Monday, June 2, 2014

Lentil and Veggie Taco and Burrito Filling

This weekend I was so excited to try a new Vegetarian Times recipe for Super Veggie Lentil Taco "Meat."  The name, itself sounded so encouraging: veggies, lentils, super- I'm in!

Although the idea of using lentils as taco filling, and the veggie mix listed in the recipe were both awesome, I knew the minute I got into the kitchen that I was going to completely ignore the method suggested by the recipe.  As written, the recipe would have been mush, vegetables boiled for half an hour in water together with lentils- then pulsed in the food processor?  No way!  Since I was throwing the directions out the window, I tossed out some of the ingredients, as well, choosing to infuse the lentils with my husband's favorite taco seasoning mix, instead of the recommended spices.  The result was the super yummy the original recipe promised.

This filling would work great in tacos- we used it in burritos, assembled with salsa, low fat cheese, and our signature Greek yogurt sauce for a protein packed, delicious lunch.  It's fantastic to have the veggies already cooked into the filling, and with this method you can still enjoy the texture, taste, and color of the veggies.

Lentil and Veggie Taco and Burrito Filling 

1 cup dry lentils
1 package taco seasoning

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ large red bell pepper, chopped
5 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/4 C tomato puree (or 1/2 C canned diced tomatoes or 1 fresh tomato, diced)
salt if needed

1. Cook the taco flavor right into the lentils!

I pressure cooked 1 C lentils with 1 3/4 C water and the contents of our favorite taco seasoning packet for 19 minutes.

If you don't use a pressure cooker, you can combine 1 C lentils with 2 C of water.  Bring the water to a boil.  Lower the heat and add the seasoning.  Then simmer for 30-45 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

2. Sauté the veggies.

I prefer to sauté with the lid off for the first minute or two, then cover with a lid for the remaining time.  Don't forget to lift the lid and stir from time to time.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté all the vegetables except mushrooms together in a large wok for about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes.

3. Finishing touches.

Add cooked lentils and tomatoes of your choice to vegetables and cook another 3-5 minutes, uncovered.

The packet of taco seasoning probably already has enough salt for the dish.  If not, add a little more to taste.

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