Lentil Tacos

Lentil Tacos
Lentil Tacos

I have made a very conscious effort to include more lentils and other pulses in my cooking. There are just so many healthy benefits: they’re high in protein, high in fibre, high in iron and many other vitamins and minerals.  Lentils are also very budget friendly – the cost of the protein in the meal will only be dollar or two.  Through experimentation I have found pulses really work with many different herb and spice combinations, and it is easy to mix things up to avoid ho hum dinners!

I remember the first time I made these my family just loved them! Tacos in any form are such a fun, kid-friendly meal and great for casual family style dining where all the fixings are on the table and everyone builds their own. These are so delicious, with all the familiar flavours of tacos, yet the lentils make a lighter, healthier,  fibre rich meal.  Paired with a fresh green salad, this easy dinner is on the table in only 40 minutes. I usually make a double recipe so that I cook once and then have extra filling for another meal of taco’s, burritos, or other mexican flavoured dish. The filling freezes well.  Simply defrost, heat and serve. This meal is gluten free and vegan (with a dairy free cheese).

 Lentil Tacos

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, small dice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 cup brown lentils (rinsed and drained)

340 ml strained tomatoes

340 ml water or more

salt and pepper

 10 Taco Shells *see note about TBHQ

 Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onion and saute a few minutes and then add garlic.  Cook until garlic is fragrant.  Turn heat down to low and add cumin, coriander, paprika and chili powder.  Cook a minute or two.  Add lentils, strained tomatoes and water.  Simmer until lentils are cooked, adding more water if needed.  Once the lentils are cooked (about 25 minutes) continue to simmer to thicken to desired consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

 Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Place taco shells on cookie sheet and heat for about 5-7 minutes until warm.

 Assemble taco’s with filling, lettuce, tomatoes or salsa, cheese and avocado. (vegan cheese product to make vegan)

TBHQ – When you shop for taco shells, check the ingredient list.  One of the ingredients may be TBHQ.  TBHQ is tertiary butylhydroquinone, a synthetic antioxidant that is used to extend the shelf life of packaged foods. It is to keep the fat in the product from becoming rancid.  There are good qualtiy brands of taco shells on the market that do not have TBHQ and also have a very reasonable best before date.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blueberries and Lemon

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blueberries and Lemon

One of my favourite childhood summer memories is foraging for blueberries in the Whiteshell area of Manitoba.  We would go almost every weekend to be sure to get enough blueberries to last our family of 8 for the winter.  That required a lot of blueberries!  On a recent trip to Manitoba, it was high on my list to experience this again with my own family.

What a great day!  Starting from Winnipeg and heading east on the Trans Canada Highway, we watched the prairie grain fields slowly change to rocky and evergreen terrain as we began to see the start of the Canadian Shield.  We reached the Whiteshell in a quick 1 1/2 hour on the road and then meandered through the lakes to a terrific hike at McGillvray Falls.  Although we did the short loop it took us 3 hours.  We stopped often to enjoy the picturesque views, climb up immense rocks,  and to pick wild blueberries which lined the trails and carpeted the forest floor throughout the area.  We quickly filled our containers and our tummies with these delicious sweet tangy blueberries. To complete the day we stopped at Falcon Beach to swim, enjoy the golden sand beach and a little of cottage life.

Having become accustomed to the taste of the cultivated larger blueberries that are grown in BC, what a treat to have these again.  They are delicious fresh, easy to freeze and wonderful in so many recipes.  One of my favourite blueberry recipes are these moist bright and lemony muffins. Low in sugar, low in fat, a good source of fiber from the oats and the blueberries these muffins make a terrific make ahead breakfast or snack.  They also freeze well and are a perfect make ahead muffin to have on hand for busy days.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blackberries and Lemon
Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blackberries and Lemon

This recipe is easily adaptable to other fruit.  Simple substitute other fruit for the blueberries.  Raspberries, blackberries, chopped peaches, nectarines,  and plums all work well.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blueberries and Lemon

Makes 12

1 cup Buttermilk

1 cup Oats*

1 egg

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

*I usually use Old Fashioned Large Flake Oats.  If you are short on time substitute quick oats and you can shorten or omit the soaking time.


Line a 12 muffin tin with paper liners and heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium size mixing bowl mix oats and buttermilk and set aside to soak for 1 hour. To oat mixture, add egg, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice and sugar.  Mix well. In a separate small bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin tin to 3/4 full and bake 20-25 minutes or until done.