I totally get the appeal of meat substitutes. In fact I pretty much lived off of faux-chicken patties, boca burgers, and other soy based swaps all throughout college. But have you ever read the ingredients on those things? Ugh! They're practically a mile long! If it were a mile long list of nothing but whole foods I'd be stuffing my face silly by now, but we all know that at least half the contents on that list will be unrecognizable and/or unpronounceable. Plus they're pricey... and loaded with salt.... and... I rest my case.
After doing a little bit of researched on uber-processed soy, tvp, and a few of the other components of faux meats, I decided to put them on my extreme moderation list. I'm not oppossed to grabbing a morningstar veggie burger with guac from Burger King during a long road trip or satisfying the occasional BLT craving with some smoky maple tempeh bacon. But regular consumption? Not happening. For the rest of my eats, I want them as clean and un-processed as possible. So gosh darn-it, i'll just make my own! Starting with this deeeelish taco filling:
[Serves 4-5 and the filling tastes even better the next day! love it!]
1 cup of dried lentils
16oz refried beans
1 cup diced onion
4oz mushrooms, minced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of your favorite enchilada sauce
all-natural blue corn taco shells [ah-mazing!]
a splash of oil [olive..grape seed...coconut]
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4-1/2 tsp dried cilantro [I highly suggest trying this stuff on everything!]
1/4 tsp salt
Many taco seasoning packets are laced with MSG, this blend will spare you from the sketchy additive.
shredded romaine or spring mix lettuce
grated cheese + greek yogurt [or sour cream] [vegansaurus chefs- simply skip it!]
green or red salsa
fresh, ripe tomatoes
fresh or pickled peppers
Rinse and sort 1 cup of lentils. Heat 3 cups of water in a pot until it's just about to boil, add lentils, and reduce to simmer for 15-25 minutes or until tender. [drain and return to pot once fully cooked] While the lentils are simmering, you'll have enough time to make the entire meal. Saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic with a splash of oil until tender. Add seasoning blend [see recipe] and enchilada sauce at the end and stir. Next combine them with the lentils, along with the refried beans and heat on low, stirring gently to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. I decided to add an extra sprinkle of each spice -- feel free to follow suit! Bake your tortilla shells, prep your toppings, and assemble.
Meat-who? I didn't even notice it was missing! The shroom-onion-lentil-pinto combo gave the tacos a meaty taste and texture [think: a hearty, tasty chili] minus the moo cow. These are not your basic lentil tacos. In fact, the ones I've had before were always just okay... yet never very memorable. But these? These are downright delicious! Granted, I do think nearly any taco on this earth is a beautiful, glorious thing but -- these are my magical version that I'll be making for years to come. Obviously you have GOT to try them =)
Since we're talking tacos -- tell me your favorite toppings!