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Crispy Taco Bites with Avocado Cilantro Dip

Want all the flavors of your favorite Mexican dish in a bite-sized appetizer? Try these Crispy Taco Bites with Avocado Cilantro Dip



This was my first time using wonton wrappers and let me tell you, it couldn't be easier! Just fill them up, fold them over, press the edges, and bake! There are fancier ways to fold them but the triangles allow for the most filling and that's the best part. For this recipe, I used leftover taco "meat" from my Lentil Walnut Taco Bowl - if you used the whole batch of taco meat for this recipe you would have a LOT of taco bites since each one only uses about 1-2 tsp of filling. If you are making them for a party, this is perfect but for 2-4 people, you only need about 1 C of filling per 20 taco bites. For this reason, I halved the Lentil Walnut Taco recipe, which still leaves some extra to eat on it's own. I used Nasoya brand wonton wrappers but any brand works!


These wonton wrappers would work with other fillings as well (I want to try them next with a chickpea curry filling), but I especially loved them with the protein-rich lentil mix. If lentils aren't already a staple in your diet, I highly encourage you to give them a try. When going plant-based or adding more plant foods to your meals, I find it helps people to make plant-based versions of their favorite meat-based dishes so you still experience the same flavors. Taco meat is a perfect example of something that can be easily swapped out for lentils - use the same taco spices and toppings like avocado and cilantro and you're good to go!


pictured: green and red lentils

Notable Nutrients - Lentils


Per 100 g (1/2 C) (1)


  • protein - 13 g

  • fiber - 8 g

  • iron - 3 mg (38% DV)

  • potassium - 550 mg (16% DV)

  • zinc - 2 mg (13% DV)

  • folate - 180 mcg (45% DV)



The Avocado Cilantro Dip is perfectly creamy and bright. The fresh japaleño doesn't add a huge kick so add in some chili or cayenne if you want a stronger taste. I actually used lemon juice when I put this together - I had planned to use limes but my grocery store was out (that's what I get for going the day after Cinco de Mayo). I would have preferred lime but lemon tasted amazing too! In general, you can sub lemon/lime for each other 1:1 for most recipes. Lemons provide about 3 tbsp of juice each while limes are about 2 tbsp - I needed about 6 tbsp of liquid for the dip so I used two lemons, if you use limes use three. Tip to get the most juice from lemons/limes - roll them on the kitchen counter while pressing down with the base of your palm, this helps to release more juice (especially useful with limes which tend to be less juicy than lemons).


Ingredients


  • 1 package wonton wrappers

  • 1/2 C green lentils

  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)

  • 1/2 C walnuts

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp chili powder

  • 1 tbsp cumin

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 3/4 C veg broth



For the Avocado Cilantro Dip


  • 1 avocado

  • 1 handful cilantro (stems and leaves)

  • juice of 3 limes (or 2 lemons if you don't have limes) - about 6 tbsp

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 C water

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 jalapeño, halved and seeded

  • 1/4 tsp cumin




Method


  1. add lentils to medium saucepan with 1.5 C water and pinch of salt, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 25 min until tender, drain if liquid remains and set aside

  2. heat large pan over medium heat and add walnuts, cook until they turn brown and fragrant, shaking frequently so they don't burn

  3. transfer walnuts to blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped (but not so fine it turns into walnut butter), transfer to bowl and set side (can also chop finely with sharp knife)

  4. heat olive oil in pan on medium heat, add onion and pinch of salt, cook for 3 min, add in garlic, tomato paste, and spices and cook for another 2 min until fragrant

  5. add in walnuts, cooked lentils, broth and stir to combine, cook for 2-3 min

  6. carefully transfer 1/3 of the lentil mixture to the blender or food processor used for the walnuts, blend for a few seconds, leaving it chunky not pureed, transfer back to pan and stir to combine - let cool (if it's hot it will make the wonton wrapper sticky and harder to work with)

  7. preheat oven to 400F

  8. put water in a small bowl, wet finger and run it along two sides of the wonton wrapper (see photos below for these steps)

  9. place a small spoonful of the taco filling (about 1 tsp, you don't want to overfill) in the center

  10. fold over the other side of the wonton wrapper and press it into the wet edges so it sticks

  11. gently press a fork into the folded edges

  12. assemble as many taco bites as you'd like*

  13. bake taco bites for 12-14 min until golden brown

  14. while taco bites are baking, rinse food processor or blender and add all of the dip ingredients and blend until smooth


* TIP: you can use any extra wonton wrappers to make chips (cut wrappers in half, rub a little water on each, sprinkle with salt and any seasonings - cumin or chili for savory chips or cinnamon and coconut sugar for something sweet) and bake for 8ish min until they get as crispy as you want - I went the sweet route and they were delicious!




Tag me @nutrimsa if you recreate this recipe, I'd love to see!


Xx, Kara



Sources


(1) Ganesan K, Xu B. Polyphenol-Rich Lentils and Their Health Promoting Effects.Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(11):2390. Published 2017 Nov 10. doi:10.3390/ijms18112390

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