Monday, March 22, 2010

Cheap taco or burrito filling

We've been making an effort around here to cut back on eating meat. It saves on the grocery bill, plus it's healthier. I've done a bit of research and found that lentils provide a great deal of protein and nutrition and are an easy substitution for meat-based dishes.

After some trial and error, I've come up with a cheap, easy way to replace ground beef in tacos and burritos. This is what works for my family. It's very easy to adjust the spices to your family's tastes.

Here's my recipe:

1/2 cup lentils
1/4 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 teas cumin
1 teas chili powder
1/2 teas garlic powder
1/2 teas onion powder
salt to taste

I dump all this in my rice cooker and use the brown rice setting. I just love my rice cooker! It is so convenient to push a button and get perfectly cooked rice without hovering over the stove.

If you don't have a rice cooker, cook the rice, lentils, and seasonings on the stovetop according to the directions on the brown rice package. It should take about 40 minutes.

I can get enough filling for 8 burritos or 10 tacos with this recipe. It's easy to double or triple it if you need to feed a crowd. If this isn't spicy enough for you, add more chili powder or a dash of hot sauce. It costs about 1/4 the price of a pound of ground beef to make this lentil filling. A 75% savings is hard to beat!

You can also freeze the filling to use later. Simply place it in a freezer bag and seal. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat when needed.

For more helpful tips, head over to Works for Me Wednesdays at We are THAT Family. And visit Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap for more recipes using lentils.


  1. Oooh, great idea. I will have to try it.

    By the way, I love my rice cooker too! It is one of my favorite small kitchen appliances. :)

  2. I just purchased a large bag of lentils a couple of weeks ago and wondered what to try them out on. What a great frugal idea!