Tacos are the world’s best food. That’s how we feel in my house, anyway. Tacos are just so versatile and easy. You can put practically anything in a tortilla and call it a taco! We use all sorts of different things like mushrooms, squash, potatoes, veggies, and all different types of beans. This one, using red lentils, is a staple for us. It’s super easy and is reminiscent of ground taco meat, like the kind we used to have back when we ate like crap and fried our tortillas (did I just say that?).
Of course, you can make tacos with the fake taco meat sold in stores, but that stuff is highly processed and has a ton of fat and oil. I’d much rather use healthy, fiber-rich filling and save my fat for avocado and Sour Un-Cream. I use my own, homemade taco seasoning but you can use store-bought if you’d like. For me, most of them are too spicy, salty and many have MSG. See below for my recipe. Also, see in Recipe Notes for slow cooker directions.
2 TBS chili powder, 2 TBS cumin, 1 TBS smoked paprika, 1 TBS sea salt, 1/2 TBS onion powder, 1/2 TBS garlic powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne. Shake everything up in a small jar and use whenever you make Taco “Meat”.
I needed something to eat for lunch and the red lentils in the pantry got my attention. I literally threw these ingredients together without a plan, and was SO happy with the result. It’s hard to believe something this easy could be so flavorful. It was so good in fact that I included the dish in an Indian themed feast I cooked this past weekend. It was a big hit along with the Indian Spiced Cabbage, Roasted Aloo (potatoes), brown basmati rice and whole wheat flat bread.
Red lentils are great because in addition to being extremely healthy and low-fat, they are quick-cooking. They can be used in sauces to add fiber and protein, or as the main ingredient along with a few others such as the recipe here. Unlike brown/green lentils they break down easily, blending in with whatever else is in the dish. They also end up being more yellow in color, even though they are called red and start out more of an orange color. At 140 calories per cup (dry), 0 grams of fat, 7 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein, red lentils are a great addition to the diet.
In this dish I used two different types of curry powder, but you don’t have to. Regular curry is the yellow/orange version you see in most stores. Different brands can taste different from each other, with some more mild than others. Madras curry is another type that is similar to regular but with more spice. Berbere curry is an Ethiopian version, that has a smokier scent/flavor and is much spicier than the others. Feel free to use whatever variety you have on hand, or a combination like I’ve done here. The measurements I used result in a mild dish. As I’ve said before, I’m a spice wimp.
Why are they called red lentils when they are pink, and become yellow once cooked? Weird. All I know is they make an amazing soup! Unlike other types of lentils, these cook and break down quickly, and end up soft, almost as if they have been pureed. The first few times I made this soup it was on the stove, but recently I used the crock pot and it was even better. There really is something to slow cooking, allowing the flavors to build and grow. Either way, it’s an easy, delicious meal, any time of year. One of our favorites!!