Tasty, Frugal, and Meatless Tex-Mex Taco Lentils

Tex-Mex Taco Lentils are a simple, nutritious, and very frugal meal to make any night of the week. Try them on nachos, tacos, taco salads, or as a filling for burritos!

Tex-Mex Taco Lentils: A frugal, simple, and meatless dish to make any night of the week!

I try to serve a meatless dinner once a week. These dinners-sans-meat are easy on the budget and help me incorporate various foods into our meals. They are usually made with beans, though sometimes I’ll make a heavy dinner like lasagna without the meat in it for our meatless meal.

Lentils are my favorite for meatless dinners, though. I like all beans, but I’ve been really bad about meal planning (and planning in general) lately, and lentils don’t require advance planning. I don’t have to soak them overnight and they cook quickly compared to most other beans.

I put lentils into all sorts of dishes, but turning them into a flavorful filling for tacos and other Tex-Mex dishes is my new favorite way to serve them!

The Tex-Mex flavor in these lentils really comes from the hefty amount of cumin in the recipe. Cumin is one of my favorite spices for anything with a south of the border flavor.

Pair cumin and cilantro together, and my, oh my… can it get any better?

I use both whole cumin seeds and ground cumin to make these so flavorful, as well as other common taco seasonings. If you like a milder flavor, you can certainly use less cumin.

Taco lentil salad

Tex-Mex Taco Lentils


  • 1 lb dry lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart stock or bone broth (I use chicken bone broth)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper (green or red, though I used red)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste, if needed)
  • cayenne pepper (pinch to 1/2 teaspoon), optional


  1. In a stock pot, heat the butter over medium or medium-low heat until it melts, then add the onion and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin seeds, and cook for another 5 minutes until vegetables are lightly browned.
  2. Add the lentils, stock, 1 cup water, and seasonings to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer the lentils for about 20 minutes.
  3. Check after the 20 minutes and add more water until lentils are at the desired softness and consistency. The longer they cook with more moisture, the softer they become. Add additional salt or cayenne if desired.
  4. Serve on tacos, taco salad, nachos, rice, or use as a filling for burritos and other similar dishes. I recommend having some avocado or guacamole, fresh cilantro, salsa, sour cream, and cheese on hand for them, too!

That’s it! Very simple, and a delicious addition to your meatless meals repertoire.

Tex-Mex Taco Lentils 2

Do you have a favorite way to serve lentils?

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