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bowl of lentil taco meat with a black spoon

Lentil Taco Meat

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 1/4 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Lentil taco meat is an easy vegan recipe that is healthy and high in protein.  It's a delicious and spicy plant based meal everyone will love.  Try this gluten free and kid friendly recipe for your next Taco Tuesday or meatless Monday.


  • 1 cup brown lentils (172g)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, reserve 1 1/2 cups for later (950 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (15 ml)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped (114g)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from about 4 limes


  1. Bring 2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil in a medium sized saucepan.  Meanwhile, rinse the lentils in a strainer, then add them to the broth once it boils.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 to 35 minutes until tender, then uncover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes to thicken.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then saute the chopped onion for roughly 4 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and stir constantly for one minute.
  3. Add the tomato paste and the dried spices and cook for a minute, while stirring constantly.
  4. Put the cooked lentils in the skillet and stir until well blended.  Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the remaining vegetable broth and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding filtered water when necessary, as this meat will absorb a lot of liquid.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the freshly squeezed lime juice.  If you want, you can mash the lentils or put half in a food processor to change up the texture and appearance.
  6. Serve while still warm.


  • Brown lentils cook 20 minutes quicker than green lentils.
  • Red lentils get too mushy for this recipe, so it's best to avoid them.
  • Want more flavor?  Use vegetable broth instead of filtered water to cook the lentils.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: lentil taco meat, lentil ground beef substitute