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Savory Lentil & Black Bean Tacos


You might not believe this, but before I turned vegan, I had never eaten a lentil in my entire life. (FYI, that's 60 years of lentil-free living!) And in my mind, black beans were just a garnish for sprinkling on top of cheesy-chicken nachos! So it took a full four months after vegan-transition for me to say, "Ok, lentils and legumes, bring it!"


To be honest, I've become a real fan of canned Italian lentils - and I mean BIG-TIME! These delicious little babies, disguised as a healthy ground beef substitute, really pick up seasoning flavors like nobody's business. And can we talk about texture for a moment? When loaded into a hard-shell taco with black beans and all the seasonings, no one in my family knew they were eating lentils instead of ground beef. Go figure!


So I've concocted this very simple (and very delicious) recipe to enjoy on your Taco Tuesdays. I hope you love it!


Ingredients:


- 1 Package organic hard-shell tacos (I like the Garden of Eatin' brand)

- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or water) - vegetable broth adds more flavor!

- 1 can Italian lentils, drained and rinsed (brown lentils work too)

- 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed

- 1 packet of store-bought taco seasoning (or make your own with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne)

- 1/2 cup chunky salsa

- 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced

- 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped into small wedges for taco topping

- 1 large, ripe avocado, sliced as taco topping

- Extra salsa for taco topping

- Lime juice (fresh or from concentrate)


Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place 10 hard taco shells in a covered Pyrex bowl and place bowl in oven to warm while preparing taco filling.

  2. In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, add vegetable broth, lentils and black beans. Heat until broth is simmering gently.

  3. Mix in taco seasoning and toss to coat lentils and beans well; then add salsa and diced onions, and mix well.

  4. Heat mixture at a gentle simmer, stirring often, over low heat for 5 minutes. If it sticks to pan or seems dry, add a little more vegetable broth or water, and heat for another minute or two until hot.

  5. Turn off stove and remove taco shells from oven.

  6. Spoon 3 heaping tablespoons of mixture into each taco shell.

  7. Spoon 1 Tbsp salsa over lentil-bean filling inside each taco.

  8. Add diced tomatoes and avocado slices to each taco.

  9. Drizzle some lime juice over avocados in each taco.

  10. Serve with a side of seasoned Mexican brown rice or vegan refried beans and enjoy!

Notes: If desired, add a sprinkling of vegan cheddar cheese shreds over lentil-bean filling before adding additional toppings.


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