These lentil tacos are a perfect vegan midweek meal! Stuffed with spicy lentil taco “meat” and drizzled in creamy cashew queso, they’re as delicious as they are easy to make.
Is there a story behind taco Tuesday? Because I have a theory. Taco Tuesday isn’t really something I intentionally take part in, but I often find myself cooking up Tacos on Tuesday.
I think it’s because tacos can be so easy to throw together, making them perfect for an early week dinner. Not so early as Monday though, when we usually have Sunday’s leftovers. Oh, and then there’s the fact that taco filling usually makes for great leftovers, which means taco Tuesday generally covers Wednesday’s dinner as well!
How to Make Lentil Tacos
Let’s talk about these tacos. They’re pretty darn easy, and the filling reheats very well, so they’re great for meal prep.
How easy? Here’s how it’s done!
First, boil your lentils. Use brown lentils (green take longer to cook and red ones get too mushy for this recipe), cover them with water and boil until they’re just a smidge on the firm side. Drain them.
While the lentils boil, make your cashew queso. You’ll be using some raw soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, hot sauce, and non-dairy milk.
You’re simply going to stick everything into a food processor and blend.
When the lentils are done cooking, heat up some oil in a skillet. Sauté an onion until it’s soft and just starting to brown. Next, add some spices and garlic, and sauté everything for about a minute. Lentils, tomato sauce, and some soy sauce go in last. Just cook everything for a minute or two longer. You don’t want to overdo it, or your lentils will quickly become mushy.
Turn off the heat and stir in some fresh cilantro.
Stuff your shells with your lentil taco meat, cashew queso, and your favorite taco fillings.
FAQ & Tips for Making Awesome Lentil Tacos
- As you may have noticed by now, these lentil tacos are pretty easy to throw together. Want them to be even easier? Here are a few tricks:
- Skip the cashew queso and use your favorite store-bought vegan cheese shreds instead.
- Use canned lentils. You’ll need about 3 cups (or a bit under 2 whole 14-ounce cans).
- Or use leftover lentils you cooked for another recipe. Cooked lentils freeze well, by the way!
- Want to keep these tacos gluten-free? Substitute gluten-free tamari for the soy sauce and be sure to use gluten-free taco shells or tortillas.
- Switch things up by using the taco filling for burritos! You’ll get about 4 big ones.
- Did you forget to soak your cashews? Boil them for 15 minutes instead.
- I always keep a stash of soaked cashews in the freezer for when I need them. Just freeze them right in the soaking liquid, then thaw, drain and rinse when ready to use.
- Leftover cashew queso is freezer-friendly! And this recipe makes a lot, so you’ll probably have some extra.
- Hard or soft taco shells work with this recipe. Those shells you see in the photos are corn tortillas that I’ve crisped for a few minutes in a hot, lightly oiled skillet.
Easy Lentil Tacos with Cashew Queso
These lentil tacos are a perfect vegan midweek meal! Stuffed with spicy lentil taco "meat" and drizzled in creamy cashew queso, they're as delicious as they are easy to make.
For the Lentil Taco Filling
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, or high-heat oil of choice
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Cashew Queso
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 3 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Cholula)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk, plus more as needed (I used 1 cup)
- 8 taco shells or small tortillas
- Toppings of choice, such as lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and olives
Place the lentils into a small saucepan and cover them with a few inches of water.
Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil.
Lower the heat and allow the lentils to boil for about 20 minutes, until almost fully cooked but just a tad on the firm side.
While the lentils boil, make the cashew queso. Place the cashews, nutritional yeast, hot sauce, garlic, salt, and 1/4 cup of milk into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade.
Blend the mixture until smooth, then thin to desired consistency with additional milk.
When the lentils have finished cooking, drain them into a colander.
Coat the bottom of a medium skillet with oil and place it over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft and just beginning to brown.
Lower the heat to medium, and add the garlic, cumin, ancho chile powder, oregano, and smoked paprika. Sauté for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
Stir in the cooked lentils, tomato sauce, and soy sauce.
Cook for 1-2 minutes, gently flipping with a spatula. Be careful not to smash the lentils.
Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff the shells with the lentil filling and toppings of choice. Drizzle with cashew queso.