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This is the most simple, healthiest, and tasty vegan taco meat you will make! It is made with lentils, chopped pecans, and seasoned for a perfectly tasty oil-free taco “meat”.
It’s easy enough to make vegan taco meat nowadays with the abundance of vegan/plant-based meats available. And there is nothing wrong with that if you are just looking for a “realistic” meat substitute. Sometimes though, you are looking for a healthier whole-food plant-based option.This lentil taco meat is made with only wholesome whole-food ingredients. It is oil-free and is super easy to make! I use as few short-cuts such as dehydrated onion and packaged taco seasoning for a super easy quick and healthy vegan taco meat that is on my plate in less than thirty minutes from start to finish.
For some other tasty quick and easy plant-based options, try my Easy Hearty Vegan Spaghetti, my Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie or my tasty Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole. They all cook up quick and will be a big hit with your crew!
To make this Vegan Taco Meat you will need:
- chopped pecans
- minced garlic (I use jarred)
- Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (affiliate link)
- tomato paste
- minced dehydrated onions (affiliate link)
- packaged taco seasoning
- Other seasonings to personal taste such as salt, pepper, chili powder, hot sauce, etc.
Tips and tricks for making this best Instant Pot Lentil Taco Meat:
Please read through the tips and tricks section so that your tacos will taste as yummy as mine!
- Use brown or green lentils – NOT red lentils. Red lentils will make this recipe too mushy and less “meat” like.
- Rinse the lentils to get rid of any dust or odd bits and pieces. You do not need to presoak the lentils. Ever!
- I use pecans. Walnuts would also work well. Unless you can find the nuts already finely chopped, you will want to chop them smaller. I use a mini food processor (affiliate link) that is small enough to leave on my counter-top and have readily accessible when needed.
A few shortcuts I take include:
- using a 1-ounce package of prepared taco seasoning – just read the ingredients to ensure yours is vegan compliant. A 1-ounce package contains about 1/4 cup of seasoning.
- using dehydrated onion. If you choose to cut your own, use 1/4 cup fresh minced onion
- using jarred minced/chopped garlic. For a recipe such as this, you really can’t taste the difference. I always estimate a clove of garlic to one heaping teaspoonful of jarred minced garlic. I found this large lovely jar at my grocery store and use it all the time!
Other ingredients used:
- Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (affiliate link) is added for an umami (found in meat) flavor. If you don’t have any liquid aminos on hand, you can sub in some low sodium soy sauce.
- This recipe calls for two Tablespoons of tomato paste. It always seemed so wasteful to use only two tablespoons out of the can…and then what? Throw it away? Let it get moldy in the fridge and then throw it away?
- Here is a solution! Tomato paste freezes beautifully! I portion it out into single tablespoon servings and then freeze. That way, when I need only a tablespoon or two, I just pop it out of the freezer, thaw, and use.
I deliberately did not highly season this recipe so that you can add in a few extras to your family’s personal taste. After the lentil pecan “meat” has cooked, you should taste it and add in a little salt, some extra chili powder or hot sauce if desired.
Cooking the Vegan Lentil Taco Meat in the Instant Pot
- Ensure you understand how to use the features of your pressure cooker.
- Add in all the ingredients, including the liquid.
- Give it a little stir so that all dry ingredients are moistened and covered with the liquid.
- Set your pressure cooker for 9 minutes on high pressure. It will take a few minutes to come to pressure and then start counting down from 9 minutes.
- After the 9 minutes are up, safely do a quick release. I always use a long-handled spoon to turn the pressure valve and release the steam.
- Carefully open the pot once the valve has popped down and stir to fluff the lentil taco meat.
- breakfast bowls
- taco salad
Looking for some other easy Instant Pot recipes?
The Recipe for Vegan Taco Meat with Lentils (Instant Pot)
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Vegan Taco Meat with Lentils (Instant Pot)
- Pressure Cooker
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 1½ cups dried lentils rinsed
- 1 Tablespoon dehydrated onions
- 1 clove garlic chopped (1 teaspoon)
- 1 ounce package taco seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos
- 3 cups water
- Chop pecans and set aside. Mince garlic (if not using prechopped) and set aside. Rinse lentils and drain well.
- Add pecans, lentils, dehydrated onions, minced garlic, taco seasoning, tomato paste, liquid aminos, and water to the Instant Pot. Stir well.
- Your Instant Pot will be cooking at high pressure. Press "manual" and set for 9 minutes.
- After the Instant Pot comes to pressure, the countdown will start. After it counts down and beeps, carefully do a quick release according to manufacturer instructions.
- After your pot has release all of the pressure, open carefully and give it a little stir.
- Taste and add in extra seasonings if desired: salt, chili powder, hot sauce, etc.
- Put leftovers in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to five days. If it gets dried out, add in a little water or veggie broth, stir and heat before serving.