I think all of us who grew up in the 80's and 90's with American parents probably experienced "Taco Night" on a pretty regular basis.
(Lean) Ground beef + salty mystery packets. Place on flour tortillas. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, olives and sour cream.
Did everyone do the olives? Or was that just my fam?
I think we all know that there is nothing Mexican about those tacos. So it is the American taco. And it is fine. It is easy. It is nostalgic. It is good for picky eaters because they can leave out what they don't like.
Can we just take a minute and reflect on lean ground beef? Does it have a purpose on Earth? Does anyone actually enjoy it? WHY DOES IT EXIST?!
I was at the meat counter back in good ol' Boulder once. I asked my guy who would ever need a lean piece of beef, especially if it was cut as a steak. What are they for? How do you make them taste good? He goes, "I wouldn't recommend that cut of meat on my worst enemy. It is good for nothing." (Not a direct quote, I actually can't remember exactly what he said.)
Please remember this. Just because they sell it. And just because it is on sale. Doesn't mean it is worth your calories. Eat meat that tastes good. And only meat that tastes good. (For the record, fat tastes good.)
I am very sure that vegetarian converts don't ever look back on their meat eating lives and wish they could have a scoop of lean ground beef. But they would happily eat some lentils. Or beans. Remember these bean burritos? I swear to you, you will not miss the beef with either the bean or lentil variation of this American classic. And most people have moved on from the seasoning packets anyways. ...right? So do that too. And let's give Mexican food a little more credit and use a little queso fresco!
|Aren't these rainbow lentils so pretty? It is just a fun mix they sell in the bins.|
adapted from Allrecipes
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup salsa
corn tortillas, fried crispy (flat, tostada-style)
Queso fresco, crumbled
1 1/2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
cilantro, small handful, leaves torn
In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly. Taste and season with salt (I probably added more than a 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt. Depends on your chicken broth.
Stir in salsa. Spoon about 1/4 cup lentil mixture on top of each fried corn tortilla. Top with queso fresco, lettuce, tomato, and cilantro.
(Servings: 4, Prep time: 5 min., Cook time: 40 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 7/10
Scot (taste): 8/10
Dishwashing Effort: 2/5