May 3, 2011

Ancho Lentil Tacos

by IsaChandra

Serves 4
Active time: 20 minutes || Total time: 20 minutes

It’s no secret that I love to use lentils in place of ground meat. Sloppy Joes, shepherd’s pie, burgers…nothing is safe. Especially tacos!

But before I delve into the particulars of this recipe, lets talk a little more generally. This method for “ground meat” can be used in a variety of ways with a little spice switcheroo. Swap out the taco flavors and go Italian (thyme, basil, fresh black pepper) for a meat that would be great in a Bolognese. Add some Sauerkraut to make a great filling for pierogis or Runzas. So really, anywhere that ground meat would be appropriate, you can sneak these lentils in. Got a favorite Hamburger Helper™  type recipe? Lentils to the rescue instead!

Now on to the taco filling. Ancho chile is dried poblano, and I love to use it straight up (as opposed to a mixed chili powder) for its deep, fruity, naturally smoky flavor. You can use regular old chili powder here, but pick up ground Ancho chili sometime and see if you don’t love it.

The filling is not too spicy, but it does have a little kick from the hot sauce (Cholula is my choice for Mexican inspired foods.) A few squirts of tomato paste provides moisture and binding and really helps to lend a convincing meaty texture. The idea here is to mash the lentils until they hold together, adding splashes of water along the way to keep it juicy.

I like to serve it with cooling ingredients; cilantro for bright freshness, lime for tanginess, avocado (or guacamole) for creaminess and of course some fresh salsa. I’m not really a soy sour cream or cheese person, and here I really don’t find it necessary, but as always, I can’t stop you! For total perfection, grill the tortillas to serve.

Brown lentils have the best color in this recipe but green lentils would work just fine, too. I always whip up a batch of lentils to have on hand, and you should, too. One cup of cooked lentils make about 2 1/2 cups. Just rinse them then bring to a boil in a small covered pot with a big pinch of salt in plenty of water. Lower heat and simmer until tender, then drain. Lentils are so very easy!

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from about 1 cup dried)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons hot sauce (preferably Cholula)

Spice mix:
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt

First combine all of the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside. Also, keep a cup of water within reach, you’ll need to add splashes as you cook.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add spices and toss them for 30 seconds or so to toast.

Lower heat to medium, add lentils, a few splashes of water, tomato paste and hot sauce; use a spatula to mash them a bit as they cook, until they hold together. If your spatula isn’t strong enough to accomplish this, just use a fork. Do this for about 5 minutes, adding splashes of water as necessary if it appears dry. Taste for salt and seasoning; you may want to add more spices or hot sauce. And that’s it, time to serve!



  • May 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm: VegWhoHatesTofu

    Yum! I love lentil tacos! And what’s better is my hubby loves them too! He eats meat but lentil tacos are one of his favs & he says he likes it better then beef tacos, so needless to say lentil tacos are on the weekly rotation at our house. I only cook vegan at home now so anything my husband likes better then meat is a winner! I usually just mix the lentils with a packet of taco mix but this recipe looks easy and delicious, can’t wait to try!

  • May 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm: PeaSoup

    love, love, love this – my tummy is actually growling. Gonna make these this week:) Wish I could buy Cholula sauce here:(

  • May 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm: Catalina

    I love ancho and find excuses to put it in everything.

  • May 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm: Frau Springinsfeld

    Oh, I just got a batch of your olive lentil burgers out of the oven and enjoyed them with rice and tomato sauce (I made them with Vindaloo mix, today). Now, you make me want to have lentils, tomorrow, again.
    Hopefully, I can find the ingredients here in Germany. I probably can find a nice hot sauce from a different brand, but I am not sure about the dried poblano.

  • May 4, 2011 at 12:06 am: Katie Rose

    Your cookbooks have revolutionized lentils for me. I regularly enjoy the mjadra and snobby joe recipes in Vcon, and now I will be adding these tacos to my rotation!

  • May 4, 2011 at 12:15 am: Sneaky Vegan

    Love Love LOVE lentils! Have actually seen “lentil bolognese” as a vegan alternative at an Irish pub. Can’t decide which was cooler: that lentils could sub for my beloved Bolognese or that an Irish pub actually had vegan menu items…

    Whatev. This looks delish!

