Lentil and carrot tacos with pickled cabbage and chipotle lime sour cream sauce

Lentils are my new favorite food. They are incredibly versatile since you can cook them in a variety of different cuisines. You can make them with Southwestern flavors, Indian flavors, Italian flavors, in soups, in pasta, on sandwiches – there’s no end! Not only are they tasty, but they are FULL of fiber, which is extremely good for the friendly microbes living in your gut.

These lentil and carrot tacos are really filling and extremely tasty. However, as I’ve mentioned before, Pat disagrees that these are tacos since they are vegetable tacos. So instead of calling them tacos to his face, I call them “some vegetables and stuff on a tortilla”. But I consider them tacos and I consider them delicious.

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This recipe is adapted from Making Thyme for Health, which is one of my favorite food blogs because she has a lot of lentil recipes. Her version is vegan with a sunflower seed chipotle cream. I have never successfully made a good cream from blending nuts. It never gets blended enough and is too grainy. Maybe I should try again now that I have an actual blender, but honestly – I LOVE sour cream. A lot. And I’m not too caught up with making something vegan enough to not eat sour cream.

My sour cream sauce has a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce in it (her’s uses chipotle powder.) Chipotle powder is something that I cannot find at my grocery store and I never feel like going to Whole Foods to look, especially in Boulder, so I use a chipotle pepper instead. When you buy a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, you often only need one or two and are left with a whole can that will probably go bad before you use it. What I do is put the peppers in a plastic container, freeze them, and then cut off a chunk when I need it. It works really well and you don’t waste money buying a new can every time you just need one. The only downside is that you have to guesstimate how many peppers your frozen chunk corresponds to. You can always start off on the smaller side and add more.

These tacos are filling on their own, but I served them with some left over cilantro lime rice.

Lentil and carrot tacos with pickled cabbage and chipotle lime sour cream sauce

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes 

For the tacos:

1 yellow onion, diced
5 carrots, diced (peeled if you want)
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups broth
1 cup green or brown lentils
Flour tortillas

For the sauce:

1/2 – 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (to your liking)
1/2 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
Juice of 1 lime
Splash of apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
About 1/2 cup cilantro
1 tsp cumin

For the pickled cabbage:

About 1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded cabbage
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt
Squeeze of honey

Toppings: sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, etc.

Mix the shredded cabbage with the vinegar, salt and honey. Sit for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings at necessary.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and brown the onion, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the carrots, jalapeño and seasonings and cook for a few more minutes. Add the tomato paste, the lentils and the broth, stirring to break up the tomato paste. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium and let slightly boil for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the carrots and the lentils are soft.

To make the sauce, put everything in a blender, taste and adjust to your liking. Maybe a little more chipotle if you want spicier and smokier.

Warm the tortillas, top with the lentil mix, cabbage, sauce, and sliced avocado.

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