Learn how to make this simple and delicious lentil and walnut taco meat. It’s a delicious vegan, gluten-free and soy-free alternative to traditional taco meat, still filled with the same familiar flavors and textures that we all love, but without the meat. It’s perfect for tacos, salads, and more.
It’s taco time! Learn how to make this delicious lentil and walnut taco meat. We are using simple, wholesome, ingredients that you may already have in your pantry.
If you’re looking for a simple replacement for taco meat made from whole food ingredients, you’ve come to the right place. This dish riffs off of our Mushroom Walnut Vegan Taco Meat recipe, if you’ve ever tried it. Instead of mushrooms, we are using lentils which provide some nice flavor, texture, and additional protein.
Taco night is very popular in our household. While we sometimes will cook up vegan beef crumbles like Beyond Meat or Impossible, we do like this lentil and walnut taco meat as a less-processed alternative.
This lentil and walnut taco meat is perfect for meal prep. It works well as a topping for many dishes aside from just tacos. You can make a large batch and keep it in your fridge to enjoy throughout the week.
Here are some of our favorite ideas to use this taco meat:
Stuffing potatoes (white or sweet)
Mixing in with pasta
If you’re looking for more meals that are perfect for meal prep, here are some good ones:
Learn how to make this simple and delicious lentil and walnut taco meat. It’s a delicious, vegan, gluten-free and soy-free!
3/4 cup unsalted walnuts
1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 cup diced yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh lime juice, as desired
In a small bowl, add in the walnuts along with enough lukewarm water to fully submerge the nuts. In a separate bowl, add in the lentils also with enough lukewarm water to cover them. Soak both the walnuts and lentils for about 30 minutes.
Once the walnuts have finished soaking, drain them and transfer them to a cutting board (or a food processor). We just let the lentils continue to sit in the water during this time. Roughly chop the walnuts until they have broken down into a “meat crumble”-like texture. You don’t want them to be powder, you want them to still have some texture in the mixture.
In the medium-sized pan, add in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil along. Once warm, add in the onions and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
Add in the chopped walnuts, cumin, chili powder, oregano and cayenne, and cook for 1 minute more.
Drain the lentils and add them into the mixture along with the liquid smoke, tomatoes, and broth. Mix until everything is combined and then bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Allow the mixture to simmer covered for 20-25 minutes.
Remove the lid from the pan and continue sautéing until the liquid has cooked off and the lentils are soft.
Remove from heat and add in the cilantro. Mix until well combined and serve warm. Enjoy!
You can skip the walnuts if you would like.
We used green lentils for this recipe but you could really use any variety that is available to you.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!
Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie