Tasty Mexican Lentils

These lentils have no business being this good. No business at all. I mean, lentils aren’t exactly exciting food, now are they? Well, I think these lentils are. I seriously can’t get enough of them. I can’t remember where I saw this recipe linked originally, but I am so glad I did because they have become a new family favorite. Healthy, versatile, good, simple, delicious.

Tasty Mexican Lentils | thepajamachef.com

These lentils definitely support their “tasty” title. They are smooth and flavorful, a perfect vegetarian Mexican meal. You can make burritos or tacos or burrito bowls or nachos with them, or eat them by the spoonful. [Oh wait--that might just be what I do!] They’re a little reminiscent of pinto beans [maybe refried beans] texture-wise, but flavor-wise they are absolutely incredible!

Tasty Mexican Lentils | thepajamachef.com

In the recipe below, I suggest using red lentils. Brown or green lentils can certainly use used instead, but the cooking time may be different. Red lentils are just my fave–according to The Kitchn they are sweet and nutty. They also cook super fast, making these lentils a great weeknight dinner. I hope you give ‘em a try soon! P.S. Don’t skip the avocado or guac as a topping–avocado + lentils=looove!

Tasty Mexican Lentils | thepajamachef.com

Oh–before I forget! Ben loved this dinner too. He was a bit skeptical [tacos without meat?!?!] but was soon won over. I bet he’d even eat them on his birthday…which just so happens to be today! Yup, that’s right. He’s a St. Paddy’s Day baby. :) Cake recipe coming soooooon. It was so good. :) Happy Birthday to my love!

one year ago: Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream
two years ago: Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola
three years ago: Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup

Tasty Mexican Lentils [from allrecipes.com]
click to print


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 2/3 cup chicken broth [or vegetable broth]
  • 2/3 cup salsa
  • tortillas or rice, for serving
  • lettuce, tomato, guacamole, avocado, sour cream, cheese, etc. for serving


Heat oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in lentils and taco seasoning and cook for one minute.

Pour chicken broth into lentil mixture, then bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering until lentils are tender [about 12-15 minutes].

Stir in salsa and heat uncovered, mashing slightly, until thickened [about 3-5 minutes].

Serve lentils in tortillas or over rice with desired toppings.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.

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Menu Plan

Menu Plan | The Pajama ChefWeek of March 17
Monday: birthday meal leftovers! [french dip sandwiches]
Tuesday: tasty mexican lentils
Wednesday: spaghetti
Thursday: out to eat or something else with my parents :)
Friday: turkey burgers  or something else with my parents :)
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: pizza

Book Review: Spoken For

Hello! Today I have a new book to share with you: Spoken For by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke. I received a free advance reading copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books Program. This book will be released on April 15, 2014 and is available for preorder now.

P.S. Be sure to check out my giveaway for a free canvas from Printcopia, now through 3/15/14!!

Spoken For | a book review on thepajamachef.com

Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

Say Yes to the Love Story of Your Life

A great romance was set in motion before you were born. A relentless Lover is pursuing you, and He has made His intentions clear. He wants you to be His forever. How will you respond to the One who longs for you to be His with your whole heart?

In Spoken For, Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke speak to your heart about what it means for you to belong to Christ, who you are because of His love, and how that affects the way you live. Drawing on biblical promises and their personal experiences,   these two friends share what it’s like to live out God’s unfolding love story.

You are not up for grabs. You are spoken for.

And as usual, my five point review:

