Monday, May 7, 2012

Lentil Tacos

Growing up, taco night was a pretty regular thing at our house. We had the crunchy shells, the ground beef cooked with packaged taco seasoning, and cheese - that's all I wanted on my tacos at least. Mom always provided tomatoes and lettuce, but I can't say I ever added them on top. Tacos are MEANT to be just meat and cheese.

Since abstaining from meat (we expelled it from our lives in September 2011), I can't say I've missed it at all. But the other day I was craving a good old taco. I decided to try cooking lentils in the crock pot with (ahem) packaged taco seasoning and see how it went.

Well, it worked! It took longer to cook than I had anticipated (one site I found suggested cooking lentils in the crock pot for 4 hours - that was NOT long enough!) so I ended up finishing them up on the stove top for speed's sake.
I bought the crunchy shells and, as we had run out of vegan cheese and I didn't have time to drive 30 minutes to Whole Foods, I even broke down and bought a block of normal cheese. It was a throw-back to my childhood and we all loved it! (I tell you, cheese is like crack around here.) We topped it with our favorite Costco salsa and ate the leftovers for the next week. I can't say it tastes JUST like meat, but the texture, in my opinion, was spot-on, and the flavors too.

Cheap, practically effortless, and healthy! (Well, at least the lentils are.)

Lentil Tacos

1 lb. lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones
8 c. water (you may need more - check it periodically throughout cooking WITHOUT lifting the lid)
1/2 c. (or more to taste) taco seasoning

Cook lentils on low in the crock pot for 8 hrs. Season more if desired. Use anywhere you would use taco meat. And rejoice in the healthier choice you're making!

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