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Just in time for American Heart Month: Spicy Lentil Tacos (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

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Just in time for American Heart Month: Spicy Lentil Tacos (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

This guest post was written by Sharon Palmer, RD. She is an accomplished writer, editor, blogger, author, speaker, and media expert. Her expertise is in plant-based nutrition, cooking, and sustainability.

One of the benefits of a spice-filled diet is that you can cut back on the addition of salt, which has been linked to high blood pressure and risk of heart disease. In fact, reducing your sodium intake and upping your intake of whole plant foods—pulses, whole grains, vegetable, fruits, nuts, and seeds—can promote healthy blood pressure levels, and protect your heart. 


This recipe is filled with a variety of powerful herbs and spices, including garlic, chili peppers, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, and cilantro. Heavy on flavor and health, you won’t even miss the salt in this plant-based recipe! 


Watch this video of how to make this recipe

Lentil Taco Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ small jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on spice preference)
  • 2 cups cooked brown lentils (packaged, canned, or cooked from dried, according to package directions)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons water

Toppings and Tortilla:

  • 8 small (about 6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 ¾ cups shredded cabbage (red and/or white)
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet. 
  2. Sauté onions, garlic, and jalapeno over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until soft. 
  3. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, brown sugar (optional), and cayenne pepper (adjust for your spice preference) and sauté for another minute. 
  4. Add lentils and stir. Cook for about 2 minutes while stirring. 
  5. Add lemon juice, tomato paste, and water and mix well, stirring and heating for an additional 2 minutes. 
  6. Heat tortillas in microwave or oven just until soft. 
  7. To prepare tacos: Top each tortilla with about ¼ cup lentil taco filling, 1/3 cup shredded cabbage, 2 cherry tomatoes, 1/8 avocado, and 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro. 

Makes 8 small tacos 

Notes: May serve with salsa and cashew cream, if desired. To cook lentils from scratch: Cook 1 cup lentils with 2 cups water for 20-30 minutes, until tender. 

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 taco each): 185 calories, 5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 21 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 8 g protein



SharonPalmer.pngBy Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian

Sharon has created an award-winning career based on combining her two great loves: nutrition and writing. Sharon is an accomplished writer, editor, blogger, author, speaker, and media expert. In particular, her expertise is in plant-based nutrition, cooking, and sustainability. Read her full bio.










The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.