Vegan Chipotle Lentil Lettuce Tacos
Recipe by Erin McClung
Makes 4 servings - 3 lettuce tacos per serving
12 large romaine lettuce leaves washed & dried
For the lentils:
2 cups cooked french green lentils (or any hearty lentil)
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
1/2-1 chipotle in adobo chopped + a little (or a lot!) sauce
water or broth as needed
1/2 C toasted pepitas
To make the pepitas:
In a dry pan over low heat toast the pepitas until they begin to get brown. Remove from pan & set aside.
Cashew Chipotle Queso (adapted from Minimalist Baker- http://minimalistbaker.com/ )
3/4 C cashews (soaked for 2+ hours, or for 20 mins w/ boiling water, you can omit the soaking and the queso will be a little less smooth but still amazing)
1/4-1/2 C water
1.5 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 chipotle in adobo + sauce
To make the Cashew Chipotle Queso:
Put the cashews in a food processor or high speed blender with 1/4 c of water until a paste is formed. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Add more water until you achieve the consistency you desire.
To make the lentil meat:
Coat a pan with a little olive oil (or oil of choice) over medium heat. Once oil is heated add onion & sautee for a few minutes until softened. Add jalapenos & sautee for another minute or two. Add the cooked lentils, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, chili powder and salt. Stir to incorporate. Add the tomato paste and chipotle + sauce to the pan. Adding water or broth as needed to fully incorporate the tomato paste. Cook until lentils are warm.
Divide the lentils evenly onto each lettuce leaf. Top with salsa, black olives, cashew chipotle queso, pepitas & any other toppings you desire. Pick up & eat like a taco! Enjoy!
Meet Martina, an all around vegan athlete of many talents from Helsingborg, Sweden. Martina also owns Eco Athletics, which combines two of her greatest passions in life: exercise and yoga close to nature with coaching in a plant-based lifestyle. Eco Athletics offers coaching in Ashtanga yoga, group or private sessions.
Be inspired to live a greater life, a life with a purpose, a happier and healthier life. Be inspired to care for the earth and all of its earthlings. -Martina
How long have you been vegan?
What led you to become vegan?
Always for saving animals
Do you have any influencers or favorite books?
Since I became vegan I've watched a lot of documentaries about eating plant based. Forks over knives is probably one of my favorites.
What sports, activities, adventures do you do?
Running, outdoor functional fitness/calisthenics and yoga mostly. I run races, both Marathons and Obstacle races. No serious competition.
Do you have any big events or races planned for 2015?
Just the one and only: Helsingborg Marathon, on September 12
How does eating vegan improve your performance?
I became vegan halfway through my marathon training. Since then I feel more energized and my recovery time is really fast. My wrists have healed since I became vegan, which I had lots of troubles with before (I couldn't do pushups or handstands or anything like that without hurting my wrists).
What are your favorite 5 top things to eat?
Rice, potatoes, strawberries, asparagus, hummus
How about bars and smoothies?
Raw bars such as "raw bite" and "get raw", made with dates and nuts
Explain your nutrition routine.
I fast during the morning, only drink water or herbal tea, and some mornings I start with a glass of spirulina/chlorella. Lunch is preferably raw, either raw food or banana ice cream/fruit. I eat nuts and dried fruits as a snack in between meals, and for dinner a high carb meal with either rice and potatoes, or gluten free pasta (brown rice or beans). I plan my training according to my meal times. I usually train after my snack, which I have 30 min-1 hour before training and eat a high carb dinner after training, about 1 hour after. I don't use any protein supplement or any other artificial supplement to boost my training.
What's your primary source of essential fatty acids (EFAs)?
What are you go to choices for complete proteins (including all essential amino acids)?
What are your other favorite plant proteins?
What essential tips do you have for athletes moving to 100% plant-based?
Do your own research on nutrition. Don't rely on others to tell you what to eat and when to eat what, or how much you need of this and that. Do your research and find your own way of getting all the nutrition you need, and when you need it.
In as few words as possible, what does being a VEGAN ATHLETE mean to you?
It means that my strongest muscle is my heart.
What is your motto? Your mantra? Do you have a famous quote?
I have several: Peace is my natural state of being. I lead with my heart. Compassion is my purpose.