  • May 4, 2011 at 2:05 am: FoodFeud

    Make sure yr boy doesn’t see you use Cholupa! (I love the stuff too). Yum, I’ve got an avocado calling.

  • May 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm: Frau Springinsfeld

    I guess, I am not the only German reader, here. So, in case you can’t find poblano, either: apparently the pepper dolmalik you often find in Turkish supermarkets tastes similar to poblano. As I never tasted poblano this goes with no guarantee.

  • May 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm: Eco-Vegan Gal

    Always looking for more lentil ideas and this looks fantastic! I included your recipe in a gluten-free post: http://www.greenwala.com/profiles/eco-vegan-gal/blog/15576-Wheatless-Wednesday-5-Spring-Time-Recipes

  • May 5, 2011 at 3:55 am: Annelise Amante de la Vida

    I’m making these right now for my Latino husband and he cam downstairs to say, “WOW! That smells so great! What are you making?!” So I know it must be great if he’s already interested. Thanks!

  • May 5, 2011 at 9:35 am: Melissa

    Yum! Just finished our cinco de Mayo dinner – these were fab in sprouted tortillas with rice and black beans on the side. Thanks!

  • May 5, 2011 at 11:00 pm: StrawberryJane

    Did you mean to say “One cup *dry* lentils makes about 2 and a half cups” in the paragraph before the ingredient list? — As long as I’m posting a comment, I might as well say I’m digging the blog and have made your homemade seitan twice now, so thanks. This recipe, too, is calling my name!

  • May 6, 2011 at 1:17 am: Meister @ The Nervous Cook

    Crikey, I keep meaning to try lentil-filled tacos, and keep seeing such delicious-looking variations on the theme. Too bad Cinco de Mayo is already over and I missed my chance to rock ‘em tonight (opted for veggie burgers instead, and I can’t say I regret the decision), but heck, any night can be taco night, right??

    Thanks for this post—I’m finally inspired to stop drooling and actually make these things!

  • May 6, 2011 at 4:59 am: Kitchen

    Are there more than one type of lentils? I went to the bulk food store and saw a few different coloured ones and couldn’t decide. Thought I would check back here to see which ones I’m to buy. There were whiteish and reddish lentils?

    Thanks in advance,
    Tammy

    • May 6, 2011 at 5:00 am: IsaChandra

      I say right up there^ to get either brown or green!

  • May 6, 2011 at 12:02 pm: Christie

    Yum!!! Thank you for the great recipes! I love lentils too!!

  • May 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm: Angela

    Super easy and delicious. We garnished with tons o’ green cabbage, avocado, red onion and cilantro. We used Valentina hot sauce instead, but it was still amazing. And the lentils made for super photogenic little tacos. Okay, drooling now.

  • May 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm: Kelly from NJ

    I made these for cinco de mayo! yum!! Thanks for making my transition to veganism so easy. I couldn’t have done it (or have been inspired enough to do it) without you and all of your help!

    • May 9, 2011 at 12:13 am: IsaChandra

      That’s what I like to hear! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me that.

  • May 8, 2011 at 11:26 pm: Sam Wibatt

    Excellent recipe – comes together quick and tastes terrific. Many thanks!

  • May 9, 2011 at 12:48 am: michelle

    I completely have to say ditto on what Kelly said…..your cookbooks have made it so easy

    • May 9, 2011 at 3:58 am: IsaChandra

      Oh STOP!

      (go on…)

  • May 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm: Audrey

    We made these along with the Sour Cilantro Cream from the Veganomicon. Dessert: Margarita Cupcakes from VCTOTW! <3

  • May 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm: katie

    zomg! so freaking delicious!! yum yum yum. i’m trying to show some restraint and not eating the leftovers i’ve earmarked for lunch tomorrow right now…

    next time i’m totally doing fajitas w a bunch of grilled veg added into the mix.

    love you and all your inspiration!

