I remember growing up as a kid, my mother would make ground beef tacos with hard shells for us children. I’m guessing it had something to with the fact it was the quintessential one pot meal for 4 kids and it probably helped that we all loved it too! Still, to this day, I think back with nostalgia to hard shell tacos with ground beef. It’s one of those “memories are food moments” :).
However, as an athlete and someone not wanting to eat as much red meat as I did years back, I wanted to come up with an alternative to ground beef tacos. For me, black lentils was an obvious substitution for the ground beef. Visually, they look enough like ground beef. They also have a “bite” to them like pasta’s “al dente”. Green lentils keep their shape too, but it’s green and who want’s a mushy green taco? I also thought about wanting to add another element to them too. Something that could add a bit more bulk and texture. Earlier in the week I had made some cauliflower tacos so I started thinking cauliflower and then cauliflower rice and there you have it. Black lentil tacos with cauliflower!
Besides making some pickled red onions, I stayed true to course with these lentil tacos replacing the regular ground beef tacos. Hard shells, sour cream, cheese and chopped tomatoes. I also made my own spice mix for the lentil and cauliflower, however, you could easily use one of those taco seasoning packets too. There’s a reason those things exist!
Also, I did make a giant batch of these lentil tacos and I mean a giant batch! On the plus side though – it’s a great big batch recipe that you can eat on for several days. It’s also freezer friendly. So you could easily put together individual zip lock baggies to put in the freezer and then pull out on a busy weeknight. Especially after a hard training session because it’s loaded with protein from the lentils.
Enjoy and remember to Pin or Save to your Meal Plan for later.
Old School Hard Shell Black Lentil Tacos
- 2 cups of black lentils
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 small green bell pepper
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 8 ounce can of Goya tomato sauce
- 2 packages of taco spice mix
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- Hard taco shells
- Sour cream
- Shredded lettuce
- Bring 2 cups of black lentils to a boil. Then set on simmer, partially covered for about 20-25 minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking, start making the rest of the filling. Heat a large pot to medium heat. Dice the green bell pepper, red bell pepper and red onion. Place in the pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a pinch of seasoning. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until soft.
- While they are sautéing, mince the garlic and add in to the pot in the last minute.
- For the cauliflower, place in a food processor and quickly pulse to break it up into rice size pieces. Do not over process as it will become watery. Place the cauliflower in the pot with the other veggies. Season with a pinch of salt and some of the seasoning. Sauté for about a minute.
- Check on the lentils. If they are al dente, remove from the water and drain. Then place in the pot with the other veggies. Season with a pinch of salt and the rest of the seasonings. Also add in the tomato sauce. Stir and heat all the way though. Taste. Adjust seasonings to your liking. Maybe some salt or more cumin or garlic powder.
- Serve with some sour cream, cheese, chopped tomato, onion and lettuce.
10 Servings of 2 Tacos with Accompaniments
High Fiber, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Pork Free, Red Meat Free, Crustacean Free, Celery Free, Mustard Free, Sesame Free, Lupine Free, Mollusk Free, Alcohol Free, Kosher