I love lentils in and on anything, and tacos are a perfect way to eat more! Lentils are so good for you since they are packed with tons of plant protein and some much fiber! Change up the beans from your regular taco night with these smoky lentils. Easier on the tummy, quicker to prep. Top with fresh salsa (I like pico de gallo), avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro!
Serve the lentils as a Stew, on a salad, top a pizza or make a sloppy sandwich. Use seasonal squash or other veggies instead of sweet potato.
Ingredients and Substitutions for Smoky Lentil and Sweet Potato Tacos:
- Dry or canned lentils can be used for this taco recipe.
- For dry lentils, make sure to soak for 30 minutes prior to adding to the taco recipe, drain, and keep ready.
- For canned lentils, drain and rinse. Add the sweet potatoes and 1/4 cup water when you add the herbs and spices (step 3), mix, cover, and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. Then add the drained lentils (and salt, if the lentils were unsalted), mix, and cook covered until the sweet potato cubes are tender, 15-25 minutes.
- Use any taco shells of choice..
- The taco recipe can easily be made at any time of year. Swap out the sweet potatoes for any squash or vegetable that is in season.
- If you don’t have lentils, canned black beans can be used.
Step by Step Photos:
The key is to soak the lentils for 30 minutes before cooking while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Chop the sweet potatoes, onion, toppings, and gather together all the spices and herbs.
Then, the cooking process will be quick and easy so your smoky lentil and sweet potato filling will be done in no time.
How to Make Smoky Lentil and Sweet Potato Tacos
- Start by soaking the lentils. Meanwhile, chop the sweet potatoes, onion, tomato (if using), and topping ingredients. Gather together all the spices and herbs.
- In a deep pan, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the onion until golden, then add all the spices, herbs, salt, pepper, and tomato paste/fresh tomato.
- Add the washed lentils and water and cook for 15 minutes.
- Then, add the sweet potatoes and Sriracha and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add lime juice and liquid smoke for extra smokiness.
- Finally, assemble the taco filling in the taco shells and top with lettuce, salsa, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, more lime juice, and serve!
More Mexican Inspired Recipes from the blog:
- Mexican Street Corn Salad with Black Beans – Elote Salad
- Chipotle Refried Beans, Pico de Gallo, Lime Crema on Wheat Sorghum Crust. Vegan Mexican Pizza
- Chili Lime Roasted Veggies & Jackfruit with Jalapeno Cream Sauce
- Spicy Garlic Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos
- Pulled Butternut Squash Tacos. Vegan Gluten Free
- Cauliflower Taco “Meat” – 1 Pan Cauliflower Walnut Taco Filling Recipe
Smoky Lentil and Sweet Potato Tacos
- 1/2 cup dry lentils
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 sweet potato or yam cubed (1 - 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion chopped (3/4 cup)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder or 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder or cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp salt or more, to taste
- a generous dash of black pepper
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste or 1/2 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce
- 1-2 tsp lime juice
- a dash of liquid smoke optional, for extra smokiness
- hard or soft tacos I used gluten-free blue corn tortillas
- lettuce or cabbage finely chopped
- salsa of choice I used pico de gallo
- avocado, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice
- Soak the lentils for half an hour. Chop up the potatoes, get the ingredients ready. Drain the lentils, wash, and keep ready.
- In a deep pan, add oil and heat on medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden (5 to 6 mins).
- Add all the spices, herbs, salt, pepper, tomato paste/tomato, and mix well. Cook for a minute (2-3 minutes if using a tomato).
- Add the washed lentils and water. Mix, cover, and cook on low-medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Add the cubed sweet potato, Sriracha, mix, and cook covered for another 15-25 minutes until lentils and sweet potato are tender and all liquid is absorbed.
- Add lime juice, taste, and adjust for salt and spice. Add a dash of liquid smoke for extra smokiness.
- Warm the taco shells, then load them with the warm lentil mixture, lettuce/cabbage, fresh salsa, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Serve immediately.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2014 and has been updated on Nov 4 2019 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
I try not to change recipes too much but sometimes necessary due to time and ingredients on hand. I added a can of diced tomatoes (no paste or fresh tomatoes on hand) and a few chipotle peppers in adobo (for smoke and heat). Tossed everything in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes on high. Took a few minutes on simmer to cook down the moisture. Super delicious and filling. Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.
The flavor combo here is terrific! My four kids all gobbled it up, one saying, “these flavors taste like Thanksgiving.” I used cubed pumpkin in place of the sweet potatoes and served it over mashed potatoes. Yum!
Made these for dinner today, they were fantastic. Since it was only 2 people for dinner we have left overs for lunchtomorrow ❤️ I’m thinking burrito bowl. Thank you so much for such a quick, easy and delicious recipe
yes! a burrito bowl will be perfect!
Looks awesome! I wonder if I can throw everything into a slow cooker? Going to try it today!
I can confirm that this works wonderfully in a slow cooker 🙂 I doubled the recipe, threw everything in the crockpot on high, switched to low after a few hours… it was delicious!!!
i can’t wait to try these, richa! they look amazing. lentils are my jam.
The Vegan 8
Looks perfectly delicious Richa!! I made some tostadas last week with sweet potatoes and roasted poblano peppers and spices like this and the contrast is so awesome! I’m totally going to add lentils like you made them next time I make it! Right up my alley 😊
I made these last night for me and my sister. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO good!!! I liked tasting the sweetness from the sweet potato with all the hot spices…We used blue corn taco shells that were really good from PCC…
Awesome! so glad you liked them!
Wowzers! We had this today for our first time. It was so delicious that as soon as we finished, I jumped up and made a second batch! I have enjoyed all your recipes. Thank you for sharing them with us.
yay! super awesome that you made another batch!!
These would be great as vegan fajitas too!
yes for sure!
Ana's Rocket Ship
How could you loose such a recipe? And yes…. I need to transfer my photos too.
😀 i know right 🙂
Those look amazing! Love the sweet potatoes in here 🙂
i love the sweet potatoes with the spicy flavors!
Looks delicious! What kind of taco shell is used in your picture?
garden of eatin blue corn taco shells