  • May 12, 2011 at 2:48 am: Gretchen

    ISA you are the bomb. I have dozens of vegan cookbooks and would give them all away before I ever let go of veganomicon. I can always count on your recipes. So thankful for you! I teach a vegan cooking class in my community and am always plugging your cookbooks :) thanks for all u do, u were certainly meant for this.

  • May 16, 2011 at 2:20 am: Elizabeth

    I wonder if I can get my aunt to try these for tacos instead of using beef tongue or beef cheek. (I’m going veg; the rest of the family isn’t (of which I’ve got no problem with), but admit that they could stand to have a few more veggies in their diet – go figure.) I can’t wait to try it some time soon!

    PeaSoup – If you don’t have Cholula sauce in your area, try looking around for Tapitio. It’s also a mild, sweet hot sauce, and tastes very similar to Cholula, but it’s made with different chili’s so it has a slightly different flavor to it. I find it’s just a touch spicier then Cholula, and (to me) Tapitio /almost/ has a smokey taste to it when compared to Cholula. I hope this helps!

  • May 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm: RaisyDaisy

    I used Chipotle powder as I couldn’t find Ancho and used salsa instead of hot sauce, but these are awesome! My carnivorous family loved them too! Thanks for helping to make my transition from meat-eater to vegan so tasty! =D

  • May 26, 2011 at 6:07 am: amorfelino

    awesome recipe! just had this today for dinner with some blue corn tortillas, guacamole, fresh salsa and some cabbage (for the crunch factor)…loved it…cant wait for lunch tomorrow(left overs)…

    thanks again!

  • May 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm: Cara

    These are AMAZING! I have made them twice and they are quick to make and very delicious. A great introduction to ancho and Cholula for me. I’ve just passed the 5-month mark as a vegan and I have been relying on ALL of Isa’s cookbooks. Thanks for another great recipe that I will be putting into my regular rotation!

  • May 31, 2011 at 1:54 am: K

    Holy Smokes! These are FANTASTIC!!! I am so thankful for your contributions! This recipe will be a staple of mine for sure!!! I didn’t have enough ancho chili powder left, but even with half the amount, the lentil mix had great flavor and kick. I made a basic fresh salsa as a topping (2 chopped romas, 1/2 diced avacado, small handful cilantro, 1T diced red onion, squeeze of lemon, little salt), plus tofutti sour cream and shredded lettuce in a hard shell corn taco = Yum! Now, I can’t wait to try the variations you suggested! Who would have thought something so healthy could be sooooo tasty!!! Thank you!!

  • May 31, 2011 at 8:53 pm: Connie Fletcher

    I must say, that without you and your books (Vcon, Brunch) I could not have lasted as vegan, and now I’ve found this site!! I’m a happy camper!! Made the strawberry-rhubarb pie last night and am currently cooking off my lentils for tomorrow night’s meal of lentil tacos…yum!! thank you so much, I’m sure this is a lot of work, but without you i know I couldn’t have stuck it out, cuz I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do….THANK YOU.

  • June 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm: Kristin

    I am new to this vegan thing and needing help finding great recipes! This one sounds so good I’m on my way out to the store to get theingred! Thanks so much!

  • June 7, 2011 at 1:35 am: Connie Fletcher

    Kristin: Any recipe by this woman is worth making…..she is really gifted in the kitchen. All her books are must haves for any vegan. The last book An Appetite for Reduction has some of the most amazing salad dressing recipes! And they’re low fat!!
    Isa: What’s a nice girl from Brooklyn doing in Ohio? How on earth did that happen?

  • June 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm: Heather

    These were great! Made them tonight and have lots (yay!!!) of leftovers! Delicious!! Thanks Isa, you rock as usual!

  • June 8, 2011 at 8:32 am: iqr

    These are on the menu for the second time tonight. So quick and easy and just delicious. I can’t wait.

  • June 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm: athyene glaux

    Never liked lentils before, and never found Vegan recipes I really liked, but these are all really usable and tasty. I’m almost converted!

  • June 10, 2011 at 4:30 am: Elizabeth

    Awesome!! Even my meat-eating husband and bro-in-law liked them.

