Shake up your next #tacotuesday with these flavourful, satisfying, plant-based lentil & poblano tostadas, served on crisp versions of corn tortillas with a layer of delicious avocado-cashew cream and shredded cabbage. Family-friendly, ready in 30 minutes or less, and 1000% delicious – I promise you won’t miss the meat here, friends.
It’s hard not to appreciate the easy-breezy-convenience of those classic Old El Paso Taco Kits. I’m betting most of you have had the pleasure of ripping open that box and dispatching the contents of those convenient little packets, while you simultaneously brown some ground beef, chop the lettuce, etc., etc.
I mean, dinner almost makes itself and everything is just fine right up until you try your best to cram it all into those V-shaped shells – that suddenly seem unreasonably small and fragile. Am I right?!
Since the novelty of those taco kits hasn’t worn off with my kids yet (even though I’m so over it), our family taco-nights got a little bit of a makeover recently. Still quick and easy, with the familiar taste of Tex-Mex taco “meat,” but made with more thoughtful ingredients, and without those limiting V-shaped shells and all the processed packets of things.
Here’s what you’ll love about this recipe:
- super easy and ready in 30 minutes or less
- tostadas are a fun change-up, and you can pile on more deliciousness with ease
- incredibly satiating – two tostadas boast over 12 grams each of protein and fibre!
- the avocado-cashew cream is easily accomplished during the time it takes to cook the lentil mix
- there’s so much flavour here, you don’t need to prepare a buffet of toppings to make these tasty & interesting
- can be easily made to suit your tastes!
- excellent for meal prep and leftovers are delish
Two things worth mentioning before diving in:
The convenience of canned lentils is notable and gets us to the table in 30 minutes or less. If you meal-prep and have cooked lentils handy – way to go, you rockstar, you! I sometimes do, but more often these days, I reach for canned and they are perfectly fine for this recipe. I’m not sure I would use canned lentils straight-up in something like a salad (I prefer my lentils left with some “bite”), but after a quick trip through a hot skillet along with diced poblano and a good measure of “taco” seasoning, these canned lentils are pretty damn tasty.
Now, about the “taco” seasoning. No, you don’t have to make your own, but I wholeheartedly recommend it. I’ve linked up to the blackening seasoning mix nestled in my Blackened Fish Tacos recipe, which is essentially a tex-mex taco seasoning with a little sugar added to assist in the “blackening.” I made it to closely replicate the taco seasoning mix from Trader Joe’s and make it by the jar-full. Seriously, it takes 5 minutes to whip up and you’ll reach for it time and time again like we do.
That’s it! Now let’s go make some tostadas!
Lentil & Poblano Tostadas with Avocado-Cashew Cream
Satisfying, quick, and flavourful, these lentil & poblano tostadas are here to shake up your next "taco night". Served with a thick layer of delicious avocado-cashew cream, shredded cabbage, diced white onion, and cilantro over a crisp tostada for maximum crunch factor – I promise you won’t miss the meat here, friends.
For the lentil and poblano mix:
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 large poblano
- 1 540 ml can lentils, drained well ((or 1½ cups cooked lentils))
- 3 tbsp homemade blackening seasoning mix ((or your favourite taco seasoning mix, just adjust quantity according to taste))
- ½ cup water
- 1 127 ml can diced green chilies ((reserve 2 tbsp for the avo-cashew cream))
For the avocado-cashew cream:
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 medium ripe avocado
- ½ tsp coarse salt
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro ((small stems OK))
- 2 tbsp canned diced chilies
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup water
- 6-8 tostadas or tortillas
- finely shredded cabbage
- reserved diced white onion
- chopped cilantro
- wedges of lime
First, put the cashews in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 5-10 minutes (do some chopping and prep while you wait), then drain. Set aside to cool.
Finely dice the onion, reserving a little less than half to top the finished tostadas. Deseed the poblano and cut into a small dice. Heat the oil in large skillet over med-HIGH heat, then fry the onions and poblanos until starting to brown (about 5-7 mins).
