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Berbere-Spiced Lentil Sweet Potato Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

Your taste buds will do a happy dance for these Berbere-spiced lentil tacos with roasted sweet potato, cabbage slaw, pickled onions, and a cool and tangy cilantro lime crema! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Ethiopian, Mexican, Vegan
Servings: 6 people, 2 tacos per person
Author: Allison

Ingredients

For the Berbere-Spiced Lentils:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or refined coconut oil
  • 2 medium red or yellow onions, finely diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar or pure maple syrup (helps round out flavours; don't skip!)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked green lentils (from 1 1/2 cups dry green lentils) OR 2 15-oz cans lentils, rinsed and drained

For the roasted sweet potatoes:

  • 4 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Simple Cabbage Slaw

  • 3 cups finely shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

For the Cilantro-Lime Crema:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in hot water for at least 45 minutes or cold water for 4 hours
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

For the Quick-Pickled Onions:

  • 1 large or 2 small red onions
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

For assembling:

  • 12 6-inch corn or flour tortillas
  • Hot sauce of choice

Instructions

  • Prepare the lentils: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add celery. Meanwhile, whisk together tomato paste, vegetable broth, and sugar or maple syrup in a bowl. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the spices, salt, and pepper. Add the tomato paste mixture to the skillet, followed by the spice mixture. Add lentils and stir to combine. Then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until some of the liquid has absorbed/evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside until ready to use. This will allow the flavours to meld. 
  • Prepare the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the diced sweet potatoes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Roast for 25-35 minutes, or until fork-tender and crispy around the edges. 
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting, you will have time to prepare the remaining components. To make the cabbage slaw, toss together cabbage, oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to use. 
  • Make the Cilantro-Lime Crema: Blend cashews, cilantro, lime juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and water in a blender until smooth and a thick, sour cream-like consistency is achieved. If it seems too thick, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time. 
  • Make the Quick Pickled Onions: Peel and thinly slice the onions. Place them in a 16-oz/500 mL glass jar. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegars, water, maple syrup, salt, and red pepper flakes over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and pour over top of the onions in the jar. Make sure that the liquid is covering all of the onions. Secure a lid on the jar and set aside to pickle for at least 10 minutes, preferably longer (the onions will soften and their sharpness will mellow the longer you allow them to pickle). Make ahead: Onions will keep in the fridge for at least a week. 
  • Warm up the tortillas in a covered dish in a 300 degree F oven for 5 minutes prior to eating, if desired. 
  • To assemble a taco, spoon desired amount of lentils, followed by sweet potato, cabbage slaw, pickled onions, and cilantro-lime crema onto a tortilla. Repeat as desired. 

Notes

Click here for some wine pairings for Ethiopian food. As far as beer goes, I would recommend a Saison or an IPA from your favourite craft brewery.