  • June 10, 2011 at 11:05 pm: Dominique

    This is an awesome recipe!! It was so good I cooked it two days in a row! It was a hit with my hubby and picky three year old! Threw it on top of some Garden of Eatin’ corn chips and they were great! Thanks for such a great recipe!

  • June 18, 2011 at 9:12 pm: Jai

    These quickly became a favourite in my household. I make this recipe once a week and they are always a hit.

  • June 21, 2011 at 12:29 am: kl!

    Made these this evening with green lentils instead of brown (green were the only available at the grocers). Although I over-cooked my lentils a little, oops (more like bean tacos than meaty ones, heehee)! Suggestion: with all that creaminess, texture-y stuff (I topped with avocado and a bit o’ cilantro plus lime and salsa on fresh tortillas), my roomie found some shredded cabbage does nice to add some crunch. Ancho chile powder is super supreme over the normal stuff, good call.

    Thanks Isa for adding to my vegan cooking repertoire, which includes the opportunity to expose omni friends to some fabulous cooking! Cheers.

  • July 14, 2011 at 7:13 am: not carlos

    Just finished a batch and loved it – however I actually measured the spices by the tablespoon as opposed to teaspoon and still felt as if there needed to be a little bit more. Lentils do a damn good job at soaking up flavor, but I see no complaints here. Maybe my pallet is a little desensitized by all the hot sauce I habitually consume.

  • July 20, 2011 at 9:14 am: Maree

    Mmm, I made these tonight and they were delish. I live in Australia, so can’t get ancho or cholula, but substituted some delicious yellow chillis and a fiery hot sauce. Fresh tomato salsa and a guacamole made this a brilliant dinner.
    Thanks for sharing!
    @mareelouise

  • August 2, 2011 at 6:27 am: Dynomysus

    This recipe is so delicious, I’m actually eating a bowl of it right now (just the lentils and nothing else) while I’m re-reading this recipe. For reals.

  • August 3, 2011 at 8:27 pm: Kate

    I love this recipe too much! I think that the BEST part is that it’s 5 Weight Watchers points per serving. Yep… I’m a vegan on Weight Watchers. But, Isa, you make it so yummy!

  • August 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm: Miles

    This recipe was fantastic. I’m pretty much an omnivore but I’ve grown up around vegetarians/vegans (my girlfriend is a vegetarian). I didn’t have the ancho chili so I just used regular chili powder and it still came out delicious. One suggestion I might make that worked really well: I minced a couple of mushrooms as small as possible and sauteed them with the onions and garlic. Really helped add to the faux meaty flavor/texture.

  • August 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm: Deanna

    Oh, lord this was amazing. Added 1/2 tsp chipotle powder for some smokey heat….best taco ever.

  • August 28, 2011 at 12:22 am: Jen

    Substituted Sriracha for Cholula and increased all the spice proportions by fifty percent, then used my finger to get every bit of spare filling out of the pan clean without waiting for it to cool. Absolutely amazing–thank you!

  • September 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm: Sarah

    Just ate a massive helping with flour tortillas, guacamole, green salad and extra jalapeños. Total success and the texture is meaty enough without being weird (I don’t like it when meat replacements are too meaty!). Husband has now suggested that we make a tonne of it without spice and freeze it, to be used and spiced up however we fancy! Thank you for another damn fine dinner!

  • September 19, 2011 at 11:22 pm: JenB

    New to vegetarian and vegetarian cooking. This was awesome! I made adjustments based on what we had on hand, but will deffinatly be making this one again. Even my 3rd old ate it with no complaints.

  • September 24, 2011 at 2:34 am: Rita

    Bless you IsaChandra!! My husband and I have been vegan for a few years, but I recently was diagnosed with celiac disease. We have been living on your Scrambled Tofu and Buckwheat Pancakes (the best pancakes EVER), and now this. What a find. I couldn’t have made the transition to gluten-free without you. I am purchasing Veganomicon in gratitude.

  • October 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm: Chris

    I’ve made this recipe three times in about a month and each time the results have been great! Very tasty tacos! Thanks!

  • October 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm: Irene @ H.V.R.

    Great alternative for meat. I served on our family get together and they were shocked that there were no meat in the taco. I hope to see more of this kind of blog.

