These delicious and hearty lentil tacos can be made in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop. They are so easy to make, and the warm, smoky flavors are amazing!

Have you had lentil tacos before? You won’t even miss the meat. They are so flavorful and so good!

Cooked lentils with seasonings in flour tortilla with sour cream, cheese, and tomatoes.

How to Make Lentils for Tacos

The easiest way to make the filling for these lentil tacos is in a pressure cooker!

Using this cooking method is hands off and so much faster than cooking on the stovetop (although I do have instructions for that, if you need!).

  1. Combine brown or green lentils, broth and simple pantry seasonings in a pressure cooker.
  2. Secure the lid and valve and cook for 12 minutes.
  3. Let the pressure naturally release 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.
  4. Stir in salsa for a boost of fresh, yummy flavor.

For the stovetop, combine the lentils, broth and seasonings in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes until the lentils are tender. Stir in the salsa.

A Few Bonus Tips for Success

I have a few things to say. I think you should listen. (If you’ve identified a “mom voice” you are really dialed in – these two sentences are repeated often at my house – I’m not entirely sure how often the listening part happens but it doesn’t stop me from saying what I have to say. 🤣)

First, make sure to choose a brand (or homemade recipe) of broth and salsa that has great flavor. Both will have a significant impact on the overall flavor of the lentils.

Second, if you are unsure what kind of lentils to use, brown or green lentils will work best in this recipe. Red or yellow lentils break down quite a bit more and may have a mushy consistency in this recipe.

Third, make sure to season the lentil mixture with additional salt and pepper before serving, if needed!

Three tacos of flour tortillas filled with cooked lentils, sour cream, cheese and tomatoes.

Serving Suggestions

The flavorful lentils can be served in hard or soft tortilla shells with taco toppings of your choice and they work beautifully in taco salad, as well.

I often eat the leftover lentil mixture alongside eggs with a sprinkle of cheese for breakfast or lunch. A terrific combo!

If you are looking for meatless meal inspiration, these lentil tacos should be at the top of your list! They are so simple and fast to make, and they provide a wonderfully nutritious and hearty meal.

I promise, you won’t even miss the meat. However, if you are currently learning to embrace meatless meals (or training your family to do so 😉), these lentils can be combined with ground beef or cooked chicken for an extremely yummy compromise.

Holding flour tortilla with cooked lentils, sour cream, cheese and tomatoes.

What to Serve With This

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Four Years AgoBanana Cream Cheese Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel
Five Years AgoChicken and Vegetable Dumpling Soup 
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Ten Years Ago: Roasted Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin 

Three tacos of flour tortillas filled with cooked lentils, sour cream, cheese and tomatoes.

Instant Pot Lentil Tacos

5 stars (14 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) dried brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely, ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red or green salsa (preferably thick and chunky vs thin and watery)
  • 12 to 15 soft or crunchy taco shells
  • Taco toppings of choice

Instructions 

  • In a 6-quart electric pressure cooker, combine the lentils, broth, chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper.
  • Secure the lid and valve and cook on high for 12 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before releasing remaining pressure.
  • Drain off any excess liquid, if desired. Stir in salsa and season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed (this is important for flavor!).
  • Optional: lightly mash the lentils, if desired.
  • The lentil mixture will thicken a bit if left to sit/keep warm in the pressure cooker.
  • Serve the lentils warm in taco shells with your choice of toppings.

Notes

Stovetop Variation: bring the lentils, broth and seasonings to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce the temperature to medium-low, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes until the lentils are tender. Stir in the salsa, season with additional salt and pepper, if needed, and mash the lentils, if desired. 
Broth: each brand/variety of broth will have a distinctive flavor, so make sure to use a broth that you already know you like the flavor of, as it will impact the overall flavor of the lentils. 
Salsa: see above note for broth. Same applies for the salsa. Use one you love! It is preferable to use a thick and chunky variety here so there isn’t excess liquid in the lentil mixture. 
Refrigerate or Freeze: the cooked lentils keep well in a covered container in the fridge for several days (the flavor gets even better!). They can also be frozen to thaw, reheat and serve later.
Serving: 1 taco (lentils only), Calories: 98kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 0.4g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 246mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 2g