Savory Lentil-Oatmeal Taco Bowl

Another savory recipe! I’m breaking my once-every-six-months tradition. [If you missed it, I posted a Savory Pumpkin and Kale Steel Cut Oatmeal with Veggie Sausage last week.]

This taco bowl replaces meat with a lentil and oatmeal mixture. I went with rolled flakes to achieve a “piece-y” texture, as opposed to the creamy texture I would get from a steel cut oat. Together, the lentils and oat flakes create something similar to a ground beef, and they’re seasoned with typical taco seasonings–cumin, chili powder, oregano, paprika, garlic, onion, etc.

(My boyfriend, who takes his tortillas and tacos very seriously, will disown me when he sees this. I’m willing to take that risk because this recipe is delicious, easy, and worth sharing!)

From there, you can top the bowl with the same items you would use to top a taco. The best part about eating your tacos in bowl form is that you can add as many toppings as you want, without worrying about it fitting into that cute little tortilla. (I’m sorry, boyfriend. I did just use the phrase “cute little tortilla.”)

Consider the usual toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeños, avocado or guacamole, hot sauce, squeeze of lime (normally I would add beans and rice to this list, but there are already beans and a grain–the oats–masquerading as the “meat,” so it would be a little overkill to add more beans and rice)

Or get a little fancier: kale or spinach, black olives, roasted sweet potato, pineapple or mango salsa, scallions, roasted bell pepper strips, lime crema, corn, red cabbage, tomatillo sauce, apple slaw, radishes

Finally, be sure to top with some tortilla chips, crushed or in strips. It adds a fun texture and you’ll get to eat your bowl in scoops! I made my own baked tortilla chips by cutting a tortilla into triangles, spritzing it with a touch of oil, sprinkling on some salt, and baking it until golden at 350 degrees F. They will still be soft when you take them out of the oven but will crisp up as they cool (like granola).

My dream bowl would have had romaine lettuce, avocado, pineapple salsa, and guacamole, but sadly, my desire to test this recipe did not coincide with my desire to buy groceries, so I made due with what I already had in my fridge.

Random Recommendations:

  • [things] Modcloth’s charter school cardigan that comes in every color imaginable and fits great
  • [people] the Instagram account @vickiee_yo for the most adorable cookies and other baked goods

Savory Lentil-Oatmeal Taco Bowl

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: serves 1

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup water (do not add salt!)
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1/8 tsp salt*
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper*
  • 1 tsp chili powder*
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder or granules*
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder or granules*
  • 3/4 tsp cumin*
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano*
  • 1/4 tsp paprika*
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes*
  • up to 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • toppings, as desired (see ideas above in post)

How to make it:

  1. Bring water and lentils to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about ten minutes.
  2. Add oats and cook another 5 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  3. BEFORE all water has absorbed, stir in salt, spices, and optional nutritional yeast.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and add toppings as desired. Enjoy!

Just an FYI:

*If you're using a premade taco seasoning spice blend, use about 1 tbsp of the blend.

This lentil-oat recipe could also be placed inside a taco shell or lettuce wrap for a more traditional taco experience.

About Lauren Smith

Lauren is a herbivore, Slytherin, and connoisseur of oats. She is a former teacher who is currently studying to earn a master's degree in curriculum development. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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