I absolutely love, love, love tacos! Growing up, taco night (next to pasta night) was my favorite meal of the week. It always felt like such a treat for me and the taco meat, dare I say, was my favorite part. But honestly, I do not know what all the fuss was about, because this lentil walnut "meat" is so much better. It is seriously so delicious and serves as the perfect base for any taco or burrito, but is also great in a salad, wrap, or spread on a sandwich. The possibilities are endless!
Not only can this meat be enjoyed several different ways, but it is also incredibly easy to make. Cook your lentils, toast your walnuts, throw everything in a food processor with some seasonings, and voila! You have vegan taco meat that is so much more nutritious than any of that fake packaged stuff — and it tastes way better too.
The star of this recipe, the mighty lentil, is one of my favorite members of the legume family. Lentils are packed with dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, and when consumed on a regular basis have been proven to lower your risk of coronary heart disease by 82%! Then there's walnuts, filled with omega-3's, vitamin E, antioxidants, and tons of anti-cancer benefits.
Another powerhouse ingredient used in this recipe is Nutritional Yeast, or nooch as I like to call it. Just two tablespoons of nooch contains approximately 5 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein, and includes all 18 essential amino acids. It is also high in B vitamins which are essential for the production of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system.
The cherry on top of this meal, though, would have to be the cashew sour cream. Oh my goodness is this stuff good. I have spoken before about my love of cashew cheeses and creams and this recipe is no exception. I love spreading cashew sour cream on sandwiches, toast, flax crackers, or in a wrap, but on top of these lentil walnut tacos is by far my favorite.
With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, these tacos would be a great meal to impress your friends with! Even the non-vegans will love them. I promise!
Lentil Walnut Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream
(Makes about 10 tacos + 1.5 cups of cashew sour cream)
Lentil Walnut Meat: 1 cup French green lentils uncooked (1 3/4 cup cooked) 1 + 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted 1 tsp garlic powder 1 + 1/2 tsp cumin, ground 2 tsp chili powder 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 2 Tbs nutritional yeast 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar 2 Tbs water
Topping Ideas: Chopped tomatoes Leafy greens Sautéed peppers and onions Avocado Cilantro Jalapeños Cabbage slaw Salsa
Cashew Sour Cream: 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 1/2 cup water 2 tsp apple cider vinegar 1/4 tsp salt Dash of cayenne pepper
Lentil Walnut Meat:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Rinse and strain lentils, making sure there are no rocks or debris. Place 1 cup lentils into a pot with 2-3 cups water. Let the water come to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Add water if needed, making sure the lentils are always covered while cooking.
- Place walnuts on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown.
- Once the lentils have finished cooking, strain any excess water then place 1 + 3/4 cup cooked lentils into a food processor (you will have some leftover).
- Add the toasted walnuts, seasonings, water, and apple cider vinegar. Pulse all of the ingredients so it is well chopped, but not mushy. It should resemble taco meat.
- Prepare your tacos and store any extra meat in the fridge covered for up to a week.
Cashew Sour Cream:
- Soak cashews for 2-3 hours to help aid in digestion.
- Once cashews have soaked, strain and rinse then place them in a blender or food processor. Add in water, apple cider vinegar, salt, cayenne pepper, and blend.
- Pour the sour cream into a bowl and keep in the fridge covered for up to a week.
I hope you all enjoy these lentil walnut tacos with cashew sour cream, and that you have a very Happy Cinco de Mayo!