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Lentil Walnut Taco Bowl

Looking for a plant-based way to enjoy the flavors of tacos? Try this Lentil Walnut Taco Bowl

I recently had a taco salad at one of my favorite vegan spots in Miami (hi Love Life Cafe!) and had to try to recreate the lentil walnut taco "meat". Lentils are cheap, easy to prepare, loaded with protein and so versatile - they are perfect to recreate a ground meat stand-in. Most lentil "meat" recipes I've seen leave the lentils whole, which I don't think makes it taste much like a meat substitute. I switched it up by blending up a portion of the lentil mixture then mixing it back in and this did the trick!

I think it's even better heated up the next day and any extra Cilantro Lime Crema you have works great as a salad dressing.


  • 1 C green lentils

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

  • 1 C walnuts

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 tbsp chili powder

  • 2 tbsp cumin

  • 2 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1-1.5 C veg broth

  • to serve: romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cooked quinoa (or other grain of choice), avocado, hemp seeds for garnish

For the Cilantro Lime Crema

  • 1 C cashews

  • juice of 1 lime

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp paprika

  • 3/4 C water

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • handful fresh cilantro


  1. Boil some water and cover cashews in a bowl (I cover it with a plate so it keeps the heat in), soak for 1 hour then add to blender with all other crema ingredients and blend until smooth (by the time you prepare the rest of the food, the cashews should be ready)

  2. Add lentils to medium saucepan with 2 C water and a big pinch of salt, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 25 min until tender, drain if liquid remains and set aside

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

  4. Transfer walnuts to blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped (but not so fine it's made into walnut butter), transfer to bowl and set aside - could also chop finely with a sharp knife

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

  6. add in walnuts, cooked lentils, and 1 C broth, stir to combine and cook for 2-3 min

  7. Carefully transfer 1/3-1/2 of the lentil mixture to the blender, blend for 10 second or so, leaving it chunky not pureed, transfer back to pan and stir to combine, adding more broth if necessary

  8. add to bowl with chopped romaine, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, avocado, top with crema and hemp seeds


Xx, Kara

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