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Cauliflower Lentil Tacos

$5.15 Recipe/$1.29 Serving

Cauliflower lentil tacos are the perfect quick and simple weeknight meal or lunch! Made with easy to find ingredients and ready in about 15 minutes, the lentil cauliflower taco meat is budget friendly and naturally gluten free, vegan, dairy free and so delicious.

Cauliflower lentil tacos on a plate with slaw on top.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy to make: Meat eaters and vegans alike will enjoy this quick and easy twist on tacos! Made with cauliflower rice and cooked lentils, you simply heat all the ingredients and serve with your favorite toppings.
  • Budget friendly: Swapping out a meat based dish for something vegan/vegetarian can be a great way to save money each week! This recipe costs X for 4 servings.
  • Meal prep friendly: This cauliflower lentil tacos are even better the next day and are so simple to heat up. You can even freeze this for later.
  • Versatile: Use this cauliflower lentil taco meat to make tacos, nachos, burritos, burrito bowls, or enchiladas with this vegan taco meat
Ingredients to make cauliflower lentil taco meat.
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Ingredients

  • White or red onion: Cooked onion helps to add some flavor to the taco meat without adding much time to preparing the dish.
  • Cauliflower rice: You can use fresh or frozen cauliflower rice to make this dish. I tend to use frozen because I always have a few bags on hand.
  • Cooked lentils: Lentils are so budget friendly. I use cooked green (sometimes called brown) lentils. I cook up a big batch each week and use them for recipes like this, hummus and falafel. You can also buy lentils steamed (found in the produce section of the grocery store) or canned lentils (found by other canned beans).
  • Salsa: Use your favorite salsa here! You can control the heat in this recipe by choosing a mild, medium or hot salsa.
  • Tomato paste: Tomato paste provides intense tomato flavor and also makes dishes taste like they have been cooking longer than they have when adding it to a dish.
  • Salt and spices: I like to use salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and ground cumin to add more flavor to the dish. You could also use some chili powder to help deepen the flavor as well.
  • Coconut aminos: Coconut aminos help to quickly deepen the flavor and also provide a bit of saltiness to the dish.

How to make cauliflower lentil tacos

Start by preheating a skillet over medium heat.

Dice ½ of an onion into uniform pieces.

Once the skillet is hot, spray it with non-stick spray and add the onion. Cook 2-3 minutes until onions begin to cook down and become translucent/brown.

Once onions have started to cook down, add the frozen cauliflower rice to the skillet. Cook 3-5 minutes to defrost the cauliflower and cook off some of the excess liquid.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well, keeping over medium heat and cooking for 7-10 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.

Serve with your favorite toppings.

Steps on how to make cauliflower lentil taco meat.
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Top tips

  • Double the recipe for leftovers or freezing for later! This lentil cauliflower taco meat freezes easily (I love to use my souper cubes for this). Great repurposed later in the week for burritos or salads as well!
  • Great way to add veggies to your meal! You can make this to add on top of the traditional taco meat you would normally serve to add more fiber and veggies to your taco bar!
  • Simple recipe for vegan or vegetarian friends if you are entertaining! Be sure everyone feels included by making this the next time you are serving friends.

Other flavors to add:

  • Spicy: Add red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, pickled or fresh jalapenos
  • Smoky: Add chipotle in adobo, ground dried chipotle pepper
Cauliflower lentil taco meat in a large cast iron skillet.

Ways to serve this cauliflower lentil taco meat

What to serve with cauliflower lentil tacos

Lentil cauliflower tacos on plates with yellow rice.

How to make fresh cauliflower rice

  1. Pulse in a food processor (see below for directions)
  2. Grate by hand with a hand grater (this can be a bit messy)
  3. Store bought fresh cauliflower rice (you can find this in the produce section)

How to rice cauliflower in the food processor

Start by removing the green outer leaves as well as the thick stem.

Place the cauliflower head on the counter and slice 1 inch thick steaks of cauliflower or chop into florets. You don’t need to worry about this looking pretty.

Add about ½ of the cauliflower to the food processor and process on high until it resembles rice (takes about 20-30 seconds).

Repeat with the rest of the cauliflower.

Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Steps on how to make cauliflower rice in the food processor.

How to store leftovers?

  • Fridge: Store the leftover lentil cauliflower taco meat in an air tight container for up to 5 days. I would wait to assemble the tacos, nachos, burritos until right before serving as the tortillas tend to get soggy in the fridge over time.
  • Freezer: Store leftover cauliflower taco meat in the freezer up to 3 months. I like to store this in ½ -1 cup portions so I can take out just one serving at a time. Defrost and heat in a hot skillet for 5 minutes to ensure any excess moisture has a chance to cook off.

Substitutions

  • Onion – you could also use shallots, green onions or omit the onions if needed.
  • Cauliflower rice – if you don’t have frozen cauliflower rice, you can make your own using a food processor or box grater.
  • Salsa – If you don’t have salsa on hand, you could combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and lime juice. You could also use 1 cup of diced canned tomatoes + 2-3 chipotle in adobo for a smoky sauce.
  • Cooked lentils – you will want to use green (or brown) lentils that are already cooked. You could also use black beans, white beans or kidney beans in place of the lentils. I would not recommend using red lentils as those tend to get thick and sticky when cooking.
  • Tomato paste – if you don’t have any tomato paste, you could use 1-2 tbsp. ketchup instead.
  • Garlic powder – if you don’t have garlic powder on hand, you could use fresh garlic (add it after the onions are done cooking before adding the cauliflower).
  • Smoked paprika – you could use a combination of paprika and ground cumin in place of the smoked paprika. You could also use chili powder in place of the smoked paprika.
  • Ground cumin – if you don’ have cumin on hand, you could use more smoked paprika or chili powder in place of the cumin.
  • Coconut aminos – coconut aminos are a gluten free, soy free version of soy sauce. You could use soy sauce or gluten free tamari if you can tolerate soy.
Three lentil cauliflower tacos on a plate.

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Two cauliflower lentil tacos on a plate.

Cauliflower Lentil Taco Meat

$5.15 Recipe/$1.29 Serving
Cauliflower lentil tacos are the perfect weeknight meal. They are budget friendly, vegan, gluten free and dairy free and are so easy to make. This simple recipe is great for meal prep as well!
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Course: dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cauliflower lentil tacos, lentil cauliflower tacos
Prep Time: 3 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat.
  • While the skillet preheats, chop the onion.
  • Spray the pan with non-stick (olive oil or avocado oil) and add the onions. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the onions have cooked 2-3 minutes, add the frozen cauilflower rice and stir well. Cook 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Cook for 8-10 minutes allowing all the ingredients to come together.
  • Serve as tacos, burritos, nachos or on salads.

Notes

Other flavors to add:
  • Spicy: Add red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, pickled or fresh jalapenos
  • Smoky: Add chipotle in adobo, ground dried chipotle pepper
Storage:
  • Fridge: Store the leftover lentil cauliflower taco meat in an air tight container for up to 5 days. I would wait to assemble the tacos, nachos, burritos until right before serving as the tortillas tend to get soggy in the fridge over time.
  • Freezer: Store leftover cauliflower taco meat in the freezer up to 3 months. I like to store this in ½ -1 cup portions so I can take out just one serving at a time. Defrost and heat in a hot skillet for 5 minutes to ensure any excess moisture has a chance to cook off.
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
176
Fat
 
1
g
Carbohydrates
 
32
g
Fiber
 
11
g
Sugar
 
6
g
Protein
 
12
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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