Stay connected with Martina:
Want to be interviewed for a future article?
"We’ve found a new way to eat and most importantly a new energy and respect for our bodies." - #TEAMALDER
In late April of this year, I finally decided that enough was enough. I don’t know that it was conscious but it was just something that happened. As I began, for the 100th time to search for ways to lose weight and be healthy, I decided that I was the only one that could make this change. I decided that my brand of health did not have to be like everyone else's. I knew what worked for me but doing it was a whole different story.
Rewind 3 years before this day in April. I had been vegan over 6 months, loved every minute, weighed 135 pounds (10 pounds less than in high school), exercised daily, and didn’t think much of it. I knew I was healthy but had no idea how fit my body really was. That May, I met my now wife, and fell in love in a matter of days (hey, when ya know, ya know). I stayed vegan for several months until I had that first ice cream cone on vacation. From there my wife and I went on journey of eating what we wanted when we wanted and it often was not healthy. We were both incredibly healthy until you put us together! During that time we also went on a spiritual journey together and this I believe is where the miracle of us really began. We began to live our lives from kindness, love, giving, and positivity and tried to do everything we could to make that what we did naturally. Granted we were still eating like crap but our spirits were growing together. We were told that once the spirit straightened out the mind and body would follow. And it has…
We have not arrived. We are not at the end but we are at a new beginning for us. In April of this year I decided to return to a way of eating that has spoken to me deep inside for almost 5 years now. I was laying in bed 166 pounds, tired, stressed, wanting to quit my job, and searching the internet for some inspiration. I had started reading some vegan blogs again. I eventually came across Miss Bellevue Vegan. I was sure she was too good to be true. $75 for a month of boot camp with her? No way, I don’t believe it. This is just what I had been looking for, affordable support…who was this person and when can I meet her!
I emailed her, we met, and everything she said made total sense. She didn’t have to convince me that going vegan was a better way to eat, I already knew that. She just believed in me and educated me. That night I was lying in bed telling my wife about working with her and she decided she would try this 33 day boot camp challenge too. And we started yet another phase of our relationship together. Our teamwork is what has made every phase, every hiccup, every challenge, every success work, because we are committed to doing better for each other and for our family. Our food and our health was the next natural step.
So she signed up with Kristin the next day and within a few days we were off to the races. The first three days were intense, mainly because our bodies were detoxing from so much sugar and processed food. After the detox phase passed, our energy level rose, our skin cleared, and our blood sugar stabilized (I even had someone tell me my hair looked different!). The first two weeks working with Kristin we eliminated everything from our diet that she suggested we eliminate (wheat, gluten, soy, corn, sugar, caffeine, and of course, dairy and meat). We slowly worked fruit back in. I tried to work wheat, gluten and soy back in, but discovered my body doesn’t like these items much so now that I generally try to steer clear of them all. We almost never eat processed sugar (except for a vegan cupcake or treat for a birthday). And, on the whole, we don’t miss any of the foods from before.
We’ve found a new way to eat and most importantly a new energy and respect for our bodies. Shopping is an adventure, cooking is something we do together, new recipes are ways to jump out of a rut and our family is getting used to it too. They have healthy options for us at cookouts, they ask us what is vegan, and of course, they poke fun too. But what has changed for me is that when they poke fun, I no longer take it to heart and let it deter my direction. I just play along and eat my vitamin rich food with an understanding that it’s about so much more than food to me. It’s about listening to the voice inside that says I can do better and be better and then going out and doing it, even when it’s hard and even when it’s unpopular. I am my greatest advocate for my health. Thanks Miss Bellevue Vegan for helping my wife and I get enough new routine, behaviors, and positive reinforcement under our belt to do different. Thanks for the food journals, the thoughtful responses, the education, and the passion with which you work. Team Alder is on it’s vegan way and we’ve only just begun!
Team Alder Stats
Owner of BEVEGAN® Grassroots Health. Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. AKA Miss Bellevue Vegan. Plant-Based Health Consultant. Vegan Athlete. Outdoor Enthusiast. Outdoor Gear Reviewer. Author. Cotopaxi Local Ambassador. Animal Lover. Dreamer. Believer.
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