Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vegan Tacos

Full disclosure, this is not my photo, nor is it how we enjoyed our vegan taco "meat". In the excitement of the moment I forgot to take a photo. So this came from a blog The Ordinary Vegetarian.

After 6 weeks in Hungary, a sailing trip in the Greek Isles and a trip to London and Stockholm with her mother Tina wants nothing but her favorites which included a taco dinner. However, we invited a vegetarian friend over to join us. This was the perfect opportunity for me to make a vegan taco meat, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I just have to say, this was wonderful, over the top in fact and even Tina liked it. Although we had traditional taco meat on hand as well. I always struggle with a taco meal menu and always end up with an overly starchy meal. I served this with a Mexican style rice and refried beans. Admittedly we all enjoyed all of it but it was a starchy load of beans, rice and lentils. You can hardly count the garnishes a serving of vegetables. We served the taco meat in traditional hard taco shells but this vegan rendition would be great in tortillas or even as a taco salad!

Vegan Taco Meat

2 teaspoons olive oil
one onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup red lentils

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Saute onions and garlic for a few minutes, add the pepper and mushrooms and continue to saute a few more minutes. Add the lentils, carrots, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, bay leave, salt and cayenne. Saute for one minute, stir in broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture starts to dry out add more broth.

Remove from heat. Most of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the tomato paste and lime juice. At this point decide what consistency you want. I put half the mixture into a food processor and processes slightly and returned it to the pan. I wanted a more crumbly texture, not a puree. You could skip this step altogether as it didn't really do much. Taste for salt and add more if needed.

Serve as you like.