Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Recipe Review – Salsa Verde Lentil Tacos
After trying to go on a bit of a ‘no-meat’ protein boost, I fell into a deep l-hole, which is of course searching through links upon links of different lentil recipes on the world wide web. Lentils are a great source of protein, iron, folate, and dietary fibers and can lower cholesterol, stabilize blood pressure, increase energy, and reduce your risk of heart disease. Did I just google ‘health benefits of lentils’ and copy verbatim the information on the first two websites? Yes of course, I am not a damn lentil doctor over here.
I haven’t cooked a lot with this little legume, but I stopped dead in my tracks when I came across this mother of a dish on The Ambitious Kitchen.
So, I will admit, I am not the greatest for following recipes completely, and there are no exceptions to be had here:
- Instead of tomatillos, I opted for regular plain boring tomatoes.
- I used fresh peach in place of the sweetness of the mango and pomegranate pico, as
I was too lazy to look for themthey were no longer available in my local grocery store
- In place of the poblano, I roasted a rehydrated dried guajillo chili. Guajillo chilis are a moderately hot pepper and are most commonly used in salsas/sauces or to boost flavour in soups or stews, however I chose it because I had it lying around (super culinary reason, I know). By the way, if you are looking for a very interesting podcast about chilies, I highly recommend How Chili Peppers work from Chuck and Josh at Stuff you Should Know!
- I went for a no cheese option, but a good queso fresco or feta would be a delicious salty addition.
One great thing about tacos (there are a million other great things by the way) is that you can really smash a variety of different ingredients into a recipe and they will still turn out great. Just make sure you have a hot and fresh tortilla and you are set for deliciousness abound.
Monique’s recipe was very easy to follow (well, the small amounts that I actually did follow) and the lentils and sauce turned out amazing. The salsa was just a tinge spicy, nothing too overbearing or hothothot, and you could definitely taste the broiled goodness of the tomatoes and the peppers. The prep and cook time was accurate (about an hour to make a masterpiece taco), and you really don’t need a lot of fancy equipment for this to go down. Make sure you have a blender! If you were planning on making your own tortillas, you should definitely invest in a tortilla press and some masa flour. It will pay for it self in no time, trust me. This is definitely one of those recipes that you will eat for dinner, then breakfast the next morning, and then you will probably hook up the last remaining leftovers for a sneaky lunch as well. Ain’t no life better than the taco life, am I right?
Ugh, just delicious. I am already getting serious taco flashbacks.
Salsa Verde Lentil Tacos
Adapted from The Ambitious Kitchen
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked green lentils
2-3 large tomatoes
1 mexican chili of your choice (try with a variety of peppers! Taste the rainbow!)
1 jalapeño, cut in half and seeded
1/2 white onion
1 small head of garlic or 2-3 little unpeeled clove friends
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Red Onion, to top and garnish
Peach, to top and garnish
Cilantro, to top and garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste
Corn tortillas (or make your own!)
- Pre-heat your oven, as you will be broiling in a few short steps!
- To make the lentils: wash lentils and strain. Add unsalted water and lentils to a medium sized pot and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are fork tender and water has absorbed most if not all of the water. Check for doneness rather than inspecting water levels! You are looking for a lentil that is soft, but that can still hold it’s shape; if they start looking like a pot of mushy beans, you have gone too far. Once lentils are cooked, drain any leftover water and remove from heat.
- While lentils are cooking, make the sauce. Cut tomato, white onion, jalapenos and other pepper selection, and place cut side down on a foil-lined pan. Add garlic to the mix and place under the broiler for 5-8 minutes or until a majority of the skins have browned with some black charred spots. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can move the super hot vegetables right away, burning your precious fingers immediately, you know, like the smart people do.
- Once cooled enough to handle, peel the blackened skin from pepper, if necessary, and discard. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from their skin and add to a blender along with the rest of the broiled ingredients. Add in cilantro and lime juice; blend for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
- Stir in 1 cup of sauce into cooked lentils. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you find that the sauce is just a bit runny, you can simmer the mixture for a short time to thicken up the juices. Just remember to keep a mindful eye to not overcook them lentils. Reserve extra sauce for garnish.
- Top tacos with cilantro, red onion, a squirt of lime juice and diced or sliced peaches. Consume voraciously and with no reservation.
Thank you to Monique from the Ambition Kitchen for this recipe!
What is your favorite taco recipe? Are you a traditionalist taco taster, or are you into the hard shell kind of life?