  • First of all, I will fully admit that despite knowing this book was written for young women [even teen girls], I wanted to read it because Robin Jones Gunn wrote it. She’s the author of of my favorite preteen/teen reads of all time: the Christy Miller series. So, I was just curious what she had to say in this setting… and I was just a bit curious if the ‘love lessons’ I learned from Christy would translate to this book. And let me tell you… they DO! Yay! So, even though I’m a little beyond the intended age range for this book, it spoke so much truth to me. So good. Robin Jones Gunn knows her stuff, as does Alyssa Joy Bethke.
  • The authors’ love stories with their husbands–and with God–are interspersed throughout their reflections on truths related to our lives, truths about how God sees us. Unlike Altared, this alternating love story with Biblically based truth is not annoying and is done very tastefully. Each chapter is devoted to one truth and covers the following topics: You are… wanted, pursued, loved, called, of great value, a peculiar treasure, set free, covered, promised, and spoken for. Out of that list, I related to the first few chapters the most, but truly found life, hope, and encouragement on every page of the book, from reading scripture to reading these women’s personal love stories with the Lord and their husbands.
  • I think Spoken For would be a great book for a high school or college girls’ small group to read and discuss together. Each chapter includes questions that can be discussed in a group or considered individually. The emphasis of the discussion questions isn’t just on relationships so it really is applicable to a wide range of life experiences–a plus in my book.
  • My favorite thing about this book was that it is written in such a conversational style that I walked away from every page feeling known and loved. The authors did a great job with this. I know this style of writing is popular now because of blogs, but to me, it came across as genuine and not cheesy… and I didn’t think that the authors had everything “figured out” either, which as a young person I know can be quite annoying! Life and faith, for all of us, is a constant path of learning and growth and I felt this book emphasized that so well.
  • Though this book is written for young women [maybe ages 13 and up, approximately?] I think any woman, no matter her age, can relate to the need to feel loved, or wanted, or called. The easy-to-read, more simplistic format of this book is a welcome change to some books in the Christian living genre, without downgrading the Biblical validity of the book. I highly suggest you check it out when it is released on April 15th! I highly recommend this book to youth leaders and parents of teens as well. Good stuff!

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the chance to read this great book! 

SRC: Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk

Welcome to another edition of SRC! [Insert shameless plug for my photo canvas giveaway, now through 3/15/14].

Secret Recipe Club

Hope you’re all adjusting to that time change. Boo to losing an hour! I grew up without daylight savings time [most of the state of Indiana abstained until I was in college] so this is a semi-new thing for me. Falling back is great…but springing forward? Not so much. But enough about the time… a fun new dessert is calling your name!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

My Secret Recipe Club blog this month was Inquiring Chef, written by Jess, an American currently living in Thailand with her husband. She’s pregnant with twin girls! How fun! Jess has a huge repertoire of recipes on her blog–from Thai dishes like Shrimp Bites with Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce, Red Curry Salmon with Coconut Brown Rice, or Pad See Ew, to more traditional dishes like Pimento Cheese, Bagels, and Potato Pancakes. I wanted to make everything!! In the end, I realized I had to go with a Thai dish. How could I not? Instead of a noodle creation, I landed on this unique dessert–Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk. I have seriously never heard of anything like this before…and let me tell you–it is fabulous!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

Jess describes this dish so well that I am going to borrow her description: “Each bite is all at once crunchy, creamy, chewy, cold… almost impossible to describe.” Basically, what you have here is are apples soaked in juice, coated with tapioca flour, and then boiled to create a gelatinous coating. These sweet nuggets are served in a bowl with creamy, luscious coconut milk and crushed ice to create a fun taste and texture experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but whatever you have in your mind… this is even better! It’s sweet, but not overly so. If apples aren’t your thing, don’t be dismayed: Jess decided to use apples after the traditional “rubies” ingredient [water chestnuts] weren’t to her liking. And it’s genius! Be sure to check out Jess’ post for tips on preparing this dish [hint: use large pots and bowls, and have everything prepped ahead of time]. Thanks, Jess, for a great dish!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Quick Chocolate Pudding
two years ago: Quinoa Pancakes
three years ago: Lemon Blueberry Bread

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk  [from Inquiring Chef]
click to print


  • 2 crisp apples, cored, peeled, and cut into small pieces [Fiji, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Gala as well as any other crisp type would work well]
  • 2 cups red juice [I used grape; Jess used pomegranate]
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • crushed ice, for topping


Place apples and juice in a small bowl to soak, making sure apples are completely covered. Soak for 20 minutes.

While apples soak, bring a large pot of water to boil. Set a medium bowl of ice water next to stove to use as an ice bath.

In another bowl, stir together tapioca flour and sugar. After apples are drained, pour apples into tapioca mixture, tossing evenly to coat. Shake off extra tapioca mixture and gently drop coated apples into boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes, until coating is transparent. Remove from water and place in ice bath.

Drain apples and divide between 4 small bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 cup coconut milk and a serving of crushed ice. Serve immediately.

Time: 40 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Notes: This dish is traditionally made with water chestnuts so those could be used in place of the apples if you wish.

Check out all the other SRC recipes for this month below!

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.