This recipe for lentil walnut taco meat is incredibly quick and easy to make. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal or weekly meal prep! Enhanced by crunchy walnuts, the vegan taco filling has an amazing texture and deliciously nourishing ingredients!
Along with homemade taco seasoning, this recipe is loaded with flavor and fully approved by non-vegans! It’ll quickly become your favorite way to make vegan tacos.
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Are Lentil Walnut Tacos Vegan?
Most lentil or walnut taco recipes are vegan; both can be used as a ground meat substitute.
There are so many ways to make tasty vegan taco filling but using lentils with walnuts is quite possibly the best combo! The texture of soft lentils and crunchy walnuts is a real winner.
Not to mention this is a very nutritious combination of ingredients. Lentils offer plant-based protein, fiber, complex carbs and lots of vitamins and minerals. Walnuts offer additional protein, fiber and healthy fats, along with other micronutrients!
Together, it’s a delicious and nutritious vegan taco filling.
Vegan Lentil Walnut Taco Meat Ingredients
This recipe is made with simple ingredients, many of which can be customized to your liking! To cook these lentil walnut tacos, you’ll need:
- Lentils: This primary ingredient creates the bulk of the recipe. You can use pre-cooked or canned lentils. If using canned lentils, drain and rinse them before using!
- Walnuts: To create an irresistible texture in your tacos, walnuts are the perfect pairing with lentils. They are crunchy and loaded with nutrition!
- Taco seasoning: I use a homemade taco seasoning blend since I love to control the flavors. I always keep taco seasoning on hand (stored in a mason jar) for quick and delicious tacos!
- Onion and garlic: For extra flavor, I start this recipe with a chopped onion and lots of minced garlic. This is the only chopping required, keeping the recipe quick and easy to make with minimal prep work.
- Oil: You’ll cook the onion and garlic in some oil. This adds extra healthy fats to the taco filling, making the recipe more flavorful and satisfying.
- Tomato paste: Some tomato paste adds acidity and delicious flavor to the tacos.
- Soy sauce: While not a traditional ingredient for tacos, I love the depth of flavor soy sauce provides. It’s an ingredient I often use when making meat substitutes (especially ground beef replacements). There’s just something about the savory saltiness of soy sauce that elevates vegan meat recipes like these tacos!
- Vegetable broth: To help the spices and tomato paste mix evenly over the lentils and walnuts, some vegetable broth is needed. I buy no salt added (or low sodium) vegetable broth; the taco seasoning has all the salt you’ll need!
- Lime juice: Fresh citrus elevates the flavors in any recipe and lime juice is the perfect pairing for tacos!
- Cilantro: This is optional but I’m a huge fan of cilantro and add it to any recipe I can, especially tacos.
How to Make Vegan Lentil Walnut Tacos
Making lentil tacos with walnuts is super quick and easy. There’s very little prep work involved, and it cooks quickly since the lentils are already cooked (or canned).
Step 1: Chop + Cook Onion and Garlic
Chop an onion and mince a few cloves of garlic. If needed, chop your walnuts; I aim for the walnuts to be slightly larger compared to the lentils.
If using canned lentils, drain and rinse them. If using pre-cooked lentils, measure out 4 cups.
In a large pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is softened and begins to turn translucent.
Next, add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Step 2: Cook Taco Filling
At this point, add the lentils, walnuts, taco seasoning, tomato paste, soy sauce, and vegetable broth to the pan. Stir until everything is well combined.
Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. This time allows the flavors to cook together and for the vegetable broth to cook off.
Once there’s no liquid in the bottom of the pan, remove it from the heat. Stir in fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro, if using.
Step 3: Serve
The lentil walnut tacos are ready to serve!
Load a tortilla with the taco filling and all your favorite taco toppings! You could also use this recipe to create a taco salad if you serve it over a bed of chopped lettuce. This also makes a delicious taco bowl if you want to skip the wrap!
Some of my favorite vegan taco toppings include:
- Chopped tomato
- Red or green onion
- Shredded lettuce
- Avocado or guacamole
- Vegan sour cream
- Vegan cheese shreds
- Fresh lime juice
- Enchilada sauce
- Hot sauce
- Jalapeno peppers
Get creative and enjoy!
Walnut Lentil Taco Tips and Variations
You can use any type of cooked lentils for this recipe.
While walnuts are a delicious and nutrition-packed choice, any crunchy nut or seed work for this taco recipe. Pecans are another great choice.
To keep the recipe nut-free, use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for that crunchy texture and boost of healthy fats!
Any taco seasoning will work for this recipe but I love my homemade blend! You can also add extra spicy heat with the addition of cayenne pepper or some hot sauce.
How to Store Leftover Lentil Taco Filling
Refrigerate leftover taco meat in an airtight container for up to a week.
This is a great recipe to make for meal prep. It offers quick and easy lunch or dinners through the week! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much a me and my family do! It’s definitely non-vegan approved!
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Lentil Walnut Taco "Meat"
- 2 tablespoons oil (I use avocado oil but any type works)
- 1 cup onion , diced
- 3-5 cloves garlic , minced
- 4 cups lentils , cooked (2 19 oz cans, drained and rinsed)
- 1 ½ cups walnuts , chopped
- 4 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
- ½ cup vegetable broth (no salt added)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (juice of about ½ lime)
- ¼ cup cilantro (optional)
- Dice onion, mince garlic, chop walnuts and drain/rinse canned lentils (or prep cooked lentils).1 cup onion, 3-5 cloves garlic, 1 ½ cups walnuts, 4 cups lentils
- In a large pan, warm oil over medium heat.2 tablespoons oil
- Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until it softens and starts to become translucent.1 cup onion
- Next, add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minute, until fragrant.3-5 cloves garlic
- Add lentils, chopped walnuts, taco seasoning, tomato paste, soy sauce and vegetable broth. Mix until everything is well combined.4 cups lentils, 1 ½ cups walnuts, 4 tablespoons taco seasoning, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce, ½ cup vegetable broth
- Cook, stirring continuously, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetable broth is absorbed and no liquid remains at the bottom of the pan.
- Remove pan from heat. Stir in lime juice and chopped cilantro (if using).1 tablespoon lime juice, ¼ cup cilantro
- Serve in your favorite tortillas with all the taco fixings you love!
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.