Two days till Cinco de Mayo – that leaves plenty of time to plan for tacos, right? Ample time to switch up prevailing plans of a standard Mexican meal, too.
Outside of the corn tortilla, this recipe isn’t the typical celebration piece. But the roasted carrot + spiced lentil combo that lays within it makes the recipe certainly worth veering away from traditional.
If you’re in the market for something new, give it a go. These tacos will still pair perfectly with a classic margarita and side bowl of guac., so don’t think you need to entirely ship your Cinco de Mayo plans outside of the box. I mean, avocados are pretty much a must…
Here, cumin seeds get flashed in a hot skillet and then ground into a notably aromatic, fresh powder. This extra step really makes the lentils shine without requiring much further effort to make them stand out. I.e., don’t skip this step if you can help it.
The toasty flavor of the cumin pairs perfectly with the sweet and earthy carrots that are placed beside the lentils. Creamy goat cheese seals the deal before the taco gets wrapped. If you want, you can amp up the buttery factor by pureeing some of the roasted carrots prior to adding them to your taco. Layer this onto the tortillas as a sauce, and proceed as the recipe instructs. Yum-o. That’s a celebration I’m ready to have on my plate this Tuesday. You with me?!
- 6-8 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced into thirds
- 1 cup lentils
- 5 lg. cloves garlic, diced
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1/2 tsp. hot Mexican chili powder
- 1 tsp. of toasted cumin made from cumin seeds* (See note)
- 4 oz. goat cheese
- Handful of cilantro, washed
- 8 (6-inch) white corn tortillas
- Hot sauce or salsa verde
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Add carrots and toss with olive oil, until just lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 20-30 minutes, until carrots are soft and caramelized.
- Meanwhile, place 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Saute garlic, stirring continuously, until golden. Add lentils along with 2 cups of water to the pan. Stir in coriander, Mexican chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender.
- Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil. Place in oven for 5 minutes, or until warm. Remove. Place a spoonful of lentils into each tortilla. Top with 2-3 carrot slices. Crumble goat cheese on top and add cilantro. Eat!
Start with about 2 tsp. of cumin seeds. Heat a small skillet over high. Add cumin seeds, and stir continuously until seeds begin to brown, and emit a toasty aroma. Remove from pan. Place in a mortar and pestle or a coffee/seed grinder, and crush until fine/powdery.
You may wish to also puree the roasted carrots into a sauce. Puree all, or keep a few whole to place on top.