Lentil Walnut Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream

Happy September everyone! I can't believe that summer is just about over and fall is right around the corner. I love the summertime, but am always secretly excited for the colder months to get here. Warm sweaters, hats, scarves, boots...the list goes on! And of course, there is all of that yummy comfort food. I'm especially looking forward to making lots of delicious soups this fall and winter, and coming up with some new sweet treats to share with all of you! I always seem to get more creative in the kitchen in the colder months because of all the time spent indoors. This new recipe isn't exactly comfort food, but it's the type of food I like to enjoy any time of year, and all year round. So! Here I give you my recipe for Lentil Walnut Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream. 

One of my fondest memories as a child was when we would have taco night. It always felt like such a treat for me, and the taco meat (dare I say) was my favorite part. But honestly, I do not know what all the fuss was about, because this lentil walnut "meat" is SO MUCH BETTER.  It is seriously so delicious and serves as the perfect base for any taco or burrito. It would also be great in a salad, a wrap, or spread on a sandwich. The possibilities are endless. 

Not only can this "meat" be enjoyed several different ways, but it is also incredibly easy to make. Cook your lentils, toast your walnuts, throw everything in a food processor (a.k.a. my BFF) with your seasonings. Done! 

Easy, delicious, AND nutritious. Lentils are one of my favorite members of the legume family. They are packed with dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, and when consumed on a regular basis have been proven to lower your risk of coronary heart disease by 82%! Then there's walnuts, filled with omega-3's, vitamin E, antioxidants, and anti-cancer benefits. 

Another powerhouse ingredient used in this recipe is Nutritional Yeast, or nooch as I like to call it. Just two tablespoons of nooch contains approximately 5 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein, and includes all 18 essential amino acids. It is also high in B vitamins which are essential for the production of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system. 

Lentil Walnut Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream

(Makes 6 Servings)

Lentil Walnut Meat Ingredients:
1 cup French green lentils uncooked (1 + 3/4 cup cooked)
1 + 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 + 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
pinch of black pepper

Topping Ideas:
chopped tomatoes
salsa
sautΓ©ed peppers and onions
avocado
cilantro
cabbage slaw

Cashew Sour Cream Ingredients:
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cayenne pepper

Lentil Walnut Meat Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

2. Rinse and strain lentils, making sure there are no rocks or debris. Place 1 cup lentils into a pot with 2-3 cups water. Add in the bay leaves and let the water come to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes.

3. Place walnuts on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown.

4. Once the lentils have finished cooking, remove the bay leaves and strain any excess water. Then place 1 + 3/4 cup cooked lentils into a food processor (you will have some leftover). Add the toasted walnuts, seasonings, and apple cider vinegar. Pulse all of the ingredients so it is well chopped, but not mushy. It should resemble taco meat. 

5. Prepare your tacos and store any extra "meat" in the fridge covered for up to a week. 

Cashew Sour Cream Instructions:

1. Soak cashews for 2-3 hours to help aid in digestion. 

2. Once cashews have soaked, drain them and place them in a blender or food processor. Add in the water, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, cayenne pepper, and blend. 

3. Pour the sour cream into a bowl and keep in the fridge covered for up to a week.

These Lentil Walnut Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream are the epitome of a plant-based, whole-food meal. I hope that you enjoy them and that they become a regular part of your weekly dinner routine!

xo Natalie