Add the drained lentils to the skillet and fry for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally until starting to brown and the skillet is dry.
While the poblano-lentil mixture is cooking, make the avocado-cashew cream: Put everything in a high-powered blender. Blend on high until creamy and thick. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Add the seasoning blend to the lentils and stir. Keep stirring/tossing to toast the spices until they smell fragrant (about 1 min). Pour in ½ cup of water and add the diced chilies. Turn the heat to low and stir until most of the water evaporates (about 1 min). Check for seasoning, turn off the heat and keep warm until serving.
To serve: spread a layer of avocado-cashew cream, then some of the shredded cabbage. Spoon about ¼ cup of the lentil & poblano mixture on the cabbage, then finish with diced onion, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!
As written, this recipe is 100% plant-based, but if that’s something you’re not super concerned with, adding some crumbled feta cheese or shredded cheddar would be really delish!
The total number of servings is estimated at 4 people for a meal (with 2 tostadas each), but the recipe makes 6 generously topped tostadas, or 8 more conservative ones. The nutrition facts are roughly calculated for 2 tostadas, so ¼ of the total recipe.
The amount of sodium stated in the nutrition facts is alarming, I know, and is based on a store-bought taco seasoning mix, which is why I prefer to use my homemade version instead. Making your own seasoning mix gives you full control over not only the salt content, but also the spice level and the ability to avoid any additional ingredients you don’t want.
The avocado-cashew cream loses it’s lovely green colour overnight. Leftovers will still taste great, but the colour is admittedly blah. I don’t have a solution, so just an FYI 🙂
Thank you for reading and, since you’ve scrolled this far, I have something to confess.
If you’re already one of my super-duper fabulous readers, you probably noticed this post has significantly fewer images than usual. I’ll be updating with more photos in the next few weeks, but here’s why.
When I first shared the idea of this meal on Instagram stories, the interest was swift. Rather than take the time to shoot supporting recipe images then sit down a write a blog post, I posted an image in my feed then saved a series of stories to highlights showing the complete process and left the recipe at the end, available for a screenshot.
As word spread and the popularity of this recipe spilled over the banks of Instagram (by the way, YAY!), something happened that I feel kinda bad about. The recipe was unfortunately not very accessible. People who are not on Instagram heard about it, then got excited about it (also, YAY!), but sadly they couldn’t find it because they were restricted from viewing the recipe.
Ugh. Not good.
I also stumbled across feedback from a reader who is on Instagram and could get to the recipe but felt that the way I presented it made them jump through hoops to get there.
Really not good.
These are totally fair points and I’m listening. I get it – we all want things to be easy, and frankly, that’s a huge part of why I choose to be here, sharing what I do.
I’ll admit, there is a note of laziness when I put recipes up in my social media captions or in stories. I rationalized that I was utilizing Instagram as a micro-blog, which is great but obviously not perfect on its own. Content is easier to consume there for sure, without making people having to click a few links and read more words, but it doesn’t work for everyone.
You deserve my best, not my good-enough. I’ve become bogged down by my ideals and the process of making clear, concise, thoroughly-tested recipes ready for publishing, not to mention all the work that goes into the images for each post. Creating this content takes time and it’s hard work some days. So yes, I’ve been a little lazy.
There’s also the fact that around the same time I started this blog, I settled into a career as a full-time freelance food photographer. Building my portfolio and client list is a top priority, as I’m sure you can imagine, which dilutes the amount of time I have in a day to do all the things.
So, I’ve since smacked the back of my own hand, and it’s time for me to re-examine my blogging processes.
Going forward, I’m hoping to create more short-form content for My Family Food Life. This way, I’ll be able to share frequent bursts of creativity and tasty recipes with you, even if they have fewer words and images. The essential goods will be here for all to see, make, and share!
Thank you for supporting me in this space. I hope you know I’m grateful for you.
If you make this meal, I’d love to hear from you. Drop a comment below with a star rating (pretty please!) and, if you’re on Instagram (winky face), share your creation and don’t forget to tag #myfamilyfoodlife!