These easy Vegan Lentil Tacos with a homemade Avocado Pico de Gallo make the absolute best healthy weeknight dinner when that taco craving hits. I've been making these spicy lentil tacos for years and I can attest they are always a hit with everyone!
*Recipe originally shared in May 2018 and updated January 2020*
I don't know about you, but there is something just SO fun about homemade taco night. If you loved making my Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos or Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos, then these lentil tacos will be right up your alley!
- Taco seasoning: have used Trader Joe's taco seasoning, Primal Palate Taco Seasoning, and Simply Organic taco seasoning for this recipe so I can solidly recommend those brands.
- However, if you have a favorite taco seasoning it will likely work in this recipe too! If for any reason you can't find taco seasoning near you, here is an easy taco seasoning recipe that also works well for these lentil tacos.
- Lentils: For this recipe, please use brown lentils! Brown lentils hold their shape during cooking and are more likely to resemble a "taco meat" as the lentil taco filling.
- They take a little longer to cook than red lentil varieties (25-30 minutes), but still take on the flavor of whatever spices they are cooked with.
How to make easy vegan lentil tacos
Making lentil tacos is one of the easiest plant-based dinner recipes full of protein, vegetables, and tons of flavor. Here is a breakdown of the easy steps needed to make these vegan tacos.
Make the lentil taco meat:
Once you've assembled all the taco ingredients, add the lentils, vegetable broth, and ½ Tbsp of taco seasoning to a small saucepan. I like to start with 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth and add up to 1 ½ cups if the lentils are sticking to the pan before they are done cooking.
Here are a few tips for cooking perfect lentils every time:
- Make sure to rinse lentils before cooking. They are notorious for having debris or rocks in them, so it's worth that extra rinse! Lentils do not need to be soaked before being cooked.
- Cook lentils uncovered so they don't turn mushy or soupy.
- Add spices to the lentils during cooking, but wait to add salt until after the lentils are cooked. If you add salt too early, the lentils usually don't correctly.
- Bring the lentils to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Boiling the lentils will cook them too hard, too fast. Lentils cook best at a gentle simmer!
While the lentils are cooking you will also cook the vegetables in a cast-iron skillet with seasoning for about 5 minutes until cooked, but still crispy. Don't overcook the vegetables until they are super soft- it just doesn't taste as good in tacos!
Once the lentils are done cooking, add them to the skillet with the vegetables, add in some lime juice, and stir to combine.
Make the avocado pico de gallo
Now that we have the lentil taco filling ready to go, we can bring these tacos to the next level by adding in some homemade avocado pico de gallo! Making avocado pico de gallo literally takes 5-10 minutes and adds so much flavor to these tacos.
Simply dice the tomatoes, red onion, jalapeño, and avocado. Add them to a bowl with cilantro and lime juice and mix everything together. Then, season with salt as the last step. That's truly all you need to know to make homemade pico de gallo!
This vegan lentil taco recipe calls for about 1-2 Tbsp jalapeño so it does have a spicy kick. If that's not your thing, just omit the jalapeño or reduce it for a milder pico de gallo.
FAQ & Tips:
If you can only find red lentils, those will work, but they likely fall apart for a "mushier" lentil taco. Red lentil tacos will still taste excellent but will be a different texture than you see pictured.
Also, the cooking time varies by the type of lentil you choose, so make sure to review the package instructions for more concrete instructions if you venture outside of brown lentils!
Leftover lentil taco meat can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
The avocado pico de gallo is best enjoyed the day of as it does not keep well as leftovers (the avocados will brown in the fridge).
Lentils really are the star of this recipe, as they soak up all the spices and leave you with a mouth-watering and flavorful filling. Pair these Vegan Lentil Tacos with a refreshing Tequila Smash cocktail and you have a delicious vegan taco night ahead. Enjoy!
More plant-based dinner recipes you will love:
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Vegan Lentil Tacos
- 8 medium taco shells
- ½ cup dried brown lentils red also works, but is not preferred and it will affect cooking time
- 1 ¼- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 medium white onion about 1 cup chopped
- 1 large red or green pepper about 1 cup chopped
- 2 small garlic cloves minced
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 ½ Tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- salt & pepper to taste
Avocado Pico de Gallo
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 1 small avocado or ½ large, diced
- ½ jalapeno pepper about 1-2 Tbsp diced
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice 1-2 limes
- 6-8 sprigs fresh cilantro use the leaves only and discard stems, add more to taste if wanted
- salt & pepper to taste
Make the Lentil Tacos:
- First, dice all the veggies and rinse the lentils to remove any debris. Then, add the veggie broth, lentils, and ½ Tbsp of the taco seasoning to a small saucepan. Cook the lentils uncovered for 25-30 minutes until they are soft. Check and stir periodically to make sure the lentils are not getting overcooked. Start with 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth and add up to ¼ cup more broth if the lentils are sticking to the pan before cooked through. The lentils are done when they are slightly crunchy on the outside(not mushy!), soft and tender inside, and no liquid is left in the pan. As a final step, season the cooked lentils with salt and pepper to taste.
- While the lentils are cooking, add 1 Tbsp of oil to a large pan or cast iron skillet and turn the heat on. Once the oil is hot, add in the chopped onion, garlic, red/green pepper, and 1 Tbsp of taco seasoning. Saute for 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked, but still crispy. Then, turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked lentils to the skillet with vegetables and 1 tsp of lime juice. Stir to mix everything together. Then, fill each taco shell with 1 scoop of the lentil taco filling!
Avocado Pico de Gallo:
- Begin by dicing all the vegetables. Then add the tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, and lime juice to a small bowl and mix until combined. Next, gently mix in your chopped cilantro and chopped avocado.
- Serve the avocado pico de gallo on top of any taco or enjoy alone with chips!
- Leftover lentil taco meat can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or up to 1 month in the freezer and reheated before eating.
- Avocado pico de gallo does not store well and is best eaten on the day it is made. If you do have leftovers, make sure to store in a separate container from the lentil taco filling in the fridge.
Ragene Gwin says
Can canned lentils be used for this recipe?
Megan Horowitch says
Are they pre cooked? If so, then yes, just add them in when you would add in the cooked lentils.
Perfect Recipe for Taco Tuesdays!
Thank you Daryl- I totally agree- taco Tuesdays are the best 🙂
Love this recipe! It was really easy to make and really good!
So happy you liked it 🙂 It's def a fave here too!
Even though I prefer tacos with meat in them, I really liked these as a veggie option. Thanks for the delicious recipe!