RecipePlant-Based Tacos

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 320
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Total Fat: 16 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 14.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 35 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7 g
  • Total Sugar: 1 g
    • Natural Sugar: 1 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 610 mg

Tuesday is for tacos! While I often use ground turkey for my taco filling, this plant-forward recipe is hearty, delicious and incredibly satisfying. The dish combines lentils, black beans and walnuts to create a beef-like experience, while delivering fiber, phytonutrients, and other compounds that have been shown to promote health. Plus, by going meatless a few nights each week, you’ll help cut back on greenhouse emissions and reduce your carbon footprint. This recipe makes 5 heaping cups of filling for countless tacos, but this combo also tastes terrific on salads and sammies, too. It’s a fantasTACO feast!

Note: The color of the “meat” filling will vary depending on the type of seasonings and variety of lentils you use.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes about 20 tacos

Taco “meat”

  • • 2½ cups cooked brown lentils (1 cup dry lentils, 2-3 cups broth*)
  • • 1 cup toasted walnuts**
  • • 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • • 4 to 6 tablespoon taco seasoning blend (store-bought or make your own using recipe below)

 DIY Taco seasoning*** (makes 6 tablespoons)

  • • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

For Taco assembly

  • • Hard or soft taco shells
  • • Chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions
  • • Optional toppers: corn, sliced jalapenos, avocado, salsa

*To make lentils, cook 1 cup dry brown lentils according to package directions, typically with 2-3 cups vegetable broth for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. This will yield ~2½ cups cooked lentils.

**To toast walnuts, spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in 300°-oven about 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

***To make your own Taco Seasoning blend, mix all seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl; set aside.


Add cooked, drained lentils to the bowl of a food processor, along with black beans and walnuts. Gently pulse to combine and slightly break down the mixture (it will happen fast), but do not puree it. There should still be lots of texture with pieces of nuts and some whole beans.

Liberally coat a large skillet with nonstick olive oil spray and warm over medium-low heat. Add lentil-bean-walnut mixture along with ¼ cup of taco seasoning blend and 2 tablespoons warm water. Gently fold and stir the mixture to incorporate all seasonings and warm everything; be careful not to mash it into a puree (maintain as much texture as possible). Taste and add more taco seasoning, if desired (I typically add 1 to 2 more tablespoons), along with any additional preferred seasoning.

TO ASSEMBLE TACOS: Add ¼ cup filling to each taco shell, along with lettuce, tomatoes, and optional toppings.

Nutrition provided for 2 assembled tacos. 

Try this Lentil and Mushroom Bolognese!