  • October 12, 2011 at 12:02 am: laura

    oh my god i just ate this AND IT WAS SO DELICIOUS I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF. super great! thanks! i have no idea how you can concoct so many amazing tasting things but I LOVE IT. thanks for making vegan food magically taste way better than all the animal-y food i’ve ever made, your spice skillz kick ass :) and thanks for the four amazing cookbooks i have of yours, i’m now famous for vegan baked treats thanks to you and Terry. soo good!

    hearts and rainbows!
    laura

    • October 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm: IsaChandra

      Thank you so much!

  • October 19, 2011 at 2:02 am: Ariel

    Ah!! This was SO good. I’m excited to try out lentils with many more meals. I’m already addicted to the snobby joes. Thanks!

  • October 24, 2011 at 3:25 am: Amanda

    Just made this recipe…for the second time! It only gets better, thanks for sharing! Ooh, since we don’t have access to ground ancho, and the chili powder we have is mostly a combination of spices already called for in the recipe, we tried ground cayenne instead and it works great!

  • October 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm: Robyn

    Isa- thank you! I didn’t follow the recipe exactly because I wanted to make it tonight with what I had on hand, but the method worked so well!!!!

    Told my husband to expect these often :) I served them on lettuce leaves and this was perfect for staying in the leaf. Nice and thick.

    This beats all other taco meat subs I’ve tried to date.

  • October 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm: maria

    made tacos tonight and this was absolutely delicious!! topped the lentils with tomatoes, avocados, red onion, cilantro, lettuce and a bit of lime. yum!

  • November 8, 2011 at 6:13 am: Erin

    I made these for my parents for their first Meatless Monday and they both loved it. My mom’s a vegan, like me, but my dad is a hardcore carnivore and said he’d never have tacos any other way again. He also said he didn’t miss the meat at all (I believe the quote was, “Who needs meat?”). So yeah, this one’s a winner.

    Also I’m so glad I made double the amount of lentil filling. I’m gonna have some with rice tomorrow for lunch!

  • November 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm: Matt Wilding

    I made this last night and cut spice corners with an organic taco seasoning packet. Pretty darn good!

  • November 20, 2011 at 1:01 am: kizat

    These were oh so mighty tasty! Had a bunch of things on the side to fill the soft tortillas & ancho lentils with (tomatoes, avocados, cabbage, onion, lime, parsley etc.) and my omni fam devoured the entire batch easily. This was my first time making lentils & it was very simple to put together. I just purchased veganomicon & am so excited to cook as many things as possible. i just tried the potato rolls (yum). I kind of stalk this blog. thanks for being so awesome! your descriptions are humorous, recipes tantalizing and I only wish I had more time in the day to cook away. keep on keepin on!

  • January 30, 2012 at 1:35 am: Joneen

    I thought this was awesome! It was a nice change from just black beans that I usually do. I didn’t have dried Ancho powder but I did have Dried whole ancho peppers, so i put them in my food processor and got them to power as much as I could. It worked just fine in this recipe. I also substituted the Cholua for Sriracha because that is what I had. Its a nice take on re-fried beans. I think I could even get my meat loving Fiance to eat this! Thanks for the great recipe, I think this may be a staple for my Mexican nights!

  • March 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm: Ellen

    I am not a vegan, but have vegan-leaning tendencies and I loved, loved, loved these. My hubby also liked them a whole lot and he’s kinda a carnivore! I liked them more than ground beef tacos.

  • March 24, 2012 at 3:19 am: Beth

    I found this web site by accident, because of some kids at my work who have food allergies. I tried these and my family loves them. I just added regular taco seasoning and bam. I like these better than ground beef and I can make these in a jufffy. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. I am not a vegan but I love what I have tried so far.

    • March 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm: IsaChandra

      Thank you!

  • May 5, 2012 at 3:19 am: Vegan in Vegas

    Once again I’ve tried another recipe from either one your cookbooks or this site, and BAM!, it’s an instant favorite. These lentil tacos were so tasty and so richly spiced. They kinda kick my own red bean/green chili tacos in the dirt. My man and my kid both had seconds, which is the highest compliment. Wait, my man wants me to qualify that with, “Tell her I had four of them.”

