This vegan walnut-lentil chorizo is rich with flavor and incredibly versatile. It can be tucked into tacos, burritos, tamales, power bowls, etc.
September might be hinting at fall, but I'm still feeling the bright summer food photography.
Little splash of green, little pop of purple, lots of sunshiny light. Gimme all that goodness and wrap it up in taco-y packages that I can carry with me into the cooler weather months.
Before we proceed much further into these summer taco photos, I should mention that this particular recipe isn't actually for tacos per se. It's for a delicious, super versatile vegan chorizo filling that can be tucked into all sorts of edible vessels (e.g., tacos, burritos, tamales, etc.), strewn over salads, or even enjoyed on its own with a topping or two.
I have a feeling this one's going to become a go-to staple in your plant-powered lineup.
Why? Because it's...
PACKED with protein.
Brimming with brain-boosting omegas.
Loaded with fiber.
Easy as pie—correction: way EASIER than pie—to make.
This recipe is a lentil- and walnut-packed play on the cauliflower and sun-dried tomato chorizo I shared several years ago. The same lineup of spices is used, only this version has way more protein and is also far easier to make.
Win-win? Yes, yes.
So, how do you make this vegan walnut-lentil chorizo?
You start by cooking up a half cup of brown lentils. Brown lentils are a bit smaller and heartier than green lentils, and their texture is perfect in this recipe. In a pinch, I'm sure green lentils will do the trick, too, but do try to find brown if you can.
While the lentils cook, you'll add all the other ingredients to a food processor, including sun-dried tomatoes, raw walnuts, and a whole host of spices.
Once the lentils are ready, strain off any excess water and add them to the food processor, too.
Then, pulse several times to breakdown the walnuts and lentils and thoroughly mix all the spices into the base.
During the first trial of this recipe, I sautéed the mixture in a bit of olive oil for several minutes, but I found that it didn't add much to the flavor and actually put the chorizo at risk of drying out.
In later trials, I dropped the sautéing and enjoyed the chorizo straight from the food processor. Way easier and way more reliable. Another win-win scenario.
As mentioned above, this simple vegan chorizo is incredibly versatile.
Tuck it into tacos with a bit of cabbage, cilantro, and vegan sour cream as featured in the photos. Tuck it into burritos with sautéed peppers, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, and black beans. Fold it into tamales.
You get the idea.
This is your flavorful kitchen adventure, the chorizo is merely along for the ride.
Vegan Walnut-Lentil Chorizo
- ½ cup uncooked brown lentils or green lentils, sorted through and thoroughly rinsed
- 1 ¼ cup raw walnut pieces
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil thoroughly drained and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils and three cups of water over medium-high heat.
- Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender but not at all mushy.
- Meanwhile, add the walnut pieces, sun-dried tomatoes, paprika, garlic powder, coriander, oregano, cumin, thyme, sea salt, and cayenne pepper, and cinnamon to the bowl of a large food processor.
- Once the lentils are ready, strain off any excess water and add them to the bowl of the food processor, too.
- Pulse several times, or until the sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts are finely chopped and the mixture resembles a moist crumble.
- Serve the chorizo on its own, in salads, or in tacos, burritos, tamales, etc.
Sounds amazing! I love having satiating, nutrient dense options that can be incorporated into a variety of meals =)
Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite says
I've been wanting to try walnuts in a taco meat for awhile now! looks incredible :)
Would canned lentils work for this?
Hi, Erin! Hmm, I'm not sure. I've actually never used canned lentils myself. I'd say as long as they're firm-tender and not mushy they should work fine. Also, you'll need to figure out the cooked lentil equivalent of 1/2 cup uncooked lentils. I don't know it off-hand but should be triple or maybe more. Enjoy!
Celeste Jackson says
I made these the other night when an unexpected guest stopped by we wanted something healthy yet quick to make. Everyone enjoyed them! Always a surprise to carnivores like my husband how delicious it can be to eat a plant-based dish. Thank you for this delicious recipe!
Bella Marin says
I love this unique rendition of a classic mexican favourite! SO MUCH LOVE
So happy to hear you're enjoying it, Bella! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts.
Hayley Morrin says
Would green lentils work?
Yes, they'll work just fine!
Beth McLaughlan says
Hi Ashley, this recipes looks & sounds delicious & I'm looking forward to trying it. I'm wondering how you think lightly toasted walnuts would go in it? I think my walnuts may be a bit old (so possibly a bit rancid) & am thinking toasted might solve the problem. I brought a Kg pack recently & I was bummed they're not so fresh. I don't want to waste them though. Any thoughts?
Beth McLaughlan says
I think calling them rancid isn't really right. Maybe they're just stronger than the last batch I brought....anyway just curious about your thoughts how toasting them might affect the recipe.
Hi, Beth! So long as they're just a bit stale and not truly rancid, I'd recommend processing them in the processor first and then pan-toasting them in a dry skillet before mixing them with the lentils and spices. If you toast them before processing, they'll release too many oils upon processing. Hope this helps and hope you enjoy—such a bummer about the walnuts!
Beth McLaughlan says
Thanks so much Ashley! I'll do that. I'm soooooo looking forward to eating these tonight!
You're welcome. Hope you enjoy, Beth!
Hi! I'm excited to try this recipe out as I was looking for a more whole foods alternative to pre-packaged vegan chorizo. One question tho, I don't have oil packed sun dried tomatoes on hand. I do have a package of julienne cut dry packed sun dried tomatoes on hand - would those work as a sub, and is there anything additional I'd need to because they're not oil packed? Thanks!
Hi, Sarah! Great question. I'd recommend adding just a tablespoon of oil or so to make up for the oil lost by using dry-packed. Hope this helps and enjoy!
These were perfect Ashley! Such an easy, delicious recipe