Are you ready to reinvent taco night?! Lentil Mushroom Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce are waiting for you!
Lentil Mushroom Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce are hearty and satisfying. The lentil/quinoa “meat” has taco seasoning and fire roasted tomatoes – it’s topped with big strips of sauteed portobello mushrooms, and all of it is drizzled with a creamy chipotle sauce that’s a little spicy, super smoky, and slightly sweet.
It is pretty rare that I eat a meal without meat or other some other kind of animal protein – eggs or cheese. If I don’t I am usually hungry again within an hour or two. Growing up in the Midwest, the it’s not a complete meal if there isn’t any meat mentality is kind of ingrained in me. Not that this is a bad thing, don’t get me wrong, I love eating meat and honestly know that I don’t have it in me to be a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. BUT I do try to treat my vegetables as the main course and the meat the side dish when I eat at home. The result has been better digestion, more energy, and more clarity. The occasions that I do end up eating heavy on the meat and low on the veggies is when I really notice a difference. I usually have a lump in my stomach that won’t go away for hours, not a fun feeling. There is this BBQ restaurant that Paul and I eat at every once in a while. They have ALL of the delicious different kinds of BBQ meat you can imagine, smoked and smothered in seasoning and BBQ sauce BUT their sides are limited. You can get a tiny cup of baked beans, coleslaw, mac and cheese, and a huge slice of corn bread. All tasty but my body kinda hates me after I eat that way. My solution so we can still enjoy this amazing BBQ is to order it for carry out, eat it at home and whip up a big salad or roast up some veggies. We usually end up having meat leftover for days!
My point to this is that I thought it would be a fun challenge to find a plant based meal that would truly satisfy me for hours, it needed to be packed with protein and fiber and be hearty and satisfying. These Lentil Mushroom Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce fit the bill! This recipe is inspired by Quick and Easy Lentil Quesadillas from Pinch of Yum. With or without the cheese I never once felt like I wasn’t satisfied when I ate those quesadillas! I knew a mixture of lentils and quinoa would act as the perfect “ground meat” substitute for my plant based tacos because they are packed with protein and fiber. One taco has almost 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber! I usually eat two tacos per meal, that would equal 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber! We show that ground beef taco meat who’s boss, eh lentils?! Both Paul and I have eaten these tacos as our meal without any animal protein of any kind and we have both felt satisfied and stayed hungry until the next meal. That’s a huge deal for Paul because he has a metabolism like you would not believe. I would call that a vegan meal challenge success!
Lentil Mushroom Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce would make a great weeknight meal, they only take 40 minutes to make and they make a large batch, about 16 tacos! I tend to go heavy on the mushrooms and have a good amount of the lentil/quinoa mixture left over. You could make the leftovers into quesadillas or freeze it for future tacos! Bonus points for Lentil Mushroom Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce!!!
Let’s talk about that creamy chipotle sauce for a minute. It contains raw, soaked cashews to make it creamy BIG SHOCKER – I’ve been obsessed lately. I originally had no intention of making the sauce creamy BUT there was some leftover cashew cream from another recipe I made (coming soon) hanging out in the fridge needing to be used – I thought what the heck, throw it in there, see what happens! MAGIC that’s what happened! This Creamy Chipotle Sauce really deserves its own recipe because it could go on almost everything! Don’t be surprised if I refer back to this recipe for future uses just for the sauce! Anyways the sauce is smoky, slightly spicy, tomato-y, slightly sweet, with a hint of rich creamy goodness from those raw cashews!!! Trust me, that sauce takes these lentil mushroom tacos from a score of 7 to a 15!!!
Lentil Mushroom Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce are here for your taco Tuesdays and your plant based eating needs!
- 1 cup uncooked green or brown lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth (or sub water)
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- 3 tablespoons gluten free taco seasoning*
- 1 15 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes + ½ can leftover tomatoes from sauce (ingredients below)
- salt to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons butter (use vegan to keep vegan/dairy free)
- 10 (or more) portobello mushrooms, cut into wide strips
- salt to taste
- CREAMY CHIPOTLE SAUCE
- ½ cup canned diced fire roasted tomatoes (reserve the remainder of the can for the lentils)
- ¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for 8 hours (or 1 hour in very hot water)
- 1 small chipotle chili in adobo sauce**
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1¼ teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar or maple syrup
- salt to taste
- FOR SERVING
- 16 soft or hard tortilla shells
- Lime wedges
- Cilantro Leaves
- To a medium sized sauce pot with a lid add the lentils and vegetable broth, stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in quinoa and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the lentils and quinoa are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the lid and keep the heat on low. Stir in the taco seasoning, and the can of fire roasted tomatoes plus the ½ can of fire roasted tomatoes left over from the sauce. Allow to simmer until the tomato liquid has reduced and the taco seasoning has thickened. Salt to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep worm.
- While the lentils are cooking begin cooking the mushrooms. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the mushrooms, working in batches, if needed, so you don't overcrowd the pan. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mushrooms should be nice and browned and tender. salt to taste.
- CREAMY CHIPOTLE SAUCE
- Drain the cashews. Add all of the ingredients except the salt and agave nectar to a blender. Blend on high for about 1 minute, or until completely smooth. Add salt to taste and the agave nectar to taste. Transfer to a serving dish.
- Heat the desired amount of tortilla shells according to package directions. If using soft shell and have a gas stove I like to heat them directly on the burner, on a low heat until they are warm and just slightly charred, about 30 second to 1 minute per side.
- To assemble a taco place about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the lentil mixture in the taco followed by 1 to 2 mushroom slices, drizzle with the sauce. Top with a few cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime wedge, if desired. Eat immediately.
- I suggest serving all the ingredients in their own dishes and allowing guests to assemble each taco just before they eat it!
- Store leftovers in separate air tight containers for up to 5 days. If you have leftover lentil "meat" you can freeze for up to 6 months.
**I would rate this sauce to have a mild spice. All peppers vary in spiciness I would add a half of a pepper or a small one to start with then add more depending on desired spiciness. You can always serve with hot sauce on the side for anyone who likes it extra spicy.
Cook time does not include time needed to soak the cashews.
Recipe inspired by Pinch of Yum's Quick and Easy Lentil Quesadillas
The nutrition facts are calculated for 1 taco, I usually eat 2 tacos per meal. I DID NOT include the taco shells into the calculation because their nutrition facts vary depending on what brand you use.