I am sure you have heard the saying “shop the perimeter of the grocery store” to get the most nutritious foods. Well if this were true I would be missing out on lentils and beans, a very nutritious food staple in my general eating pattern!
For those with chronic kidney disease plant based proteins offer a benefit of having less absorbable phosphorous. Plant based proteins phosphorous is bound to phytate and humans do not have the enzyme phytase to break this down in your intestines. So a majority of the phosphorous passes through the stool which is very beneficial for those with kidney disease as too much phosphorous can be harmful.
Cooking with spices will help bring out flavor in your dish with no sodium and/or additives. I used a basic “taco seasoning” for this recipe.
Spices are very rich in antioxidants and even some vitamins and minerals. For example, chili powder and paprika are great sources of Vitamin A, and both of these spices were used in this seasoning mix.
A quick sauté of the spices, cauliflower, onions and lentils and then the water is added. Lentils take about 25 to 30 minutes to cook. For every 1 cup of lentils you need about 3 cups of liquid.
After the lentils are cooked I add in the corn and top with freshly chopped cilantro. This lentil mixture can be eaten on its own or as a taco filling as I have used it in this recipe.
I like to serve this dinner as a taco bar where each person can top their taco with the toppings of their choice.
Did you know that a squeeze of fresh lime will help enhance other flavors of the dish? Limes are also rich in ascorbic acid or vitamin C and pairing a plant based protein with vitamin C can help your body absorb iron more readily.
So make your next taco night a plant based taco night with this tasty lentil taco recipe. I am sure you will enjoy!
Lentil Tacos with Creamy Chili Lime Sauce
Author: Brittany Sparks
Makes: 9 Tacos
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Total Time: 45 min
*For those on potassium restricted diets talk with your dietitian on how to incorporate this dish into your eating plan.
9 Small Corn Tortillas (6 in in diameter)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup Lentils, Dry
2 Cups Cauliflower, Cut Into Small Florets
1 Medium Red Onion, Finely Diced *Reserve 2 Tbsp for Topping
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tsp Salt
3 Cups Water
½ Cup Corn
1 Tsp Cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp Water
Chili Lime Sauce
½ Cup Low Fat Sour Cream
1 Tsp Lime Zest
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Cilantro, Finely Chopped
½ Tsp Chili Powder
¼ Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Water
1/4th Tsp Salt
Diced Purple Onion
In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, lentils, cauliflower, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and salt. Sauté for 5 minutes then add the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and then reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through.
Mix 1 tsp of cornstarch with 1 tbsp of water and add to the lentil mixture. Then add in the corn and stir to combine. Cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce in the lentils begins to thicken.
To make the creamy chili lime sauce whisk all ingredients together until combined.
Top your taco with toppings of your choice and a dollop of the cream sauce and enjoy.