Spiced Lentil Tacos Recipe

spiced lentil tacos
spiced lentil tacos

Packed with a variety of tongue-tingling flavors, Chef Ryan’s vegan, oil-free Spiced Lentil Tacos are sure to bring some zing to your next mealtime.

Even better, their star ingredient is a nutritional winner, and in more than one way!

In January, I spent a week discussing the incredible benefits of consuming legumes. However, I overlooked one crucial detail: in terms of their antioxidant power, which one came out on top? 

So here’s the vital information, courtesy of a study (Zhao et al.) from researchers at China’s Northwest A&F University’s School of Food Science and Engineering.

They tested ten different legumes:

  • pinto beans
  • baby lima beans
  • lentils 
  • chickpeas
  • cowpeas
  • small red beans 
  • black beans 
  • navy bans 
  • mung beans 
  • red kidney beans

And the winner was…


Lentils not only had the highest antioxidant score. They also finished first in: 

  • phenolic content
  • DPPH – scavenging activity
  • total reducing power

An earlier study from North Dakota State University’s Department of Cereal and Food Sciences (Xu et al.) reached a similar conclusion: 

“With powerful antioxidant activities against LDL oxidation and free radicals, lentils seem to be the best among all tested food legumes for the development of a dietary supplement for promoting heart health and for preventing cancers.”

Dr. Michael Greger has an excellent video reviewing these and more studies at NutritionFacts.org – perfect viewing while you’re making Chef Ryan’s Spicy Lentil Tacos!



Spiced Lentil Tacos

  • Author: Karen Rominger
  • Yield: 2-3 servings 1x


6 corn tortillas or any brand you like

½ cup onion

3 cloves garlic

1 ½ cups carrot

1 ¼ cups lentils

2 ½ cups vegetable broth

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 T tamari

1 T coconut sugar or maple syrup

1 T nutritional yeast

1 T lime juice

1 cup red or green cabbage

Cilantro for garnish

Avocado for garnish

Lime wedges


  1. Finely dice onion, shred carrots, mince garlic, shred cabbage, and chop cilantro.  Halve lime and juice one half.  Reserve other half for wedges.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add splash of vegetable broth, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until tender and slightly browned.
  3. Next, add carrots, lentils, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Add in paprika, cumin, chili powder, tamari, coconut sugar, and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine.
  4. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 20 min., stirring occasionally. Then remove the lid and cook for 5-10 minutes more or until the carrots are tender and the color has deepened and all water is absorbed. Stir occasionally and add more broth (or water) as needed if it dries up. Near the end of cooking, add lime juice and stir.
  5. Scoop half of the mixture into a food processor and mix/pulse to mash some of the lentils and carrots together. This creates a more cohesive texture but isn’t necessary. Add the mixture back in with the rest of the lentils and stir.
  6. Serve the mixture on tortillas. For toppings, you can use any that you like, but we suggest shredded cabbage and cilantro or avocado. Serve with lime wedges or hot sauce!



  • Serving Size: 2
  • Calories: 480
  • Sugar: 25 g
  • Sodium: 970 mg
  • Fat: 3.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 99 g
  • Fiber: 25 g
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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