    Anyway, I served them with a citrus-y slaw with chopped fresh jalapeños and cilantro, oh and some fresh guacamole.

    Thank you, Isa. Keep up the excellent work.

  • May 21, 2012 at 1:27 am: Brandi

    Loved this recipe! Used chipotle powder in place of the ancho chile. In addition, instead of using a corn or sprouted grain wrap, i used the large leaf collard greens instead. Adds a crunchy raw texture to the taco!

  • May 23, 2012 at 12:09 am: katie

    Oh mercy!!! Those were fantastic!! The rich tasting filling and the avocado, lime, and cilantro: perfect!

  • June 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm: Leah

    I just discovered this a few months ago, and I am so sad it took me so long!! This is amazing and has become my default ‘ground beef’ recipe for everything. Love it!!

  • June 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm: Holly

    I made these today for lunch. It was really yummy. My suggestion for your new cookbook would be a Veggie Burger section. I love your lentil burgers you have posted. Different variations for burgers would be awesome. Also, I see you have a recipe using mock duck from a can. I am a little apprehensive about eating imported food, since I am hearing that you what’s in the food may not necessarily be posted on the label. I got to find a way to make it myself. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you share.

    • June 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm: IsaChandra

      Thank you! There will be many burgers to choose from, thanks for the love!

  • July 2, 2012 at 1:35 am: izimbra

    These are amazing and so dirt cheap to make. I had everything on hand except for ground ancho chile so I used this South African smoked spice blend that worked perfectly. Garnished with avocado, cilantro, lime, red onion. so good!

  • July 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm: Amie

    Had these for dinner tonight… incredible! Served on sprouted corn tortillas and made some vegan sour cream and fresh guacamole. Thank you for the recipe!

  • September 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm: Megan

    This is one of my favourite recipes! I actually have to be careful that I don’t make it too often so that I don’t get sick of it!! Thanks so much for all the great awesome totally stupendous recipes on this site… It doesn’t get much better than this :)

  • September 16, 2012 at 6:10 am: Quinn

    I tried these tonight, soooo good! My only addition was grated carrot

  • September 25, 2012 at 2:45 am: Marnie

    Delicious! Even impressed my carnivorous 12 year old son! initially they were too spicy for his taste, added some cooked sweet potato to the lentil mixture, added great flavor and cut the spice just enough. This will be added to our “favorites for dinner!

  • October 18, 2012 at 12:22 am: AshYTim

    I made this twice today. First for lunch.. then again for dinner. That’s how good it was! It is definitely going to be a regular occurrence around here. Thank you so much!

  • November 9, 2012 at 5:22 am: Tara

    These are so good – a new fave at my newly (mostly) vegan house ;) Tonight I added yellow potatoes into the mix after mashing (diced and sauteed in oil) – yum! So creamy and delish.

  • December 5, 2012 at 1:07 am: Jennifer

    Hi! I don’t usually take the time to comment on recipes I’ve tried but I just wanted to let you know that I made these tonight. Both my husband & I loved them! Thank you so much for the recipe. Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

  • December 11, 2012 at 10:41 am: Ellery

    I’d reserve cooking water from lentils for the “splash of water” – that broth is golden!

  • December 30, 2012 at 9:35 am: PJ

    I cooked this tonight. I used green split peas instead of normal lentils and it was still awesome. Thanks! :)

  • December 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm: missbear

    Oh my life, these are AMAZING!! Made these today, in provincial UK it’s tough to find many common US ingredients and so I subbed the Ancho for half a teaspoon of cayenne and quarter to half a teaspoon of smoked paprika (no idea if this would be even close to how ancho tastes but it tasted brilliant), I used franks extra hot sauce but only used 1tbsp. I can’t do “hot” or “spicy” sadly due to illness, but this combination of spices was spot on for heat for me. The coriander/cilantro and line really set this off nicely. I used fried wheat tortillas as my diet doesn’t start until 02/01/13 so what the hell. I have 2 saved for later but want them NOW!

