These Healthy Tacos pack extra fiber and nutrients in each bite, but you’d never know just by tasting them. Thanks to a secret ingredient, they are also budget friendly for your next Taco Tuesday.
Why You’ll Love Them
They taste amazing. This taco meat has all the flavor you’ve come to expect from traditional recipes. They are made with lean ground beef, but also pack nearly a pound of cooked lentils inside!
They are budget-friendly. By adding affordable lentils to the ground beef, you’ll get double the amount of taco meat from this recipe, without doubling the price of your ingredients.
They are kid-friendly. This is a recipe my 6-year-old requests weekly! When I say you can’t tell that there are lentils inside… I’m not kidding.
They are quick to prepare. When you rely on canned lentils for convenience, this meal is ready to eat in just about 15 minutes. It’s the perfect weeknight meal, and also makes a delicious topping for nachos if you want to add this to a pile of tortilla chips with queso.
They are easy to customize. Taco night is perfect for picky eaters, because you can set out the toppings and fillings “family style.” When you set out options like lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and avocado, everyone can add what they like on top.
Ingredients You’ll Need
These tacos are made with lean ground beef, so that they taste like traditional beef tacos, but you can use any other ground meat you prefer, such as ground turkey or chicken.
If you prefer a shredded chicken taco, try my Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos, which are also lightened up with added plants. (Though, it’s hard to tell!)
How to Make The Best Healthy Tacos
1. Brown the meat.
Add the ground beef to a skillet over medium-high heat, and add in 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt. Break the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
Stir often, until the meat is browned and is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
Next, add in the drained and rinsed lentils, as well as the spices. At this point, I usually add in another 1/4 teaspoon of salt, but you can adjust that to your liking.
Stir well, until the lentils blend in with the meat. They will be visibly noticeable at first, and they will start to blend in as everything cooks together. This should take 3 to 5 minutes.
Once you’ve adjusted any seasoning to taste, serve the taco meat in your favorite tortillas, or over a bed of greens for a taco salad. Use corn tortillas, cassava flour tortillas, or a lettuce wrap for a gluten-free option.
Set out bowls of toppings, like salsa, guacamole, sour cream, chopped romaine lettuce, and cheddar cheese, then let your family or friends pick what they’d like to add on top for an easy taco night.
Leftover taco meat can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat the leftovers quickly in a skillet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this recipe should work with ground turkey or chicken, too.
If you don’t have canned lentils on hand, you can cook them by combining 1 cup of dry lentils with 4 cups of water in a large pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cover to cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender, but not mushy. Drain the lentils, and then they are ready to measure and use in this recipe.
Yes, of course! I tend to use cumin and chili powder every time, but sometimes I’ll swap the oregano for garlic powder or onion powder, or you can add in a pinch of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika for even more flavor.
I haven’t experimented with this myself, but if you want to replace the homemade taco seasoning this recipe calls for, you can start with 1 1/2 teaspoons of your favorite taco seasoning, and add more to taste once the meat has been cooked thoroughly. (Taco seasoning contains salt, too, so you’ll want to avoid adding any seasoning until you know how the store-bought package might affect things.)
Healthy Ground Beef Tacos
Healthy Tacos are made with a mix of lean ground beef and lentils, but you’d never know just by tasting them! They are budget-friendly, with extra fiber and nutrients in each bite.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt , plus more to taste
- 1 (15 oz.) can lentils , drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 tortillas
- chopped romaine lettuce
- salsa, guacamole, and any other toppings
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and 1 teaspoon of salt. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat, and stir often, until the meat is browned with no pink remaining, about 5 minutes.
As soon as the meat is browned, add in the drained lentils, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Stir well, for about 3 to 5 more minutes, until the lentils aren’t visible, and the mixture looks simply like ground beef. Taste and adjust any seasoning. (I usually add an extra ¼ teaspoon of salt.)
Serve the taco meat warm, tucked into your favorite tortillas, and pile on the toppings for an easy weeknight meal. You can also serve this over a bed of lettuce for a taco salad, or over nachos, or in a quesadilla. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Feel free to use any other ground meat you like for this recipe, such as ground turkey or chicken.
If you need to cook your lentils from scratch (which is even more budget friendly!), be sure to see the FAQ section in this post for tips.
Calories: 79kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.2g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 330mg, Potassium: 202mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 0.01g, Vitamin A: 39IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 1mg
If you try this healthy taco recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!