Refried lentils ~ tacos, quesadillas, and dip
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.