Makes 8 servings | Takes 60 mins

A perfect mid-week vegan recipe for the whole family! Toss in some vegetable soup and you’re all set!

Get ready to pack a ton of veggies into one irresistible, healthy meal! If you haven’t tried my lentil-walnut taco meat, this is a great recipe to do so. It’s high in protein and the taco seasonings and chewy texture create a realistic-tasting taco base. Feel free to use tortilla wraps or corn shells instead of lettuce wraps to change it up, or you can make this recipe into a big salad, too. You can save time by cooking the lentils and prepping the taco meat in advance (or simply, by using canned lentils).

Ingredients

Lentil-walnut taco meat filling:

  • 1 cup uncooked French green lentils (you will use 1 3/4 cups cooked lentils)*
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

Additional toppings:

  • Lettuce wraps (large romaine, iceberg, or butter lettuce leaves)
  • Cashew sour cream
  • Diced tomatoes or salsa
  • Green onion
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Other topping options: sliced avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, etc.

Directions

  1. Cook the lentils: Rinse lentils in a fine mesh sieve. Add to a medium pot along with a few cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender (cook time will vary depending on the type of lentils you use—see package). Drain off excess water.
  2. Toast the walnuts: Preheat oven to 300°F. Add walnuts onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 to 13 minutes, watching closely, until lightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Sauté the pepper and onion filling: Add ½ to 1 tablespoon of oil into a large skillet or wok. Cook the onion and peppers over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat if necessary and stirring frequently, until translucent.
  4. Prepare the taco meat: Add 1 ¾ cup of cooked lentils (you’ll have some leftover) and all the toasted walnuts into a food processor and pulse until chopped (make sure to leave texture). Stir or pulse in the oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt. Stir in the oil and the water until combined.
  5. Prepare the rest of your vegetable toppings and wash and dry the lettuce wraps.
  6. Assemble: Add a large lettuce leaf onto a plate, top with taco meat, sautéed peppers and onion, and the rest of your desired toppings.
  7. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in sealed containers to be enjoyed the next couple days. The cashew sour cream will keep for at least a week in the fridge. Use sour cream leftovers on sandwiches, wraps, stirred into salad dressings, on vegan nachos or with chili or soup.

Tips:

* To save time, you can use one can (15oz) of lentils (drained and rinsed) instead of cooking the lentils from scratch. When I have time, I love to cook French green lentils due to their chewy texture, but regular green and brown lentils will work too. Do not use red lentils as they are much too mushy and don’t have the required chewy texture for this recipe.

Make it nut-free: I haven’t tried this yet, but you could try subbing the walnuts for ½–¾ cup toasted pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds) and swapping the Cashew sour cream with vegan mayo (such as Veganaise).

Nutritional value (per serving): Calories 225; Carbs 20g; Fat 13g; Protein: 9g

More Inspiration: Here’s a few more tasty vegan recipes!

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