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Taco Spiced Lentils

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x


Mexican seasoned lentils help make any taco Tuesday (or meatless Monday) satisfying and spicy. Besides tacos, use the lentils to mix up your enchilada, nacho, or quesadilla routine.


  • 1 1/2 C dry French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 t Kosher salt
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped small (3/4 C)
  • 1 (heaping) T minced garlic
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/2 T ground cumin
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and minced (use 1 for milder spice)
  • Juice of 1 lime


  1. Combine lentils, 4 cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not falling apart (it’s more difficult to overcook French green lentils than other varieties, so the timing is forgiving). Drain and rinse.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes, until softened and starting to brown. Reduce heat to medium low, then add garlic, tomato paste, spices, and chipotle peppers. Stir constantly for 2 minutes, until spices are very fragrant. Pour in 1 ½ C water, scraping browned spices from bottom of pan, then add cooked lentils. Increase heat to medium high and use a wooden spoon to break up remaining chunks of tomato paste. Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce heat and continue to simmer 20 minutes, until almost all liquid is evaporated.
  3. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in juice of one lime, then taste and season with salt as needed (about 1 teaspoon). Serve warm over taco salads, in tacos or enchiladas, or alone with some sour cream. Will keep about a week in the refrigerator.


Make these well in advance if you like. They keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Category: Lunch, dinner, side dish
  • Cuisine: Mexican, gluten-free, meatless