When I was younger, taco salads were on the menu nearly every week. And nearly every week, I looked forward to diving into my carefully crafted, custom taco salad masterpiece.
A mountain of spicy ground beef, an avalanche of shredded cheese, and a pile of creamy guacamole…I think it’s clear why taco salad night in the Peduzzi household was pure heaven.
I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but taco salads are just a method of getting even more taco goodness in your mouth all at once. With salads, you’re not restricted by the physical limitations of those teeny tiny tortillas. You can go BIG with taco salads, piling heaping spoonfuls of taco filling ingredients on top of a healthy bed of lettuce.
However, throwing too much of anything on top of a healthy bed of lettuce kind of defeats the purpose of having a healthy salad, don’tchathink?!
Although my food preferences have changed quite a bit, taco salads can be, and still are, part of our weekly meal rotation. As a vegetarian, there are still times when I miss that warm, spiced taco meat that served as the essence of my beloved taco night.
Enter: Lentil Pecan Taco Meat.
This easy and healthy 8 ingredient vegan and gluten free meat alternative takes 20 minutes to make. It’s chewy, deliciously spiced, and such a crowd-pleaser, just like it’s meat-full alternative. A simple mixture of green lentils, pecans, and spices transforms some seemingly unrelated ingredients into one homogenous mixture that will leave you ooh-ing and ahh-ing with taco-induced bliss.
And the possibilities are totally endless. Want tacos? This Lentil Pecan Taco Meat will fit perfectly inside a cozy tortilla. Fancy some fajitas? Sautée up some veggies, boil some rice and beans, and go.to.town. Nacho lover? Mark swears by throwing this mixture on top of some corn tortillas with some cheese and salsa. Or, you could make the classic taco salad with me, topped with all the veggies you could possibly dream of. Um, yes please.
So, guess what your new favorite vegetarian meal is going to be? Answer: this Lentil Pecan Taco Meat. Taco-lovers, salad-lovers, and everything-in-between-lovers, we’ve got you covered. It’s taco time.Print
Lentil Pecan Taco Meat
- 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1/2 cup roasted pecan pieces*
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- a few (or more) dashes of your favorite hot sauce
- salt + pepper
- Cook lentils according to package instructions.
- Add hot lentils, pecan pieces, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, hot sauce, and salt + pepper to taste to your food processor and pulse until some of the lentils are broken down and the spices are mixed through. Process more/less if desired.
- Optional: Sautée your lentil taco meat in a small skillet with about 1 Tbsp. olive oil. The mixture gets hot and a little crispy this way – delicious!
- Serve on tacos, with fajitas, on nachos, or on top of a salad!
*If your pecans are whole, do not fret! Dump a handful in your food processor until small chunks remain. Measure out 1/2 cup for this recipe.
This recipe was adapted from Oh She Glows!
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