I used to eat a lot of meat, at least a couple times per day, and it took a large toll on my digestive system. Since then I have cut down on my meat consumption and integrated more vegetarian meals into my diet. One of my favorite vegetarian meals are tacos made with a walnut and lentil “meat.”
This meal is packed with good fats like omega-3s from the walnuts, which are also anti-inflammatory and great for the brain. The walnuts and lentils provide protein and fiber to keep you satisfied and aid in digestion.
Even if you believe that meat is the ideal protein, we should all strive to cut down on our consumption due to the vast amount of CO2 the meat industry contributes to our atmosphere. Adding a few vegetarian meals to your meal plan each week will not only help your digestive system, but also the environment.
Walnut and Lentil Tacos
[Photo courtesy of Josh Graham]
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus 3-12 hours if soaking walnuts)
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 tacos
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup lentils
- 1 onion, julienned
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
- Salsa and guacamole
- Soak the walnuts in water for 3-12 hours, changing the water every few hours.
- Add the dry lentils to a pot of boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, around 15-20 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté until softened.
- While the onions and lentils are cooking, rinse and drain the walnuts. Add the walnuts, spices, and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has a consistency that resembles ground beef.
- Once the lentils have cooked, drain and cool.
- Carefully peel off a few leaves of the cabbage. Peel them off from the bottom near the stem to keep them intact. Wash and pat dry.
- To construct your taco, add the lentils, onions, and walnut “meat” into your cabbage. Top with cilantro, salsa, and guacamole.
Note: Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge and are a delicious meat alternative for salads.
Need more vegetarian taco inspiration?