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Dr Leah Romay DDS

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There’s a reason that there’s #tacotuesdays, it’s cause they are that good! I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that doesn’t love a good taco, am I right? Tacos and Mexican-inspired dishes are one of my go-to flavor combinations. It was only a matter of time before I realized that taco seasonings with brown lentils are a perfect match! I stumbled upon it by accident one night – had some salsa left over and wanted to use it up. So this recipe was born!

 

The best part is that is really fast to make so it’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal. No one, including myself, wants to spend forever cooking dinner after a long day at work. Cue the brown lentils – which cook up in about 20 minutes! 

 

This recipe would also be perfect to take to work. Instead of running to Chipotle for lunch, how about an equally tasty lentil taco bowl? You can really add whatever toppings that you like. How about a cashew sour cream? Or some thinly sliced radishes. Obviously avocado would be delicious, too. Pack it up in to go containers with the salsa and fresh herbs in a separate container. 

Vegan Lentil Taco Bowls! This recipe is so easy and quick. It will be perfect for a weeknight meal and makes enough for leftovers! | Vegan | Whole Food Plant Based | Oil-free | Vegetarian | Lunch | Dinner | 30 Minute Meal | Instant Pot

Before starting the lentils, you’ll want to get your rice cooking first. I like to use short or medium grained brown rice. If you are trying to stick to a whole foods diet, then you will want to use brown rice. The reason is because white rice has been processed and polished to remove the outer brown layer, which incidentally contains many nutrients and fiber. So I try to always use the whole grain version of rice, which is brown rice. 

 

I used to think that brown rice was really earthy and just not good. Well I discovered that there are definitely good and bad types of brown rice. There are also different grain sizes. A shorter grain rice will be more sticky and starchy, versus a long grain rice will be more dry. In the bulk section of my grocery store, there are so many options! In this recipe, I used short grain rice and it comes out sticky and soft and I really like that texture. Ultimately, it’s up to you and you can use whatever rice or other grain you prefer!

Vegan Lentil Taco Bowls! This recipe is so easy and quick. It will be perfect for a weeknight meal and makes enough for leftovers! | Vegan | Whole Food Plant Based | Oil-free | Vegetarian | Lunch | Dinner | 30 Minute Meal | Instant Pot

 

The instant pot is really awesome for cooking the brown rice, which on the stovetop will take around 50 minutes of simmering. With the magic of pressure cooking, we can make it in 20! To make the brown rice in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot, start by measuring out the rice, then wash it well in a strainer. Add that to your pot along with an equal volume of water. Cover and set the pressure to high for 15 minutes. Turn off the “keep warm” setting. Once the cycle is complete, allow it to sit for 10 minutes to naturally release pressure. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. It’s ready!

 
Vegan Lentil Taco Bowls! This recipe is so easy and quick. It will be perfect for a weeknight meal and makes enough for leftovers! | Vegan | Whole Food Plant Based | Oil-free | Vegetarian | Lunch | Dinner | 30 Minute Meal | Instant Pot

While the lentils are cooking, you can get the toppings prepped. Make a quick fresh salsa of chopped onion, tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, lime jest and salt. I also added sautéed kale to my lentil taco bowl, so wash and slice the kale during this time. Zest and juice 1 lemon and set that aside. Slice up another jalapeño and green onions or chives for garnish. 

 

When the lentils have about 5 minutes left, it’s time to sauté the kale. In a large skillet, throw in the washed and sliced kale. Cook until just wilted, adding water to the skillet if it gets dry. Turn off the heat, then add in the lemon juice and half of the zest along with coconut aminos. Stir it up and done!

 
Vegan Lentil Taco Bowls! This recipe is so easy and quick. It will be perfect for a weeknight meal and makes enough for leftovers! | Vegan | Whole Food Plant Based | Oil-free | Vegetarian | Lunch | Dinner | 30 Minute Meal | Instant Pot

While the lentils are cooking, you can get the toppings prepped. Make a quick fresh salsa of chopped onion, tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, lime jest and salt. I also added sautéed kale to my lentil taco bowl, so wash and slice the kale during this time. Zest and juice 1 lemon and set that aside. Slice up another jalapeño and green onions or chives for garnish. 

