I’m in the midst of a serious lentil fling. I don’t even know if I can call it a “fling” since it seems that I might be in it for the long haul. It’s getting pretty serious.
You wouldn’t know it from reading this blog, but I’ve been eating a LOT of lentils lately. Red, green, black, brown…all of ‘em. They’re so versatile, healthy, and PACKED with protein. Since the cookbook I’m working on is focused on high protein vegetarian foods, you can bet I’ve had lentils every which way over the past several months.
I even went through a phase where I was trying to make red lentil peanut butter cups happen. I know, I know…stop trying to make fetch happen, Katie. It’s not going to happen.
Except, let’s be honest, it might eventually. Sorry not sorry.
Today though, we’re going to be putting lentils in totally appropriate places, like in tacos! With garlic, shallots, spicy buffalo sauce, and nutty roasted dill cauliflower.
We’re also going to cover dem tacos with a creamy basil and kale sauce, because basil is delicious (and Ryan is a basil farmer, REPRESENT), and kale is good for you.
I’ve combined buffalo sauce and cauliflower a few times before (see examples A and B), but this time I separated the cauliflower from the sauce. In these tacos the lentils absorb the spicy sauce, and sit alongside cauliflower that’s been salted, peppered, tossed with dried dill, and roasted until nicely browned and nutty. The flavorful basil and kale sauce adds a bit of brightness, and cuts the heat of the buffalo lentils. Flavor for days in these here tacos, folks.
I bought an all natural buffalo sauce from Whole Foods, and oh me oh my is it spicy. If you’re using a more mild buffalo sauce, but you like a ton of heat, you may add a little bit of ground cayenne to the lentils as they’re absorbing the buffalo sauce.
- 1½ cups green lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped into 1-inch florets (about 5 cups)
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons buffalo sauce (see note)
- Pinch of ground cayenne (optional)
- 10-12 small (non-GMO) corn tortillas, for serving
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (nonfat or 2%)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup baby kale
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- Combine the lentils and water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still have a little bite. Drain any excess water and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degress. Toss together the cauliflower, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dill, until all pieces are evenly coated. Bake for 20-25 minutes, removing from the oven to stir a few times, until tender and browned.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the shallot and cook for a few minutes, until translucent. Pour in the lentils and buffalo sauce. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the lentils have mostly absorbed the buffalo sauce. Taste and add a sprinkle of cayenne, if desired.
- For the sauce, combine the yogurt, sour cream, salt, pepper, vinegar, and basil in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add the kale and olive oil, and again blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt/pepper to your liking.
- Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 10 seconds, until slightly warm. Top each tortilla with about ¼ cup lentils, and a few cauliflower florets. Drizzle with sauce, and eat up! Serves 5-6 people, with 2 tacos each.
For a vegan option, serve the tacos with cashew sour cream instead of the creamy basil and kale sauce.