Best Vegan Tacos {with Lentil Taco Meat}

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There family favorite Vegan Tacos have been given a plant-based makeover. With a vegan taco meat that takes less than 20 minutes to make, dinner will be on the table in no time!

an overhead view of a row of vegan tacos on a white plate

I have to say, I’ve never met a taco I didn’t immediately fall head-over-heels for. Taco Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. I’m not picky.

Best of all, it’s one of those meals that everyone just seems to love. Kids. Teens. Parents. No one’s gonna complain when it’s taco night, and now with this insanely simple vegan taco recipe, you have no reason to miss out.

In fact, I fed these to my meat-lovin teenage boy, and he absolutely deMOLished them, just like I know your whole family will.

I’m just gonna put it out there right now – make double, triple, or quadruple of this vegan taco filling, because there’s a major chance they’ll all be coming back for seconds.

Reasons why you’ll love this Vegan Taco Recipe

  • super budget-friendly
  • uses staple ingredients
  • everyone loves taco night
  • the lentil taco meat comes together in no time!
  • tacos are very customizable
  • even meat-eaters will love this recipe

Ingredients and Substitutions

So let’s talk ingredients here. There aren’t many, and there’s a chance you already have them on hand. Many vegan taco fillings use TVP (textured vegetable protein) as a base, and while that’s a valid option, I would prefer to use real whole foods that I know my body will benefit from better.

an overhead view of all ingredients needed to make vegan tacos - labeled with text.

Lentils – The base of these veggie tacos is a super simple lentil “meat”. It’s up to you whether you want to start from dried lentils or opt for a simpler already-cooked canned lentil. Whatever you have time for

Alternately, if you don’t want to use lentils or don’t have them in the pantry, feel free to swap them out for black or kidney beans. Give them a little mash while cooking, and you’ll be set!

Salsa – totally up to you on what kind of salsa to use here. I’ve used a black bean and corn salsa as well as fresh restaurant-style salsa. All works well here. I generally just use whatever we happen to have open already. Try Chile Crema for a spicy, tangy, creamy salsa!

Nutritional Yeast – Fortified with B12, this “nooch” is an ingredient that will add a nutty cheesy sort of flavor that really kicks it up a notch. I know it can be somewhat of a controversial ingredient, and if you’re not into using it, feel free to omit. It will not kill the experience – I promise!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Vegan Tacos

Full ingredient amounts and in-depth details are at the bottom of the post on a printable recipe card.

Step 1 – In a medium to large skillet, add all of the ingredients (excluding the toppings).

Step 2 – Cook over medium low heat while stirring often for 10-15 minutes. Add small amounts of water 1-2 Tablespoons at a time if the mixture seems too dry.

a side by side collage of 2 images. the left image shows vegan meat ingredients in a pan. The right image shows ingredients cooked together.

Step 3 – To assemble, fill taco shells with lentil taco meat 1/4 to 1/2 full. Add toppings of your choice and serve.

Couldn’t be easier!

tacos filled and lined up on a white plate on a white background

Insider Pro Tips

Use canned Lentils

One of my favorite hacks for recipes that use lentils (like my vegan meatloaf) is to use already cooked canned lentils. I have no problem cooking dried lentils (which I have instructions for in the recipe card notes), but using canned lentils just gets dinner on the table that much faster.

And I know you know what I’m talkin about – when the kids are hungry and it’s been a busy day, you just gotta whip it up as fast as you can!

Turn it into a Taco Salad

Looking for a little bit of a lower-carb option? Skip the taco shell and throw in all in a big bowl with romaine lettuce, baby spinach, and spring greens.

I’m a huge fan of a big salad, and I know my family would rather go to sleep hungry than eat a salad for dinner. So I serve them up tacos and make exactly what I want, which is a salad. No extra fuss on my end!

Veggie Tacos FAQs

Can I use a bean instead of lentils?

Yes, you can absolutely use a bean instead of lentils. Black and kidney beans work really well in this recipe. Because they’re a little bigger than lentils, I like to give them a bit of a mash while cooking with the other ingredients.

Can I freeze the taco filling?

This is a great recipe to double and freeze what you don’t use. Store in a freezer safe container or a freezer ziploc bag. Will last up to 6 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight and heat on the stove.

a row of vegan tacos on a white plate

Now that you know how to easy it is to make these Vegan Tacos, please give it a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating below and comment letting me know how it turned out for you.

Vegan Tacos

a close up row of vegan tacos on a white plate
There family favorite Vegan Tacos have been given a plant-based makeover. With a vegan taco meat that takes less than 20 minutes to make, dinner will be on the table in no time!
Louisa
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 6 taco shells of choice

Optional toppings

  • shredded vegan cheese
  • vegan sour cream
  • chopped onions/scallions
  • chopped tomatoes
  • cilantro
  • shredded lettuce

Instructions

  • In a medium to large skillet, add all of the ingredients (excluding the toppings).
  • Cook over medium/low hear while stirring often for 10-15 minutes. If the mixture seems too dry, you can add small amounts of water (1-2 tablespoons at a time). Set aside.
  • Take one taco shell and fill with the lentil mixture 1/4 to 1/2 full.
  • Add toppings of your choice on top and serve.

Notes

Nutritional information does not include taco shells or toppings. It is only for the vegan taco meat.
Substitute Beans instead of Lentils: You can absolutely use a bean instead of lentils. Black and kidney beans work really well in this recipe. Because they’re a little bigger than lentils, I like to give them a bit of a mash while cooking with the other ingredients.
Freeze taco filling – This is a great recipe to double and freeze what you don’t use. Store in a freezer safe container or a freezer ziploc bag. Will last up to 6 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight and heat on the stove.
To cook lentils from dried – If you are making lentils from dried rather than using canned lentils, combine 1 cup of dried lentils with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are tender and water has been absorbed. Use cooked lentils in recipe as instructed.

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