Lentil taco salad

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Are you looking for a taco salad that is easy to make and vegetarian friendly? Check out this recipe for lentil taco salad with spiced lentils, tomatoes, avocado, green onion, Monterey jack cheese, sour cream and salsa. All you have to do to make this taco salad is boil the lentils and chop a few vegetables – it doesn’t get much easier than that!  

This recipe for lentil taco salad is gluten free, vegetarian, egg free, and nut free. It can easily be made dairy free and vegan friendly by replacing the cheese and lime sour cream with vegan cheese and sour cream. 

Vegetarian lentil taco salad with lettuce tomato, greenn onion, tomato, monterey jack cheese, lentils, salsa, and sour cream.

What is in this lentil taco salad

  • Lettuce. Lettuce is used as the base of this taco salad. We prefer to use romaine lettuce when making taco salad but you could also use another type of lettuce such as iceberg lettuce. 
  • Lentils. Spiced lentils are used as the main protein in this lentil taco salad. We use a mix of spices that includes cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder to flavor the lentils. If you have a favorite taco seasoning then you can use use taco seasoning in place of the spice mix. 
  • Avocado. A few avocados are chopped and added to this lentil taco salad. The avocados add a nice, creamy element to the salad. 
  • Green onion. Sliced green onions are added to this lentil taco salad to add a pop of fresh, zesty flavor. You can use both the dark green and light green parts of the green onion.
  • Tomato. Fresh, juicy tomatoes are also added to this taco salad. We recommend using flavorful tomatoes such as heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. 
  • Monterey jack cheese. Shredded monterey jack is also added to this lentil taco salad. If you do not have monterey jack cheese then pepper jack cheese and sharp cheddar cheese would also be welcome additions! If you want to make this lentil taco salad vegan friendly then you can use your favorite vegan cheese shreds. 
  • Salsa. Salsa is used in place of salad dressing on this lentil taco salad. Make sure to use a salsa that is nice and flavorful!
  • Sour cream. Sour cream is used in combination with the salsa as a replacement for salad dressing. A little lime juice is added to the sour cream to brighten the flavor up and a little bit of heavy cream is added to give the sour cream a thinner consistency. If you want to make this lentil taco salad vegan friendly then you can use vegan sour cream. Vegan sour cream is generally thinner than dairy sour cream so there is no need to thin the sour cream with vegan milk or cream. 

What type of lentils to use

What type of lentils should be used in this lentil taco salad? Brown lentils are used to make this taco salad because of their medium firm texture. Red lentils very too soft and have a tendency to dissolve into the sauce you cook them in. Green lentils, on the other hand, are very firm and are difficult to mash. Brown lentils strike the perfect balance! They are firm enough to remain intact when cooked, but soft enough that you can mash some of them to better mimic the texture of ground beef. If you want to read more about different types of lentils, check out this article. 

How to prepare lentils

How do you prepare lentils before you cook them? Here is how to prepare lentils.

  • Remove stones and debris. Shift through the lentils to look for any stones or debris that have found their way into the lentils. Small stones that resemble lentils sometimes get mixed in with dried lentils. 
  • Rinse the lentils. Put the lentils in a mesh strainer and run them under warm water for 30 – 60 seconds. This will rinse away any smaller debris that is on the lentils.  

Vegetarian lentil taco salad with lettuce tomato, greenn onion, tomato, monterey jack cheese, lentils, salsa, and sour cream.

What is in these spiced lentils

What spices are used to flavor the lentils in this lentil taco salad? The following spices are used to add flavor to the lentils. 

  • Cumin 
  • Smoked paprika
  • Oregano
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Black pepper
  • Hot sauce

Lentil taco salad

This lentil taco salad is gluten free, vegetarian, egg free, and nut free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: egg free, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 large tomato
  • 4 stalks green onion
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese
  • 1 cup salsa

Lime sour cream

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

Lentil taco meat

  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Mix all of the ingredients for the lentils in a large pot. Heat the pot over high heat until the water starts to boil.
  • Once the lentils start to boil, put a lid on the lentils and reduce the heat to low or medium low. Let the lentils simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Chop the tomatoes, avocados, and green onion. Shred the lettuce if it is not already shredded.
  • Mix the ingredients for the lime sour cream together. Cover the lime sour cream and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
  • Combine all of the ingredients for the lentil taco salad over a bed of lettuce.

Substitutions for lentil taco salad

  • Spices. If you have a favorite taco seasoning then you can replace the spices in the lentils with that taco seasoning. We would still recommend adding a little hot sauce or lime juice to the lentils to add a little bit of acidity. 
  • Monterey jack cheese. If you do not have monterey jack cheese then you can use pepper jack or cheddar cheese. If you want to make the lentil taco salad vegan friendly then can use your favorite type of vegan cheese shreds.  
  • Sour cream. If you want to make this taco salad vegan friendly then you can use vegan sour cream in place of dairy sour cream. If you use vegan sour cream then you can omit the heavy cream. Vegan sour cream is generally thinner than dairy sour cream anyways.

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