200. taco salad.

This is not just a post about taco salad. Its actually about the lentil meat I made for it. But calling a blog post “lentil meat” sounds kind ofwierd, so I called it taco salad….

Since we moved, our whole foods isn’t convieniently located near us, and it isn’t necessarily INconvieninetly located either. Its just that there are plenty other options that are closer – so whole foods seems to be the last place on my list. So that means items like store bought seitan and vegan cheese are not as plentiful these days in our house, which is actually ok by me. The amount of produce we by on a weekly basis is much more the way I’d like to be working these days – so I’ve been trying to find ways to either make the seitan myself, or make something like what I made here today.

A while back I saw this post on making lentil taco meat. I pinned it and it has been on my to do list for some time now. I finally got around to making it and it did NOT disapoint.  I loved how I was able to combine some vegetables with it and you don’t really even know it! Extra healthy. It was kind of like taco flavored beans in the end. Texture was great and it blended well with the taco salad.

Heres how you do it:

1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped (any color)
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 ribs of celery, sliced
1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
(of course you can add other vegetables or leave some of these out – just use what you have on hand…also you can add some jalapeno if you want to add spice)

Heat 1/4 cup water in a large skillet. Saute onion for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bell pepper, and cook for another 3 minutes. If the pan starts to dry up and the contents start sticking, add a tablespoon or two more of water. Add in the lentils, carrots, celery, (or any other veggies at this point) chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture starts drying out, add 1/4 cup water or broth.

Stir in tomato paste and lime juice. Transfer to food processor or blender and pulse a few times, until a crumbly texture is achieved–do not puree. Serve hot.

I served mine with romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, baked corn tortillas, grilled corn and cilantro. Used some salsa as my dressing and it was delicious!