 

When the lentils have about 5 minutes left, it’s time to sauté the kale. In a large skillet, throw in the washed and sliced kale. Cook until just wilted, adding water to the skillet if it gets dry. Turn off the heat, then add in the lemon juice and half of the zest along with coconut aminos. Stir it up and done!

 
Vegan Lentil Taco Bowls! This recipe is so easy and quick. It will be perfect for a weeknight meal and makes enough for leftovers! | Vegan | Whole Food Plant Based | Oil-free | Vegetarian | Lunch | Dinner | 30 Minute Meal | Instant Pot

To serve, mix the remaining lemon zest into the rice and stir the fresh oregano and lemon juice into the lentils. Place some rice in your bowl, then top with the lentils, salsa and sautéed kale. Sprinkle cilantro, sliced green onion and jalapeño on top! Yum so good!

 

I really hope you enjoy this recipe! 

xx

Dr. Romay

 

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Lentil Taco Bowls

Makes about 6 servings of lentils

Taco spices merge perfectly with the heartiness of brown lentils. Serve over top of brown rice and top with salsa, fresh herbs and sautéed kale for a super satisfying and quick meal. This recipe makes enough to have leftovers, or halve the recipe to make less. 

Author: Leah Romay

INGREDIENTS

For the lentils

  • 2 c brown lentils, washed. Not necessary to pre-soak, but you can and they’ll cook faster 
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/4 t ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 t chipotle pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 – 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

for the kale

  • 1 large bunch kale, washed and sliced
  • 1 T coconut anions (optional)
  • for the rice
  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 2 cups water

for the toppings

  • Pico de Gallo
  • Sliced jalapeño, sliced green onions, cilantro, avocado, corn, etc for topping

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Pressure Cooker

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the brown rice in a strainer. Add to the pressure cooker with 2 cups water. Cover and seal the vent. Set to high pressure for 15 minutes and turn off the “keep warm” setting. Once the cycle is complete, allow to sit for 10 minutes to naturally release pressure. Then release any remaining pressure. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Heat a large skillet or pot over medium heat and add the onion and bell pepper along with a splash of water and sauté until onions start to become translucent. Add in the garlic and all of the spices and salt. Stir for 1 minute. Then add in the brown lentils, tomatoes, and water. Stir to combine, then cover.
  3. Bring the lentils to a rapid boil, then turn down to low for a gentle simmer. Cover and cook 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  4. While the lentils are cooking, wash and cut the kale. Make any salsa, slice jalapeños, and prepare any other toppings. Zest and juice 1 lemon and set aside. 
  5. When there is about 5 minutes left for the lentils, cook the kale. Throw the kale into a large skillet heated over medium heat. Have a cup of water nearby. Cook the kale until it is just wilted, stirring continuously. Add a splash more of water as needed if it starts to become dry. Once wilted, turn of the heat. Add half the lemon juice, half lemon zest, and coconut aminos and stir. 
  6. To serve, stir the remaining lemon juice, 1/2 of zest, and the fresh oregano into the lentils. Add the other lemon zest to the rice. Fill bowls with rice. Top with the lentils, kale, salsa, cilantro, green onions, and jalapeño slices, as well as any other desired toppings. Enjoy!

Dr. Leah Romay is a dentist passionate about health and wellness and believes that health is possible for everyone. She’s been in the kitchen cooking from scratch for most of her life and greatly enjoys creating healthy and delicious recipes. In addition to practicing dentistry full time, she spends her free time developing recipes, reading scientific studies, and helping others live their healthiest lives through evidence-based lifestyle and diet. Read more about Dr. Romay and her story here.

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