Lentil & Sweet Potato Tacos with Chipotle Cream

In my quest to cook more vegetarian/vegan meals I've become much more creative and open to possibilities further than: pasta, boca burgers, beans & rice and salads.  Thanks to wonderful blogs and Pinterest I've found many recipes and ideas for recipes.  This taco recipe came as a compilation of many things I've seen.  (Taco "meat" inspired by this recipe first!) I kept wanting to try lentil taco "meat" and continued to put it off, but finally gave it a go, and am happy to report we all loved it.  I will put this on our regular rotation. To quote Rob directly, "This is by far the very best vegetarian meal you've ever made!"

The lentils prepared this way remind me of actual meat, and would be great in a burrito with rice, on a taco salad or nachos.  The whole chipotle-sweet potato-combo is one of my new favorite flavors.  One of our favorite restaurants serves a chipotle dipping sauce with their sweet potato fries and we've been in love with it since our first try.  I'd say you could definitely make this vegan without the cream...but it would be missing something awesome!

To prepare the lentils is super easy so I recommend making the entire 1 lb bag of lentils and freezing half for your next taco night. I thought I'd give you an idea of how frugal it is to use lentils in place of grass-fed ground  beef. One pound grass-fed ground beef: $4.99.  One pound dried lentils: $.99 (once cooked a bag of lentils equals 2 lbs ground beef). Holy cow that's a savings of $8.00 not to mention the health benefits of eating less red meat...just sayin'!

Lentil Sweet Potato Tacos with Chipotle Cream

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
generous sprinkling of sea salt
1-2 tsp granulated garlic

1/2 lb. brown lentils, cooked and drained (equals about 3 c. cooked)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 packet taco seasoning
1/4 c. water

1/2 c. sour cream or greek yogurt
2 Tb. chipotle puree (see directions below)
1/2 tsp granulated garlic

corn tortillas
red leaf lettuce

Heat oven to 400 and spray a cookie sheet with oil.  Layer sweet potatoes on the sheet and sprinkle generously with cumin, smoked paprika, sea salt & garlic.  Bake for 15 minutes, stir with a spatula and bake another 10  minutes.  Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and set aside.  In the meantime, prepare the lentil mixture.

To make the lentils, saute the onion in a frying pan with a little spray of oil until the onion is tender, add in garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in the lentils.  Continue cooking over medium heat, smashing the lentils a little bit with the back of a wooden spoon.  Sprinkle in the taco seasoning and stir in water and continue cooking until thickened and hot. 

While the lentils are heating/cooking, quickly stir together the chipotle cream.  Mix together sour cream or yogurt, chipotle puree and granulated garlic and set aside.  You can easily make this spicier or more mild by adding more or less of the chipotle puree.

To assemble tacos layer lettuce, lentils, sweet potatoes and chipotle cream.  Enjoy with a Corona, if you like.

Chipotle Puree

1 7 oz can chipotle in adobo (Click here to see on Amazon)

Pour the entire can into a blender or food processer.  Pulse until mostly smooth, a few chunks are fine.  Pour the mixture into a ziploc back and roll into a log shape.  Freeze.  Cut off chunks of the mixture as needed for recipes where chipotle or adobo sauce are called for. 

The reason for this recipe is that very few recipes call for an entire can of chipotles, which makes for lots of waste.  This puree will stay good in the freezer for up to a year! Something to keep in  mind with this puree is that it will be much spicier than just plain adobo sauce, so use less.

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  2. Anonymous16/11/12

    Going to try this tonight :) Really love the tip about saving the sauce in the freezer. I've had a lot of wasted sauce over the years!
    Love ya!