Instant Pot Taco Lentils can be used for tacos, taco salads, quesadillas, burritos, or any time you want the flavor of tacos with out the ground beef. They cook up quickly in the Instant Pot with the added joy of not having to babysit the pot while they cook.
I ran across this recipe for Instant Pot Lentil Tacos and the author had me at tacos. I can’t say that lentils were the draw. But since I’m always on the lookout for interesting things to make in the Instant Pot, I decided to give this a try. Smart move on my part. Lunch was ready in no time and I got the taco taste I wanted.
Confession: I did not follow the recipe exactly as written. The only reason is because I didn’t have the exact ingredients listed. But I had reasonable substitutions so I ran with them.
Here’s the basic recipe and my change ups:
Onion, small dice
2 – 4 cloves garlic: I used a teaspoon of garlic powder. I would have preferred fresh.
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup dry lentils
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth: I had bouillon granules for both but didn’t use either one. I decided to use 3 cups of water and 3 teaspoons of beef bouillon granules. Just because.
1/2 cup salsa or Picante sauce: I had a 24 ounce jar of Peach Pineapple Chipotle salsa. It wasn’t open and I wasn’t going to open it for 1/2 cup. Instead I used a small jar of [affiliate link] sofrito that I had on hand.
Put all the ingredients in the pot. Stir to combine. Use the Bean setting for 20 minutes. (My first use of the Bean setting ever.) You can also do Manual for 20 minutes.
It calls for a QR because lentils get overcooked (mushy) easily. I was planning on a 5 minute NPR followed by a QR. Unfortunately I didn’t get to them until 11 minutes after the fact. Most people would call them overcooked. I didn’t have a problem with the way they turned out.
Morale of the story: If you don’t want the lentils super soft, pay attention and do an immediate QR.
When they were done cooking I tasted them to see if I needed to adjust the flavoring. (I hope you realize that’s allowable. You can add spices after cooking if you find that something is too bland for you or needs more zing. P.S. This recipe is in no way bland. I’m just pointing this out for newbies who may not know the ropes.)
I decided to add 1/4 cup Heinz ketchup to the finished lentils. 1) Because ketchup rounds out the flavor for me in a lot of sauce based recipes. Granted, there’s no sauce in this recipe. But I still felt it needed ketchup so I added it based on personal preference. I’m glad I did. 2) Heinz because it is my ketchup of choice. I’ve tried many others but this is the one I use exclusively.
Fill a taco shell (I prefer crunchy) with the lentils and top with any of the usual taco fixins: shredded cheddar, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato. You could also scoop up the lentils with nacho chips, corn chips, or any crunch factor of your choice. Or make taco lentil nachos with this versatile mix.
Instant Pot Taco Lentils can also be a vegan choice by using vegetable broth when you make them. But for goodness sake please don’t use plain water. You want flavor. At the very least add some [affiliate link] vegetable bouillon granules. Instant Pot Taco Lentils are a great substitute for ground beef when you crave the flavor of tacos but don’t want the meat.