Lentil Tacos: My Gluten- Free Solution

For a school project, I am attempting to follow a gluten free diet for 5-7 days.  The project requires me to choose a popular diet book, follow the diet, and find research to back up or refute author’s claims about the diet (see my post on what I found).  I chose to analyze a gluten-free diet because I do not think eating gluten-free is beneficial, unless a person has Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance.  Throughout this process, there’s been one catch…I find adhering to this diet extremely difficult! Eating a gluten free breakfast is a breeze, (I eat oatmeal every morning), and I can usually make or buy a big salad for lunch.  But for dinner I have been having issues trying to make an entire meal that is completely gluten free.  Then inspiration struck, “Tacos!”  Taco shells are made with corn and are generally gluten free.  As a vegetarian, I don’t like the fake meats, so I tend to use a variety of different grains as my protein.  For this dish, I decided to use lentils because they have a meaty taste.  People don’t believe me when I say that, but meat eaters have told me they don’t miss the meat in this dish.  Whether you are gluten free or just looking for Meatless Monday inspiration, these are the perfect quick, easy, and enjoyable dinner.

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** Be sure to always scroll all the way to the bottom to read the nutrition notes about the featured food (lentils)!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ onion (red or white is fine)

1-2 garlic cloves

1 cup dried lentils

1 cup water

1 cup vegetable broth (I always mix broth with water to lower the salt content)

1 tablespoon of taco seasoning ** (see note below to make your own)

taco shells

Taco seasoning recipe: Store bought taco seasoning has a ton of salt.  It’s just as easy to mix together taco spices on your own.  Just combine 1 tablespoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, ¼ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon paprika, 1.5 teaspoon of cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Topping options:

Shredded cheese

Lettuce (I put lettuce under and on top of lentils to add a little more veggies)

Sliced avocado

Greek Yogurt (great substitute for sour cream)

Diced red onion

Salsa

Directions:

1)   Heat medium saucepan to medium heat and add oil.  Once oil is hot, add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Next, add garlic.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes.  (Do not let the garlic get brown—it will be very bitter!)

2)   Add lentils, water, and vegetable broth to the onion and garlic mixture. Bring to a boil.

3)   Once it reaches a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or until all water is dissolved.

4)   In the meantime, heat the oven to 350 and warm the taco shells for 5 minutes.

5)   When the lentils are done, add taco seasoning to lentil mixture and stir.

6)   Scoop lentil mixture into taco shells and add your favorite toppings.  Then enjoy taco night!

Nutrition notes:

  • Lentils contain over 35% of the daily value of dietary fiber in just ¼ cup! The soluble fiber in lentils helps lower cholesterol, while the insoluble fiber helps maintain digestive help (otherwise known as keeping you regular).
  • Lentils are a great source of vegetarian protein—8g in ¼ cup.
  • There is only 70 calories in ¼ cup of lentils.   In ¼ cup of 95% lean ground beef, there is about 120 calories.  No one eats just ¼ cup of either and those extra 50 calories really adds up!

 

 

 

 

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