Vegan taco filling (6+ servings)


Whenever I'm in the mood for a new vegan recipe, I go right to the Post Punk Kitchen. Not only does the blog have a kick-ass name, but it's also loaded with creative animal product-free recipes, from drool-worthy chickpea cutlets to sweet, homey apple crisp. The ancho lentil tacos recipe is one of my favorites, especially if we're having friends over. It's simple to make, and it easily feeds at least four people. I love festooning the table with a variety of bowls, each filled with a different topping or accent ingredient. It makes me look like I spent much more time preparing for company than I really did.

I made two big changes to the original recipe: I used chipotle powder instead of ancho chile powder, and I cooked the onion for much longer than suggested. The original recipe suggests only lightly browning the onion, but I have to cook it thoroughly to prevent my insides from rebelling. If you're okay with semi-raw onions, feel free to follow the original directions.

You will need:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from 1 cup dried)
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp hot sauce 
  • Small flour tortillas (make sure they aren't made with lard!)
  • A variety of vegan or non-vegan toppings: jalapeno slices, avocado, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, salsa, toasted corn, green onions, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, etc.

Spice mix:

  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Sort through the dried lentils to check for any sticks or stones, and then rinse the lentils with cold water and drain. Add the lentils and 2 cups water to a stockpot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour -- whenever they're tender. Drain off any leftover water and allow the lentils to cool. (I usually do this step in the morning and then use the lentils to make dinner later that day.)
  2. Combine the spice mix ingredients in a small bowl and set them aside.
  3. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt until everything is deep brown and soft (at least 20 minutes).
  4. Add the spices to the onions and toss for 30 seconds. Add the lentils to the skillet, along with the tomato paste, hot sauce, and few teaspoons of water. Fold the lentils into the onion mixture, mashing them with the back of your spoon or spatula as you go. Add more water if the mixture gets crumbly. Continue doing this until the mixture is well-mashed and well-combined. Add more salt, if needed. Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings.

The mixture itself is totally vegan; the way I served it in the photo, with sour cream and cheese, is not vegan, of course. Last year, I made this recipe for our friends Lisa and James, and although they recently moved out of state, they're always in our hearts! Miss you both!