    Thanks Isa, you’re a genius (as ever)

  • January 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm: Mark

    I have to admit these did not look overly appetizing to me. I am vegetarian and love the challenge of taking meat dishes and making them good and veggie, at first glance these looked like they would be overcooked boring lentils, holy smokes was I wrong. I made these at home to taste test before attempting them with a multi-family gathering. I was *shocked* at how good they were. My wife told me to be quiet because I kept raving about how much flavor they had. My son said they looked like refried beans, which they did, but had 1000 times more flavor. The entire first batch I made I ended up eating without ever even trying it in a taco. You could use this filling in just about anything, or just as a veggie meatloaf-ish meal. I just made them again and managed to eek out a few tacos, amazingly good! I did not have tomato paste so I used ketchup, worked great. I used red lentils (no store had brown and red are smaller and cooked really fast), I also used Valentina hotsauce and while eating the tacos I honestly could not think of what I would have added, they are that good! Great recipe!

  • March 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm: Kathy

    this is an awsome website!

  • March 31, 2013 at 11:33 am: janet @ the taste space

    Absolutely delicious, Isa. This wasn’t on the top 100 for nothing! :)

  • April 10, 2013 at 1:24 am: Rumford

    I have to share a modification to this! Maybe someone else has done it already, but I undercooked the lentils on accident and so a few days later I made a soup out of them in order to soften them up a bit. I threw in a couple cups of veggie broth and am currently boiling it down to a thick, smoky tomato soup-type concoction. It’s AMAZING. Especially with tortilla chips.

  • April 12, 2013 at 8:01 pm: Kate_Bakes

    Everyone loves these! My parents a a bunch of hippies so that’s kind of expected! Making them for my lovely boyfriend tonight – he’s very traditional in just about everything sooo fingers crossed.

  • May 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm: Erin

    Taco Salad!

    I served this as a taco salad and it was great! These taco lentils are marvelous! I didn’t have hot sauce or ancho so I used curry ketchup and chipotle – still great!

  • May 29, 2013 at 3:24 am: Alan

    I made these tonight following the recipe exactly, then served them on small flour tortillas with diced red onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Isa, if there was ever was a superhero with strictly food-related powers, it would be you.

  • July 3, 2013 at 2:18 am: sofia

    Just had this and it’s delicious! Can’t wait for leftovers. I added cabbage and a cilantro lime sauce. mmmm.

  • October 1, 2013 at 2:42 am: jen

    this was beautiful, had it with cherry tom, roasted capsicum, lettuce and cashew sour cream! thanks Isa :)

  • October 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm: commiesuchka

    I just made these with homemade vegan flour tortillas and some of your cilantro sour cream! It was really good. I live in Switzerland so to get anything “mexican”, I have to make it myself. Thanks for the yummy ideas!!!

  • October 30, 2013 at 12:31 am: Rebecca

    So good! The whole family loved it. :)

  • November 1, 2013 at 10:25 pm: Jenny B

    Oh my holy WOW. These are the best tacos I have ever had! I LOVE this recipe. I want to run away with this recipe. Once the lentils are cooked, the recipe comes together really quickly. I served them with fresh guacamole and cashew sour cream (which you have to make a couple of days in advance, but it’s worth it and I hate soy substitutes).

  • November 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm: Eli

    Wow wow WOW!!! My vegan self thanks you… And my family too!
    Great recipe. Easy enough. Lentils Cooke quickly,
    So my customers (family) didnt wait too long.
    Definitely avocado accentuates the texture and
    Helps to combine the flavor in your mouth.

  • November 18, 2013 at 12:41 am: Jane Doughnut

    I made these for a friend who has somewhat involuntarily started eating vegan & gluten-free (for health reasons). He said they were the best taco he’s ever eaten. Thanks for another great recipe, Isa!

  • January 14, 2014 at 2:30 am: Jenny

    These were awesome. We loved them! Thanks for all of your fabulous recipes! They are appreciated.

  • April 22, 2014 at 9:29 pm: Jennifer

    Oh my goodness!!! Why have I not tried these before! Just made them for dinner…..DELISH!!! Thank you again, Isa for your GENIUS!