No, it’s not Taco Tuesday. But sometimes you make too many tortillas the week before, and now you need to use them, but in a different way than last week. I mean, you don’t want to eat the same stuff every day, right? Well, unless it’s doughnuts. Or chocolate. Okay, I’d eat chocolate doughnuts every day. Seriously. Every day.
But, why refried lentils and not just refried beans? Well, let’s compare the two and see if there is any difference.
Both have roughly the same calories per 1 cup, with black beans having 227 and lentils having 230. They also both have around 1 gram of fat – but it’s good fat, so don’t trip. When it comes to sodium, beans win again, having only 2 milligrams versus 4 milligrams for lentils. The two are also fairly similar in total carbohydrates (41 g for beans, 40 g for lentils), dietary fiber (15 g for beans, 16 g for lentils), and protein (15 g for beans, 18 g for lentils). There is a wide difference in sugars, with lentils having 4 gram and beans only 1 gram, but that’s a small amount, and we’re not talking about processed cane sugar here.
The main difference between the two comes in the form of potassium. Here, lentils are the clear winner, having 731 mg (15.6% RDA) over beans 611 mg (13% RDA). Potassium is not only good from a health perspective, since it helps lower blood pressure, but it also aids in the electrical signals that drive our brains, meaning a diet low in potassium can lead to confusion or brain fog. It also supports the Anahata (heart) Chakra, which is associated with feelings of serenity, balance, and the ability to remain calm, which makes it a perfect mineral to help those with high levels of stress or anxiety disorders.
Okay. Let me be honest here. The main reason I used lentils instead of beans, was that I didn’t have enough beans in my pantry. (oops!) But I’m not going to let that stand in the way of me having tacos. Nope. And you shouldn’t either. Especially when you already have Vegan Gluten-Free Tortillas on hand.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the lentils:
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed well
- 3 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced small
- 3 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 can black olives, sliced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried cilantro
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
In a saucepan, combine the lentils and 2 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Let the lentils simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check after 10 to ensure there is still some liquid in the pan.
Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet, add the olive oil (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Virgin Garlic Flavored Spanish Olive Oil) and heat until it starts to shimmer. Then sauté your onions until they become translucent. Add in the diced jalapeno and continue to sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
Dust the onion and jalapeno mixture with your spices and allow to cook for at least 1 full minute, then add in the cooked lentils. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, and then turn off the heat.
Next, mash the lentils until they form a thick paste. The best method for this is to use an immersion blender, or transfer the entire mixture to a food processor to blend, then transfer back to the skillet. Allow to simmer, adding 1/4th cup of the remaining vegetable broth until the mix reaches a creamy consistency. Taste and adjust your seasonings if needed.
Grab your tortillas and heat for approx. 30 seconds per side in a flat cast iron skillet, or put in the microwave (if you’re a monster who doesn’t care!) in a damp paper towel for about 10 seconds. Fill your tortillas, add your toppings, and enjoy!
Blessings to you my friends!