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Lentil Mushroom Walnut Tacos with Sweet Corn Salsa

I found myself on hold with my gym this weekend waiting for “the next available customer service representative” to take my call.  Instead of the typical elevator music, they had some guy reading motivational quotes and telling you all about the benefits of exercising.  Makes sense, I guess.  It is a gym after all.

vegan tacos

He went on about how amping up your exercise and fitness routine often result in a positive trickle effect into other aspects of your life – one of which could be your diet.  He said, “exercise can result in a suppressed diet so you often end up eating less after working out!”  What?  Who are these people who work out, burn calories and then eat less than they would have had they not worked out?  Does that actually happen?

 

He also said if you take care of your body through exercise and make the concious effort to go to the gym, you’ll find yourself making healthier diet choices because “you just went to the gym so you better eat something that is good for you”.

#vegan lentil mushroom + walnut tacos with sweet corn salsa | thefreshdirection.com

That one I can agree with.  I think it is true that if you make a positive, concious health decision for one aspect of your life, the others often naturally follow.  As far as the correlation between exercise and diet goes, I think it’s a two way street.  If you decide to eat healthier and take note of what you’re willing to put into your body and what you aren’t, then logic says you’ll likely want to treat your body well in other ways, too.  Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing squats while you brush your teeth, parking in the last row of the parking lot to make yourself walk a little further.  You know the drill.  It doesn’t necessarily always start with fitness.  Diet can be the precursor, too.

#vegan lentil mushroom + walnut tacos with sweet corn salsa | thefreshdirection.com

What was a bit ironic about these “on hold” messages though, was that this was the same gym that one week earlier told me I should probably consider adding meat and animal products back into my diet if I wanted to tone up and gain muscle.  Right.  Because you can only have muscle if you eat meat, right?  HA.  The ignorance.

 

I just told the guy thanks for the advice but that wasn’t going to happen and let it go (with the intention of flexing my vegan muscles in his face in a few months to show him he was wrong).  However, after I was on hold and heard all these “facts” about diet + nutrition I thought they should get their facts straight about all diets and recognize that diet in general is a personal choice.  They shouldn’t try to inflict their beliefs on their customer, especially beliefs that hold no merit.

Anyway, I made these tacos and they don’t have any meat in them.  Instead of the usual ground beef/turkey/chicken or whatever, I made a “crumble” of lentils, mushrooms and walnuts.  I think the texture is perfect and the Mexican spices make it shine.  Top it all off with a simple sweet + spicy corn salsa, some crisp fresh lettuce and a slice of creamy avocado and you have the perfect meal.  No meat required.

#vegan lentil mushroom + walnut tacos with sweet corn salsa | thefreshdirection.com

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Tacos with Sweet Corn Salsa

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8 tacos

A vegan taco featuring a flavourful lentil, mushroom and walnut crumble. Topped with a fresh corn salsa, fresh cilantro and avocado. Refreshing, healthy and delicious!

Ingredients

    For the Corn Salsa
  • 1 cup sweet corn (if frozen, thawed to room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp lime juice, from about 1/2 large lime
  • For the lentil, mushroom + walnut crumble
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup white or cremini mushrooms, washed + roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cooked brown lentils
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp oregeno
  • pinch, cayenne
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • For the rest
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup chopped iceburg lettuce
  • 1 small avocado, peeled + diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional garnishes: lime wedges, hot sauce, sour cream

Instructions

    For the corn salsa
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the salsa ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. For the crumble
  3. Heat a bit of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. In a food processor, add walnuts and pulse until pea sized (4-5 pulses). Add mushrooms and pulse again a few times until well combined and crumbled. Next, add lentils and pulse 2-3 more times to combine. Do not over process - your mixture will become mushy.
  5. Add crumble to the heated pan and stir frequently until well heated and mushrooms are beginning to release some of their water. Add spices and stir to coat evenly. If it becomes dry, add a few splashes of water. Continue to cook for about 5 minuntes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. For the rest
  7. Heat corn tortillas in the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften. Top with a bit of lettuce, a few spoonfuls of the lentil/mushroom crumble, a scoop or two of the corn salsa, some diced green onion, fresh cilantro and avocado. Garnish with a spritz of lime, hot sauce and/or sour cream, if desired.
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