Lentils are low in calories and high in nutrients, and I love how any spices you cook them with get soaked right up. In this case, the lentils taste remarkably similar to real taco meat, but I think the overall texture is even better when you add coarsely ground walnuts for crunch. Together, lentils and nuts provide a great source of plant-based protein and omega-3 fatty acids for a healthier taco night.
Prep: 10 minutes
Pressurize: 8 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Natural Release: 10 minutes
Total: 33 minutes
1 cup green or brown lentils
1¼ cups water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 yellow onion, chopped
One 14-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
¾ cup walnut halves
Lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, and avocado, or your favorite taco toppings, for serving
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
12 taco shells, for serving
1 Combine the lentils, water, cumin, and chili powder in the Instant Pot. Stir well to ensure the lentils are covered in liquid, then sprinkle the onion and canned tomatoes (along with their juices) over the top, without stirring. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing . Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
2 While the lentils are cooking, finely chop the walnuts and chop the lettuce, fresh tomatoes, green onions, and avocado.
3 When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid and use a fork to mash a lentil against the side of the pot to make sure it’s tender. If the lentils aren’t tender, secure the lid (be sure the sealing ring is properly seated in the lid) and cook at high pressure for 2 minutes more. Let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes before venting and removing the lid.
4 Stir in the salt and chopped walnuts. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. To serve, spoon the taco “meat” into taco shells, and top with lettuce, tomato, green onion, and avocado. Store leftover taco “meat” in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.
MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE This recipe is naturally gluten-free when served with corn tortillas, or use lettuce wraps as a low-carb and grain-free alternative.