You’ve heard of Taco Tuesdays, but have you ever considered mixing Meatless Monday into that dinner plan? Even if you’re not a vegetarian, we’ve discovered the ultimate veggie alternative that makes ordinary tacos into a healthier meal. You might be fooled yourself after trying this recipe that has a flavor and texture just like beef that everyone will enjoy.
Meaty and spicy meatless tacos
The biggest problem that fake meat always has is that it seldom looks like real meat and usually doesn’t taste like real meat. But to get the vegetarian angle, some tricks might raise an eyebrow for achieving a truly meat-free dish that fools the senses more than you think. The real secret comes from Trader Joe’s meatless meatballs which are primarily made from textured soy and other binding ingredients covered in breadcrumbs.
The object here is to get the meat flavor into the meatless meatballs and fry them up just like you would with ground beef. This is where lentils come to save the day. Lentils are added and mixed with the meatless meatballs and then are forced through a potato ricer. What this does is create a ground beef appearance that is cooked in a skillet and looks amazingly similar to ground beef that you would buy at the store.
With all of the spices added, the taste will have a more beefy flavor that hides the bland taste of tofu and lentils. But the most important part of this recipe is appearance, which is why the ingredients will help transform your meatless meatballs into highly realistic-looking vegetarian beef for your tacos. The best part is that all of these ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joe’s.
Meatless Tacos Recipe
- 1 Package 1 package Meatless Meatballs
- ½ Package 1/2 package Taco Seasoning
- 1 Can Tomato paste (small)
- 1 Chopped onion (finely diced)
- 1-2 Garlic cloves (minced)
- ½ Package Fire-Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions
- ½ Package Cut white corn
- 1 Cup Ready-to-Eat Steamed Lentils
- 1 Package Taco shells (or soft tortilla)
- Olive oil
- Non-fat Greek yogurt (for your sour cream)
- Cheese (grated)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- 3-4 Tablespoons Brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon Cayenne chili powder
- You want to start with the seasoning flavor which will help to flavor the meatballs and lentils. Take a medium-sized bowl and add the brown sugar, cumin, salt and pepper, taco seasoning, and mix these with a whisk. Then you add the entire can of tomato paste and blend these further.
- In a skillet, you cook the onions and garlic on low heat until the onions become glassy. This is then added into the seasoning bowl and mixed. Now take your meatballs and lentils and load these into the potato ricer. The meatballs need to be defrosted beforehand so they will pass through the ricer easier.
- As they are pushed through the ricer they will come out like spaghetti and this is collected into a large bowl. The texture from the lentils will allow the soy meatballs to have more meaty-looking chunks so technically you can put the lentils in a food processor if you prefer a smoother blend before the meatballs and lentils go through the ricer.
- Once this is done, add the seasoning mix into the bowl and carefully fold the seasoning sauce over the freshly-formed meatball and lentil mix. It doesn’t need to be perfect since this will now go into the skillet on medium heat. Be sure to add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet beforehand.
- This mixture will sizzle and brown further covering the fake beef as it cooks. This is when you can add the Fire-Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions which will pick up more of the seasoning flavor. Throw in the white corn after this and allow these to warm up for 3-4 minutes. Set your taco meat off to the side and turn off the stovetop.
- This mix is now ready to go into your taco shells of tortillas to make soft tacos. Add a bit of chopped lettuce or thinly sliced cabbage strips if you prefer a bigger crunch. For the yogurt sauce on top, you can mix a bit of lemon juice and some silken tofu to get a realistic sour cream flavor.
- Serve on a readied serving platter and watch how these addictive vegetarian tacos will quickly disappear from your sight. Because all of the seasonings and flavors are helping the meatball and lentil mix taste more like beef, cooking them in the skillet helps firm them up.
- This gives this meal just the right texture you can expect from fresh-cooked ground beef. Enjoy!