Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos
May 12, 2016

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos | The Full Helping

I’ve been eating a lot of soft taco/tostada meals recently. They’re such an easy vehicle for veggies and plant proteins, and it’s fun to come up with creative toppings (even if my usual default is simply to smother them with truly amazing cashew queso sauce).

These cumin roasted carrot and lentil tacos are a departure from the usual set of toppings (refried beans, green chilis) in that they feature a more Middle Eastern spice profile—cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, cinnamon, and even a touch of (optional) harissa. They’re wonderfully savory, and the spice blend here gives them an unusual touch.

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos | The Full Helping

There are many different ways to create a hearty—or meaty, if you’ll forgive the idiom—filling for vegan tacos. One is to use tofu, tempeh, or seitan, which are the obvious choice for vegan meat replacement. Another is to use veggies that deliver a lot of texture and chew, like crispy cauliflower or mushrooms.

Pulses are also an obvious choice for protein and heft. My heat free lentil and walnut tacos are a standby recipe for me, whether I serve them with romaine leaves, collard leaves, or regular taco shells; I love the savory, umami packed combination of lentils, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos | The Full Helping

These tacos rely on lentils as a cheap, nutritious plant protein source. But they also incorporate crispy, cumin-dusted roasted carrots. Carrots may not come to mind as a traditional taco ingredient, but I’m really impressed with the heartiness they add to this dish. They pair perfectly with the Middle Eastern spices and the lentil/red onion combination. Slivers of creamy avocado complete the dish, adding healthful fats and a flash of beautiful, bright color.

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos | The Full Helping

This post is a part of my year-long celebration of the International Year of Pulses. The UN has named 2016 the year of pulses in recognition of beans, lentils, and dry peas as a sustainable, affordable protein source. I welcome all of you to take the Pulse Pledge with me—a low-key commitment to eating pulses once a week for at least ten weeks this calendar year. I know it’s not usually hard for plant-based eaters to squeeze in plenty of pulses, but this challenge can still serve as a fun and friendly reminder.

And if you’re looking for a bold, flavorful recipe to start your pledge with, I highly recommend these tacos.

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos | The Full Helping

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos | The Full Helping

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings (2 tacos each)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound peeled and trimmed carrots about 4 large or 8 regular sized carrots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon harissa seasoning optional; I like the one from Frontier Co-op
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 small chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown black, or green lentils (or 1 can lentils, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice plus extra for serving.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 corn or whole wheat soft tacos
  • 2 large Hass avocados

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Half or quarter the carrots (depending on how wide they are), then cut them into 1-inch long pieces. Place them in a large mixing bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin, the coriander, cinnamon, smoked paprika, and the harissa, if using. Toss well to combine. Transfer the carrots to a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until the carrots are very tender and a little crispy.
  • While the carrots roast, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the red onion. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the lentils, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, the chili powder, lime juice, and salt. Stir to combine everything and heat the lentils up (about 1-2 minutes). Turn off the heat.
  • Toast the tortillas gently over an open oven burner (about 1 minute per side). Alternately, you can wrap them in foil and place them in a 350F degree oven for about 5 minutes prior to taco assembly.
  • To assemble tacos, place 1/4 cup lentil mixture, a handful of roasted carrots, and a few avocado slices in each taco. Top with an extra squeeze of lime juice, if desired. Fresh, chopped parsley makes a nice accompaniment, too. Enjoy.

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos | The Full Helping

If lentils aren’t your pulse of choice, feel free to try roasted chickpeas, kidney beans, or pinto beans in the recipe instead. You can also add some additional vegetables to your tray of carrots before roasting (I’d love to add mushrooms to the recipe myself!).

I hope you give these wholesome tacos a try soon. If you make them, I’d love to hear how the recipe turns out!

xo

This post was created in partnership with the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council. Opinions are my own. Thank you for your continued support! To learn more about the Pulse Pledge and find more bean, lentil, and dry pea recipes, visit www.pulsepledge.com.

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    18 Comments
  1. 5 stars
    Just made these! OMG good and so easy!
    Will definitely make them again.
    I’m not vegan/vego but have 2 meat free days per week.
    I thought the same about using sweet potato

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  2. OMGosh this is so incredible! I have the worst luck roasting carrots – these are perfectly tender and the flavor MMMM!!!! Plus, it came together really quickly!

    I ended up putting mine over brown rice and it was perfectly filling, satisfying, and so damn flavorful!

  3. 5 stars
    I made these for diner tonight. So delicious!! I made cashew cheese to go with it and added pickled jalapeños and habaneros. Will be making again! I’ve been roasting carrots the past few months but never thought to put them in a burritto!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this tonight (replaced lentils with chickpeas) and topped with pickled onions, radishes, and tomato salsa. Sooooo good, as always!!

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe.

    In Mexico and especially with poorer Mexican families, vegan and vegetarian tacos are quite normal. I ate them often prepared by my mother. They were made with potatoes, zuchinni, squash blossoms, corn, slices of poblano and jalapeño peppers, all combined in different ways and with many different types of simple, tasty salsas, quite a few of them raw. Some even included peanuts and pumpkin seeds. 🙂

  6. Gena, this recipe is truly inspired! I love the food and flavor and spice combinations, and the photographs are exquisite! I will have to try a verson of this sometime. I love roasted carrots, and I bet they are great with cumin. Thanks!

  7. This has, like, all my favorite things!! Cooked carrots, tacos, & avocado!!! And lentils are awesome too. Gotta try these.

  8. Yay for carrots in tacos! Last summer, some similarly spiced charred carrot and broccoli soft tacos were pretty big around here. I meant to post them but never got to it, and now you have me craving spicy carrot tacos again! I love your addition of lentils – these look so good!

    • Hey fellow sweet potato addict,

      I think that sweet potatoes will be delicious and not too mushy, but I do personally love the bite and chew of the carrots here. If you do potatoes, it’ll just be a little different, and less texture contrast (but the added sweetness will be great). I’d cube them and roast them until they’re super crispy so that you do get good texture from them!

      Hope you love it 🙂

      G