Tasty Lentil Tacos: “Taste of Home” Run

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I made a modified version of Tasty Lentil Tacos (The Taste of Home Cookbook) (recipe also on Taste of Home website). My husband really, really loved this dinner. I know this because I heard him muttering under his breath, as he contemplated taking another serving, “I don’t want this meal to ever end.”

I took some extra effort with the taco shells, frying them myself from fresh corn tortillas. But, I took some shortcuts with the filling. Even so, it was off the charts good.

I think that homemade taco shells takes this to a whole other level. With the shortcuts on the rest of the recipe, it goes really, really quickly anyway.

taco shells

The recipe is posted on All Recipes , where is gets a five star review from 162 people. If you want to follow the original recipe or see what others think about the recipe, go there. I am going to give you my version

According to the reviewers on All Recipes, this lentil filling also works for enchiladas, nachos, burritos, tostadas, and as a dip.

My Version of Tasty Lentil Tacos
adapted from The Taste of Home Cookbook, p. 275

Note:  I used canned lentils instead of dried, so I eliminated the broth from the recipe. Even so, the mixture was a little too loose and kind of scanty, so I added in some well drained and partly mashed Dominican Red Beans. So these are really lentil AND beans tacos
. You will need to adjust the seasoning to taste.

Updated, even easier version of this recipe:
Heat together 1 can lentils (14.5 ounces), drained well, 1 can small red beans (14.5 ounces), drained well, 1/2 cup spicy tomato sauce or salsa, 1 small can tomato paste (6 ounces),  1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 Tbl. cumin, 2 Tbl. olive oil.  You just need to heat this through, but longer cooking deepens and improves the flavor. Serve in taco shells (pre-made is fine) topped with cubed avocado and grape tomatoes, with some yellow rice on the side. Salsa is another nice topping. You can mix some cheese into the bean mixture or sprinkle some on top, if desired.

Fry 12 taco shellsfrom scratch or use premade tacos. Set aside while you make the filling.

taco shells

I made the spices very mild so that my son would eat this dish. The original recipe called for a whole tablespoon of chili powder

In a medium saucepan, saute until tender and starting to brown:
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbl. olive oil

Add and cook for one minute:
1 clove of garlic, minced

Add and cook very briefly, just to warm spices  (just a few seconds, you don’t want to scorch them):
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/4 teapoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano

Add:
1  (14.5 ounce) can lentils, drained
1/2 – 1 cup salsa
(I used just 1/2 cup, but adjust this to your liking)
1   (14.5 ounce) can red beans, drained, rinsed, drained well, and mashed partly (I used Dominican Red Beans, but  pinto or small red beans would be nice)

Heat the mixture through, cooking it down and mashing it a bit to make it thicker, if needed. Stir occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking. This looks nice garnished with chopped scallions.

To serve: spoon 1/4 cup of mixture in each taco shell, and top the tacos with the following:
Diced avocado, (one was sufficient for this amount of tacos)
seasoned with fresh lemon juice and freshly ground pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese
Salsa
(I used a refrigerated brand that was made with cilantro and lime juice)
Note: the toppings from the original recipe included:
Shredded lettuce
Chopped tomato
Fat-free sour cream (I tried one taco with reduced fat sour cream, but it really is gilding the lily)

lentils

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