30 Minute Lentil and Mushroom Tacos with all the smoky-spice and rich texture of classic taco meat. These quick and easy veggie tacos will become a healthy, flavorful weeknight favorite.
Why You'll Love these Lentil and Mushroom Tacos
I'll be the first to admit that it can be tricky to make a veggie taco just as satisfying as its meaty counterparts. It needs hearty texture, lots of smoky spice, and enough protein and fat to really compare.
These lentil tacos, however, check ALL of the boxes. The mushrooms add meaty, umami goodness, and the lentils pack in the protein and fiber. Garnish with all the cool, crunchy fixings, and these veggie tacos are plant-based HEROS.
Plus, they come together in just 30 minutes, so you can whip them up any night of the week. Serve them in a toasty tortilla, or make a hearty taco salad on the fly.
Recipe Ingredients and Substituions:
- Mushrooms: Shrooms are my go-to for adding meaty texture and depth of flavor to plant-based cooking. I use cremini (or baby bella) mushrooms in these tacos, however you can also use sliced portobellos. I do not suggest white button mushrooms because they lack the flavor and "oomph" compared to other varieties.
- Lentils: Lentils are fiber and protein powerhouses. They are an excellent swap for meat in vegetarian and vegan cooking, because they make dishes extra hearty and satisfying, no meat needed! Plus, they're budget friendly, and keep for a while. To cut back on prep time, I use Trader Joe's steamed/vacuum-sealed lentils, however you can also use canned lentils.
- Spices: Spices are KEY to make the vegetarian taco filling really POP. You need chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika, at minimum. This blend adds smoky, earthy spice, similar to the packs of pre-mixed taco seasoning.
- Adobo Sauce: Adobo sauce is the thick, smoky sauce found in the cans of chipotle peppers. Beware, adobo sauce is intensely smoky and spicy (especially for those more tender tongued). I suggest starting at 1 tsp, and working your way up to 1 Tbsp, depending on your desired level of heat. It's best to start conservative because you can always add more later.
- Aromatics: A mix of sautéed onion and garlic give the vegetarian taco meat an aromatic foundation. You can also add chopped or grated carrots to the mix for a pop of sweetness.
Step 1: Sauté the Mushrooms and Onion
Start by heating a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add the mushrooms and onions, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until soft.
Step 2: Cook the Garlic, Spices, and Adobo Sauce
Next, add the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and adobo sauce. Cook until the garlic is aromatic and the adobo sauce turns brick red, about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add the Lentils and Broth
Add the lentils, vegetable broth, and soy sauce (or tamari), and stir to combine. Make sure to loosen up any browned bits on the bottom on the pan.
Step 4: Simmer Vegetarian Taco Filling
Simmer the taco filling over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is mostly reduced. Be sure to stir every few minutes to make sure everything is well-combined.
Step 5: Assemble Lentil and Mushroom Tacos
Now comes the fun part! Start by warming or toasting your tortillas either in a cast iron skillet or directly over a gas burner. Next, divide the lentil and mushroom taco filling evenly between each tortilla. Top each taco with cabbage slaw, sliced avocado, and your favorite salsa, if desired.
Other fun topping options include chopped onion, cilantro, green onion, and/or a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. You can fully prepare the vegetarian taco filling up to 2 days ahead. The flavor will stay sharp, and the texture meaty.
- To Store. Place leftover taco filling in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store tortillas and toppings separately.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm filling in a large skillet over medium heat. You can also reheat the filling in the microwave, and pile into tortillas just before serving. I suggest warming the tortillas fresh each time, as they will likely harden after being warmed and then refrigerated.
- To Freeze. Mushrooms aren't the BEST veggie to freeze because of their high water content, however you can certainly still make it work. Just be sure to let the filling cool completely before storing in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container. At that point, you can freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serving Ideas for Lentil and Mushroom Tacos
In addition to using the filling for tacos, here are some other serving suggestions:
- Lentil Taco Bowl. Serve the filling over rice or quinoa with all your favorite fixings. And to finish, drizzle some creamy Green Tahini Sauce overtop for added freshness.
- Tofu or Tempeh Tacos. Stretch your filling even further by adding smashed/sautéed tofu, or crumbled tempeh. Either one of these meat alternatives will also pump up the protein!
- Lentil and Mushroom Nachos. Sprinkle the filling over tortilla chips, top with Vegan Green Chile Queso, and add all of your favorite toppings. For example, diced tomatoes, green onion, and cilantro.
- Veggie Power Bowl. Mix the filling with roasted vegetables, your grain of choice, avocado, and a killer sauce. I especially love this Parslied Tahini Dressing, except use cilantro in place of parsley!
More Veggie Tacos to Try:
30 Minute Lentil and Mushroom Tacos
- Large skillet
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 8 oz. baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, quartered
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 to 3 tsp. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers) depending on desired level of spice
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup cooked lentils (I use drained and rinsed canned lentils, or steamed/vacuum-sealed lentils, such as Trader Joe's brand)
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. soy sauce or tamari (sub coconut aminos)
- 6 corn or flour tortillas, warmed
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onions; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add garlic, adobo sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and salt; cook 2 minutes, until aromatic.
- Add lentils, vegetable broth, and soy sauce; stir to combine. Gently simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is completely reduced. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings as needed. Spoon into tortillas and top with garnishes of choice, or see text in post for additional serving suggestions.