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As a vegetarian, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate plant based proteins into my diet. Lentils are a high protein, high fiber, inexpensive staple in my kitchen. This taco filling can be added to a salad, used to top nachos, or substituted into any recipe that calls for ground beef to create a hearty, plant forward meal.
Lentils are part of the legume family and can be prepared in several ways.
Method # 1- Toss the dried lentils straight into a pan with 2 parts water to 1 part lentils and start cooking.
Method # 2- Allow the lentils to soak in water for 8-24 hours before cooking. Soaking the lentils will shorten the cooking time and improve the lentils’ digestibility.
Method # 3- Soak the lentils for 8-24 hours. After the additional soak, allow them to sit for an additional 24 hours to sprout.
Both practices - soaking and sprouting - will help decrease the amount of phytic acid which is associated with low mineral and nutrient absorption. Sprouting is also said to increase the nutrient density of the lentils because the lentils will become live again.
So sprout your food! It will give you a larger nutritional bang for your buck, unlock a bunch of hidden nutrients that would otherwise remain dormant, and eliminate the foods gaseous qualities.
After you’ve drained them, fill the jar back up with water, shake it, and drain it again. Place your jar upside down with a mesh lid or cheesecloth and leave it for 12 hours. Rinse the lentils again and leave for another 8-12 hours. After 20 hours, little sprouts should appear. I typically rinse the sprouts one more time before cooking. Sprouts are very fragile and should be kept out of heat and direct sunlight. It’s up to you to determine how long you want the sprouts to be. I don’t typically care how long they are, so I start the cooking process as soon as I see the little tails.
If you don’t have time to sprout your lentils and want to go straight into cooking them, use a 2:1 water ratio. Bring the lentils to a boil and simmer on low until all the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are soft.
If you’d like to punch up the flavor (and nutritional value) add sweet corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, or fresh salsa!
Store the lentils in a tupperware container in the fridge for an easy addition to any meal.
Lentil Taco Filling
2 cups of sprouted lentils
2 cup of water
1 tablespoon of vegetable base
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional add ins:
To sprout the lentils: Add 1 cup of dried lentils to a mason jar, fill the jar with water, secure the lid, and place it on your kitchen counter. Make sure that the jar is out of direct sunlight and let it sit for 8-24 hours. I let it sit overnight. Drain.
Refill the jar with water, shake it, and drain again. Place a mesh lid or cheesecloth over the lid and flip upside down. Leave it on the counter for 8-12 hours. Sprouts should begin to appear after 20 hours. I like to rinse the lentils one last time before I cook them.
To cook the lentils: Combine 2 cups of the sprouted lentils with 2 cups of water and vegetable base. Bring the lentils to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until all of the water has been absorbed.
While the lentils are cooking, create your taco seasoning mix. Combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle over the lentils and stir to combine.
Feel free to add in diced tomatoes, salsa, sweet corn, or black beans. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Hi! I'm Lacie, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach turned Food Blogger. Welcome to The Vegetarian LunchBox where I celebrate my passion for vegetarian cooking.