Spicy Black Lentil Tacos with Ancho Crema

These tacos are very delicious and flavorful!   They have just the right mix of spiciness and seasoning.
 I use to make tacos with textured vegetable protein but I quit eating soy quite some time ago.  Lately, I have been missing tacos and my craving for them has grown.
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 I wanted to create a taco seasoning for Robby because he makes turkey tacos for himself quite often.  I was determined to develop a taco seasoning that he would like in hopes to get him to stop using the store bought seasoning packets.  I worked out a recipe that I was happy with and then I forced him to try it.  He was very hesitant at first but he finally gave it a try and said that it was way better!  Yayyy, mission accomplished!!!   The funny thing is, I wasn’t aware of the fact that Cinco de Mayo was just around the corner.  I realized that it was fast approaching when I started seeing other bloggers post their taco recipes.  So, here is my addition to the long list!
Here are some other great vegetarian taco recipes!  This one – The Forest Feast, this one – Half Baked Harvest, this one – The Artful Desperado, this one – Dolly and Oatmeal, this one – Nutritionally Stripped and this one – Heather Christo.
Obviously, a crisp cold Mexican beer goes great with these, but I love them with a red or white Rioja.
 Recipe:
Serves 4 – 6
  • 1 Cup Black Lentils
  • 5 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 1 Large Tomato – grated or 2/3 Cup Strained Tomatoes
  • 1 Teaspoon Ancho Powder –  ancho pepper ground in coffee grinder
  • 2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoons Cumin
  • 1  Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  Garlic  Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  Onion  Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne (optional)
  • 12 Corn Tortillas or Taco Shells (I used sprouted corn tortillas)
Toppings
  • 1 1/2 Cups Red Cabbage – thinly sliced – or to taste
  • 1 – 2 Roasted Poblano – diced or sliced into thin strips
  • 1 – 2 Tomato – diced – or to taste
  • 1 Cup Cilantro Micro Sprouts or Fresh Cilantro – or to taste
  • 1 Cup Jack Cheese – optional – or to taste
  • 1 Cup Ancho Crema, Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche – 1 teaspoon ancho powder per cup – or to taste (optional)
Other topping ideas
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Fresh Corn
  • Lime Juice
Instructions:
Lentils

Measure lentils, sort for any rocks and rinse.  Add the water to the lentils, turn up heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for about 15 – 20 minutes or until lentils are soft, yet still firm.  Strain and set aside.

Roasted peppers

Roast the peppers on the stovetop on medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Ancho powder

Remove the stem and seeds from the ancho pepper, tear into small pieces and grind into a power in a coffee grinder.  Set aside.

Lentil taco meat

Dice the onion and add to a straight sided pan, along with the olive oil.  Sauté on medium-low heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until slightly golden.  Cut the tomato in half. then grate the tomato cut side down and add to onions (if using tomato sauce, add it in place of the grated tomatoes).  Turn stove to low and cook for 10 minutes (if it becomes dry, add a bit of olive oil).  Add the salt, ancho powder and all the spices, mix well and add the lentils.  Cook for another 10 – 15 minutes to incorporate all the flavors.  It’s even better the next day.

Assemble

You can either heat the tortillas in some olive oil in cast iron skillet until soft or you can wet them with water and heat them in a 350 degree pre-heated oven (drape them over 2 bars on the middle rack, they will be stiff at first but will drape down into a u shape after they heat up).  Bake for 5 – 10 minutes until desired crispiness.  Serve everything in separate bowls and let everyone assemble thier own tacos.

Vegetarian-Black-Lentils-Tacos

Health Benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health.  They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.  They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth.

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