This simple lentil taco meat is made from lentils and roasted pumpkin seeds. All you need is 15 minutes and a handful of pantry ingredients. It’s an easy, flavorful and versatile vegan protein.
Make a batch of this simple lentil taco “meat” on the weekend and enjoy it in a variety of dishes during the week. All you need to do is toss the ingredients in a food processor, process and you’re done! You can then heat it up in the oven or on the stove and use it in tacos, burritos, salads, bowls and more.
This recipe was originally published in 2019 and has been updated with new photography, more details and extra flavor.
Recipe Ingredients and Notes:
- Lentils: I use canned brown lentils. See the FAQ section for using dry lentils.
- Pumpkin seeds: You can use raw or dry roasted pumpkin seeds. I tested it with salted dry roasted pumpkin seeds and it turned out great!
- Fresh Garlic
- Herbs and Spices: We’re adding herbs and spices to make a taco spice mix. You’ll need chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder.
- Olive Oil: This adds a bit of moisture and healthy fat to the recipe, which helps create a “meaty” texture.
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make a Simple Lentil Taco “Meat”
Here are the steps to make a simple lentil taco “meat”.
- Roast the Seeds
If using raw pumpkin seeds, preheat the oven to 300℉. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Watch carefully in the last minutes to avoid burning. Skip this step if using dry roasted pumpkin seeds.
Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients to a food processor. Once the roasted pumpkin seeds are ready, add them to the food processor as well. Pulse until just combined. Don’t over process as you want to keep some texture from the seeds and lentils.
- Heat and Serve
To heat up the lentil taco “meat”, sauté in a pan with oil until heated through and slightly golden, about 5-10 minutes, or cook in the oven for 15 minutes at 350℉.
Lentil Taco “Meat” FAQ:
You can use walnuts instead of pumpkin seeds if preferred. If using raw walnuts, roast them as you would with the pumpkin seeds. Watch them carefully to avoid burning. Sunflower seeds could also work.
I haven’t tried this recipe with dry lentils, so I can’t guarantee the same results. However, some readers have tried it and said that it worked well. If you want to give it a try, cook your lentils according to the package’s instructions and use 1 3/4 cup of cooked lentils for the recipe. Make sure to remove any excess moisture, though they don’t need to be completely dry.
Use lentil taco “meat” in tacos, burritos, taco salads, wraps, bowls and more.
Yes! You can freeze the taco meat in a sealable container or freezer bag. To use, cook them directly from frozen on a saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil. Sauté until it’s heated through and it reaches your desired texture. Add extra oil if it gets dry or cook it longer if you need to remove some moisture.
More Recipes That You Can Make With a Can of Lentils:
- 15-Minute Lentil Tomato Pasta
- Warm Roasted Carrot, Lentil & Quinoa Salad
- Lentil Quinoa Salad With Nutritional Yeast Dressing
- Loaded Lentil Burritos
- Lentil Lasagna Soup
Simple Lentil Taco Meat
- 1 can 540ml (19oz) lentils
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, raw or dry roasted
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pepper to taste
- If using raw pumpkin seeds, preheat the oven to 300℉. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Watch carefully in the last minutes to avoid burning. Skip this step if using dry roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients to a food processor. Once the roasted pumpkin seeds are ready, add them to the food processor as well. Pulse until just combined. Don't over process as you want to keep some texture from the seeds and lentils.
- Serve cold or warm in tacos, burritos, salads and more.
If you make this lentil taco meat, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!