Super Easy Taco Bake
Can you believe that Cinco de Mayo is falling on a Monday this year?! I mean seriously, it should always be held on the weekend although I am really unsure how the universe could make that happen for us. All that being said you may find yourself being really responsible next Monday night, maybe you plan on making a home cooked meal to celebrate the holiday after a long day of work. You may be considering whipping up a margarita or two for you and your sweetheart and quite possibly you will top all of that off with a movie on the couch after your kids go to bed. If this sounds like the picture perfect way to spend a Cinco de Mayo that falls on a Monday to you than this super easy taco bake is the recipe you have been waiting for. Super fast, super easy, and super delicious.
As I was scouring the internet for Cinco de Mayo inspiration a few weeks ago I came across a post titled Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole from Heather Likes Food the title alone had my attention, but when I noticed just how easy and doable on a weeknight this meal could be I knew I had to make a veggie-filled version for my family. I mean seriously, this is just brilliant
You all know by now that I love tacos, but if I am being perfectly honest I sort of loathe them too. All of those little topping bowls to wash at the end of the meal gets a little daunting. My family usually requires at least 8-10 taco toppings per taco feast, so you can imagine the cleanup can be pretty substantial. I love how Heather just made an executive decision, stuffed and filled the tacos herself and omitted all of those pesky extra dishes.
Heather’s taco bake calls for ground beef, so I knew immediately my lentil taco filling would be a must for these little beauties. To make meal prep even easier for yourself on Monday go ahead and cook your lentils over the weekend and store them in the fridge so that they are ready to go when you are and if you want to use the optional roasted poblano cashew cream like I did to drizzle over the top you can whip it up pretty quickly over the weekend too, although if you aren’t opposed to dairy a dollop of sour cream would work just fine too!
- 2 teaspoons taco seasoning (Trader Joe's is gluten free)
- ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch of salt
- 2½ cups cooked brown or green lentils, drained
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce, I use Cholula
- 1 cup shredded jalapeno jack cheese
- 12 crunchy taco shells
- salsa, I used fire roasted but you can use whatever you prefer
- Shredded Romaine lettuce
- cherry tomatoes, halved
- cilantro, chopped
- avocado, diced
- roasted pepitas
- poblano cashew cream
- sour cream
- Combine the taco seasoning, oregano, cumin, and coriander in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Fill a cup with water and place next to the stove to add to the pan as you cook. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Saute the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the spice blend and toss for 30 seconds to toast the spices.
- Lower the heat to medium, and add the lentils along with a few splashes of water, the tomato paste, and hot sauce. Use the back of a wooden spoon, a spatula, or a fork to mash the lentils as they cook until they hold together. Continue mashing and stirring the lentil mixture for approximately 5 minutes, adding small splashes of water as necessary when the lentils look like they are drying out.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the taco shells standing up in a 11 x 7 x 2-inch pan. Divide the lentil mixture among the taco shells and divide the cheese among the tacos as well. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the taco shells are beginning to brown and the cheese is melted.
- Top each taco with salsa, shredded lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, pepitas, and roasted poblano cashew cream or sour cream.
Everything you love about huevos rancheros rolled up enchilada-style! Click here to check out my Huevos Rancheros Enchiladas.
Sweet potatoes and smoky black beans make these vegetarian wraps filling and delicious! Click here to check out my Southwestern Veggie Wraps.