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Refried lentils ~ tacos, quesadillas, and dip

March 18, 2009

Lentil Taco

I’ve made some big changes in how I eat and what I eat lately, after several people my own age (which is 40) have either had a heart attack or been in the ER with heart-related issues.  It made me realize that I wasn’t doing the best I could for myself or for my kids, for that matter.  I needed to make some changes and I’ve been doing that – more fruits and vegetables, more grains, etc.  I still have no problem treating myself to Starbuck’s or a brownie, but overall I’m making a much bigger effort to eat healthier.

So with all that in mind, I’ve been searching for foods that make good lunches or snacks.   I read a lot of different recipes for lentil tacos and ended up kind of creating my own from bits and pieces of everybody else’s.  I’m really happy with how this turned out – it’s quick and easy and also very versatile.  So far, it’s been used in soft tacos, quesadillas, and as a dip.  As far as I can tell, the only downside to the lentil taco “meat” is its appearance.  Trust me – when you taste it, you will get past how it looks.  My finicky Sam even likes it, which says a lot.  He didn’t know it wasn’t his usual taco until after he’d eaten the whole thing.  I especially liked it in a quesadilla, but the dip turned out great too.  I mixed the leftover lentil mixture with some low-fat sour cream, topped with diced tomatoes and served with whole wheat pita chips.  Very yummy afternoon snack, let me tell you.  And if you’re still a ground beef person, you can use these same spices in place of the store-bought envelopes of taco seasoning.

Recipe:  Refried Lentils

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 c. dried lentils; picked over, rinsed, and drained

2 1/2 c. low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 c. low fat sour cream, if turning lentils into a dip

Place lentils in a saute pan with spices.  Heat for about one minute until lentils begin to dry and spices are aromatic.  Pour in broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer lentils until tender, about 25-30 minutes.  Pour mixture into food processor and pulse until lentils are desired consistency, or mash with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher.  If using lentils as a dip, allow to cool, then mix with sour cream to lighten texture.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2009 11:07 pm

    SO this is one of those just close your eyes and take a bite dishes? You know that first bite where you’re not sure but know you need to try it? :-)
    I’ll be honest my children are MUCH better at trying new things. As a matter of fact they enjoy and one twin demands it. He is definitely a foodie in the making.

    Btw, liked your snazzy cookies for St. Paddy’s Day especially the bit of sparkle you added. Silly but I couldn’t remember if I commented! Been crazy hectic busy!
    ~ingrid

  2. oneordinaryday permalink*
    March 19, 2009 2:10 pm

    Ingrid – You definitely have to just dive right in and not concern yourself with appearances here. It really is quite tasty, honestly! I just try not to look at it too much. : )
    And as for the cookies…. thanks! Apparently, they were a big hit in Claudia’s preschool because several moms came to me yesterday and asked me what I made because they had heard about “Claudia’s snack” from their own kids.
    - Shell

  3. Dani permalink
    March 21, 2009 11:06 pm

    Matt sat down on the couch next to me tonight and asked what we were having for dinner.
    While looking at the recipes, I responded with,
    “Don’t wrinkle up your nose, but what would you think of tacos made with lentils instead of meat?”
    “Can I wrinkle my nose now?”, he replied

    So off to the store we went.

    I have to say…we were all very impressed. By we, I am including Matt, Grandma and myself.

    Three thumbs up!!!

  4. March 22, 2009 3:52 pm

    i think there are worse things that food can look like. your tacos, on the other hand, look perfectly delicious to me!

  5. Dani permalink
    March 23, 2009 3:57 pm

    I also turned the left overs into the dip. I preferred to heat the lentils up a little bit prior to mixing in the sour cream.

    I also made my own chips to dip using the whole wheat tortilla shells I had bought. I simply sprayed them with Pam and sprinkled with sea salt and baked them.

    Simply delicious

  6. oneordinaryday permalink*
    March 23, 2009 8:59 pm

    Dani – Very glad you trusted me. They are a keeper. XO

    Cathy – Thank you!

    - Shell

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