Dishing Up the Dirt

Lentil Walnut Tacos with Smokey Cashew Queso Sauce

It comes as no surprise to me that people assume Taylor and I are vegetarians since I rarely post meat recipes on the blog. However, contrary to popular belief we are not vegetarians. We eat a very vegetable rich diet with meat on occasion. When we do cook or eat meat we try to source it from local ranchers whenever possible. We are extremely lucky to live in a farming community where dairy, meat and vegetables are easily accessible and more often than not, all raised and grown with love by people we know personally.

With all that being said, I don’t post a lot of meat recipes on here because when we do eat meat Taylor is usually the cook while I sit back and relax. It’s great!  At some point, when I get the courage I’ll post some of our meat dishes but to be honest, I’m so happy cooking vegetarian recipes that they will continue to be the focal point of this blog. Take these tacos for example. They aren’t intended to replicate meat, however, they are extremely “meaty” in their own way. They’re chock full of flavor, great texture and drizzled with the best damn cashew queso sauce I’ve ever had.  Both meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike can enjoy these tacos because when it comes down to it, they’re delicious. We enjoyed them two nights in a row and on the third night made “hippie” nachos with the leftover queso sauce per Taylor’s request. We served the nachos with those ginger mint margaritas I made last week. It was a seriously delicious evening and I’ll share the recipe for the nachos soon. Until then, it’s all about these tacos!

I first tried lentil walnut tacos at a cafe in Portland a few years back and absolutely loved them. If I remember correctly they were also served with a spicy cashew cream sauce and these tacos are my knock off version. I made a simple lime and cabbage slaw to throw into the mix which complimented all the flavors. I’m so happy with how these turned out and I can’t wait to make them for my dad who has become addicted to cashew base sauces recently. He has a recipe for a roasted red pepper cashew sauce that I’m going to try soon and hopefully post in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

This is the kind of dinner you make on a warm evening with good company and a batch of fresh margaritas to take the edge off.

I hope you all enjoy these tacos as much as we do. Bon appétit!

Lentil Walnut Tacos with Smokey Cashew Queso Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 0 minutes    Serves: 4-6

Lentil Walnut Filling
  • 1 cup cooked french green lentils
  • 1 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of water to thin if necessary
Cabbage Lime Slaw 
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 4 radishes, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Smokey Cashew Queso Sauce
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 30 minutes in water
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika (more or less depending on preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper + more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup water + additional to thin if necessary
Corn Tortillas for serving

Preparation

  1. Prepare the lentil walnut filling by combining all the ingredients (minus the water) in a food processor and processing until well combined (make sure to leave a little texture). Add water to the mixture if it's too dry. Taste test and adjust seasonings if need be. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the cabbage slaw by whisking together the lime juice, olive oil, honey and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl toss together the rest of the ingredients and drizzle with the dressing.
  3. Prepare the cashew queso by draining the soaked cashews and rinsing them under cold water. Place all  the ingredients for the sauce in a high speed blender and whirl away on the highest setting until the sauce is smooth and creamy. This takes about 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides as necessary and add water 1 Tablespoon at a time to thin if need be. Taste test and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  4. Warm up a few corn tortillas in the oven and divide the lentil walnut filling and cabbage slaw between tortillas. Drizzle with the queso sauce and enjoy!

Notes

*Queso sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week *Taste test as you go *Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary *Have fun in the kitchen


Leave a Reply

8 thoughts on “Lentil Walnut Tacos with Smokey Cashew Queso Sauce

  1. This lentil walnut filling is right up my alley and I love how all three of the filling components play off each other. It’s nice how you let your recipes be their own thing and speak for themselves,rather than try to fit them into the “meat alternative” category. As a health coach, I find that this approach makes it easier for anyone trying to transition toward a more plant-centric diet.

  2. Taylor says:

    Just made these and wow! They are amazing. Love the lentil walnut filling and that cashew sauce is the best thing I’ve ever had! So good!

  3. Emma says:

    I’m allergic to walnuts 🙁 such a bummer! any other replacement suggestion? Thank you!

    1. Andrea says:

      I haven’t tried this yet, but I think subbing with sunflower seeds could be a nice alternative. Or you could try almonds. Let me know how either of those work!

  4. liz says:

    this was amazing!!! a lot of dishes but totally worth it. That sauce is hands down the best thing I’ve ever made and the lentil walnut filling is genius. Yum!!!

  5. Carol says:

    Andrea, you’ve done it again, thank you! I made the sauce and lentils yesterday so the tacos came together really quickly today – perfect for a taco party!

  6. anna wiener says:

    Is there a substitute for nutritional yeast? Yeast doesn’t like me much.
    thank you.

  7. These tacos were absolutely delicious! The lentil walnut mixture tasted just like ground beef! I’m not vegetarian but like you most of our meals are plant based and we save meat for special dinners and such. Anyways, these were fab! Thank you!

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