Lentil walnut taco “meat” is a vegan take on taco filling. It’s packed with tons of veggies alongside finely chopped walnuts, smashed lentils, and plenty of seasonings. This plant-based recipe comes together quickly and makes enough for leftovers that can even be frozen for later use.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my affiliate disclosure.
We love tacos in the Streit house. Seriously…we have some version of them at least once a week. One of our favorite taco recipes comes from Will’s great great aunt Wilma. Made with finely chopped veggies and herbs, it’s some of the best taco meat out there!
I used Wilma’s recipe as base for this plant-based lentil walnut taco meat. It features the same veggies that Wilma uses — onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot, and parsley — but I added cooked lentils and chopped walnuts in place of the ground beef. The lentils and walnuts combined yield a meat-like texture.
I’m happy to report that my experimentation turned out really well! Vegan taco “meat” with lentils is super flavorful. But that’s not to say I won’t be enjoying Wilma’s meat anymore. I’ll be making her recipe in addition to this one. I told you we like tacos!
How to Make Lentil Walnut Taco Meat
The full recipe card, with the ingredients list and instructions, is available at the end of the post. Scroll down or use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post to see it. Here’s a preview of the steps, followed by my expert tips.
- Pulse the walnuts in the food processor.
- Add the veggies and pulse.
- Cook the walnut, veggie mixture, and seasonings in oil in a skillet.
- Add the cooked lentils. Cook until warmed through.
- Food processor: This is the food processor that I use. If you have one, it’s definitely worth using to get the walnuts and veggies into finely chopped pieces. But if you don’t have a food processor, you can still make lentil walnut taco meat! Just chop the veggies and walnuts by hand as best you can.
- Prep ahead tips: Cook the lentils in advance to cut back on prep time. Store them in the fridge until you’re ready to make the recipe. You can also use pre-cooked lentils, like the kind available at Trader Joe’s and other stores.
- Topping ideas: Vegan toppings include shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, chopped parsley, hot sauce, or salsa. My Garlic Avocado Spread or Healthy Creamy Jalapeno Sauce would be especially delicious on top of tacos using this meat. If you don’t need your meal to be vegan, feel free to add shredded cheese and sour cream.
- Storage and freezing: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet with a little oil until warmed through. You can also freeze the taco meat in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a skillet.
More Taco Recipes
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Lentil Walnut Taco Meat
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 white onion - cut into quarters
- 1 bell pepper - seeds and stem removed, cut into chunks
- 1 carrot - peeled and cut into chunks
- ½ cup parsley leaves - loosely packed
- 4 cloves garlic - smashed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Cook the lentils according to package instructions to yield 2 cups. You can do this up to several days in advance (just keep them in the fridge) or use pre-cooked lentils available at some grocery stores.
- Add the walnuts to a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, parsley leaves, and smashed garlic cloves to the food processor with the walnuts. Pulse until everything is finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the walnut and vegetable mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the veggies are tender and most of the water from the mixture has steamed off.
- Add the cooked lentils to the skillet along with the chili powder, oregano, garlic salt, and salt. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, smashing some of the lentils with your spoon, until everything is warmed through.
- Remove from heat and serve as desired!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post).
- Serve in taco shells or tortillas with lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa, or hot sauce. If you don’t need the recipe to be vegan, consider serving with shredded cheese and sour cream.
- You can also use this “meat” in burrito bowls or taco salads.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a skillet with a little oil until warmed through.
Happy taco eating! – Lizzie