Spiced Lentil Tacos
I was asked by a friend recently about strategies we use to cook for a week at a time – which has become the Fred’s main practice. While we used to be able to, and enjoyed, cooking almost every night together, these days between evening meetings for work, nights out with friends and extracurricular activities we often either aren’t home at all for dinner (usually meaning we take lunch and dinner to work), or one of us walks in the door right at the end of acceptable dinner time – about 8:30pm – meaning we sit right down and need to have food prepared ahead of time. This situation has led us to change the way we do most of our cooking. Now, each week we switch off who is in charge of feeding us for the week. That person does the grocery shopping, cooking and tupperwaring of the meals. When they cook and what they cook are up to that person so long as there’s always food to take for lunch and dinner, but typically we both tend to cook for most of the week on Sunday evenings and then supplement with something easy during the week if need be. Hence our friend’s question about strategies and recipes we use to make food for a whole week on one day.
These lentil tacos are the perfect example, and one of the Freds’ favorite weeknight dinners. Since the only real cooking required for this meal is making a big pot of spiced lentils for the filling, and the rest of the ingredients remain separated and fresh until the moment of taco assembly, this is really an ideal ‘make-ahead’ meal. I like to make it on really nice Sundays when I don’t want to spend my whole afternoon inside cooking (I do enough of that on the rainy days!). I can whip this up in no time at the end of a long day spent playing outside and viola, we now have three nights of dinner for the two of us! While the lentils simmer I can make a simple pasta dish for the other two evenings and do all the prep work for a quinoa or wheat berry salad for lunch, that can be on the stove cooking as I take care of the dishes. And there you go – healthy, satisfying dinners and lunches for the week with just an hour’s worth of work!
Spiced Lentil Tacos (adapted from Self Magazine)
These tacos are easily made vegan by subbing vegan sour cream and serving without cheese.
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 cup dried brown lentils, thoroughly rinsed
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 recipe of taco seasoning
8-12 taco shells (depending on how full you fill them!)
grated cheddar or jack cheese
First, make your taco seasoning by combining all ingredients and mixing thoroughly until completely combined.
Next, heat your oil in large saucepan set over medium-high heat. When hot, add your onion and a pinch of salt and cook until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add your garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add your lentils and taco seasoning, stirring to coat the lentils with seasoning, and cook while stirring an additional minute. Add your broth and bring to a boil, then reduce your heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Once tender, uncover your lentils and if necessary, continue to cook until the mixture thickens.
While your lentils are simmering, combine your sour cream, chipotle chile and adobo sauce in a bowl.
When your lentils are finished, serve in warmed taco shells with a healthy dollop of chipotle sour cream and whatever other fixings you please!