When you make tacos, do you take the time to methodically assemble a perfect concoction with just the right ratio of ingredients carefully placed in each taco shell?
Or do you favor my daughter’s approach and simply mash all your ingredients together in one big pile on your plate and dig in?
While I pride myself on my ability to not only assemble the perfect taco but to also delicately consume the masterpiece without dropping chunks on my plate – okay, I might be stretching the truth a bit – I do value the convenience and sensibility of a good taco salad.
This lentil taco salad recipe uses protein packed lentils in the place of meat and crispy strips of corn tortillas instead of taco shells.
Lentil Taco “Meat”
The lentil taco “meat” is prepared in a rice cooker – so it requires very little attention, other than an occasional stir…
- 1 cup brown or green lentils
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 1 tbs dried parsley
- 1 tbs taco seasoning (or more to taste)
- 2⅔ cups water
- Rinse and sort lentils and then place in rice cooker.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix.
- Close lid and cook on white rice setting.
- Midway through cooking (after about 20 minutes) carefully open lid and stir ingredients a few times with a long handled wooden spoon. (Avoid coming into contact with escaping steam.)
- Close lid and continue cooking.
- When the cooking cycle ends, open the lid and stir ingredients a few times and then close and let sit for 10 minutes on the keep-warm setting.
- Carefully transfer ingredients from rice cooker to a large bowl.
- Partially blend the mixture with 3-4 bursts of an immersion blender or place 1-2 cups in a blender or food processor, mix then return to the bowl and stir.
- Use in the place of meat in tacos, salads, burritos and more!
Crispy Corn Tortilla Strips
A pizza screen offers an easy way to make tortilla strips in your toaster oven – without any added oil!
- 2 corn tortillas
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- ½ tbs taco seasoning
- Stack tortillas and cut in half with a sharp knife or pizza cutter, then cut each half into ¼ inch strips.
- Place strips in a one-gallon plastic bag, drizzle with lime juice and shake in bag to distribute moisture evenly.
- Add taco seasoning to bag and shake until tortilla strips are coated evenly.
- Arrange tortilla strips in a single layer on a pizza screen and place in toaster oven.
- Toast on the darker side of medium for approximately 3 ½ minutes.
- Enjoy as a snack or as a soup or salad topping.
Lentil Taco Salad
Making this lentil taco salad is a breeze once you have the lentil taco “meat” and corn tortilla strips prepared!
Perfect for lunch or dinner – enjoy the colorful combination of:
- A healthy bed of dark leafy greens
- Spicy lentils
- Crunchy veggies
- Creamy guacomole
- Salty black olives
topped with crispy corn tortilla strips and a kick of taco sauce.
- ⅔ cups lentil taco “meat” (see recipe above)
- 1 ½ cups packed baby romaine, chopped
- 1 tbs chopped red onion
- ¼ cup chopped orange or yellow bell pepper
- 5 grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 tbs sliced black olives
- ¼ avocado, mashed
- ½ tbs salsa (I like Chi Chi’s mild)
- 1 handful of crispy corn tortilla strips (see recipe above)
- 1 tbs taco sauce (I like the Chi Chi’s brand)
- Stir ½ tbs of salsa into mashed avocado and set aside.
- Arrange baby romaine in a pasta bowl and top with lentil taco “meat.”
- Add chopped onion, pepper, tomato, black olives and top with mashed avocado mixture.
- Sprinkle crispy corn tortillas on top, add a few shakes of taco sauce and enjoy!
Note: I do not include nutrition information with my recipes because I subscribe to the theories presented in the book Whole and believe we should focus on eating a variety of whole foods instead of counting calories or keeping track of individual nutrients.