I've been having one of those weeks where I feel like I'm spending entirely too much money. I'm eating out, buying stuff I don't need and have to spring for my biannual hair appointment. And as such, I started trying to save money in the weirdest ways. Like refusing to buy meat because it's just too darn expensive. Instead, I looked into my cupboards to whip up a low-cost taco - and found red lentils. These guys are a protein-rich meat replacement for vegetarians...and a component of fat-rich Indian food for me. Nonetheless, I decided to give them a shot in a taco.
Taking inspiration from the refried bean/rice pairing of a burrito, I mixed the lentils with basmati rice (though any rice you have will do) and added a mix of vegetables and spices. The mix came out spicy and flavourful, but the toppings are what really made the lentils sing. A salty cheese and tart crema play off the lentils perfectly, while the avocado and cilantro round out the team. Not bad for a new recipe!
Red Lentil Taco Recipe
Serves: 20 tacos Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 30 min
1 cup red lentils
1/4 cup white rice
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Cotija or feta cheese
Wash the lentils in water, until the water runs clear. Place in an uncovered pot with 3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil for 15-20 minutes. Set aside. Cook rice as per packaging. Set aside.
Heat oil in a skillet on medium high. Dice the onion, garlic, jalapeno and tomato. Add onions to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, before adding garlic and cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, rice, jalapeno, tomato and all the dry ingredients - plus a 1/2 cup of water. Mix well and continue stirring intermittently until water has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
Place a heaping spoonful into a warm corn tortilla. Top with cilantro, diced avocado, cheese and crema.