Weeknight Cooking

Lentil Walnut Tacos + Mid-Winter Margarita

February 13, 2015

All week long, we're sharing Valentine's Day dinners for two -- grab your partner or your bestie, and make a meal worthy of your love.

Today: For the vegetarian and vegan lovebirds -- or for the laid-back duo. 


Shop the Story

A lot of things can come to mind when you picture a romantic dinner: candles, violin music, maybe a gondola ride. But by the time you've painstakingly lit every candle, tuned the violin, and arranged for your friend who used to row crew to dress up like a gondolier, you'll probably be too tired to even open your mouth for a bite of food -- let alone sweet nothings.

Scrap all that. Sure, tacos are unconventional, but the spicy, umami-laden filling is as satisfying as the fact that your significant other is as happy to dodge convention as you are. A warming margarita finishes the meal and could be the perfect way to end the night (gondola ride down the Hudson, excluded). 

Here's how to make your meal:

Decide which partner has better motor skills. Feel free to engage in a few rounds of rock, paper, scissors, or maybe a thumb war. The loser is in charge of the food processor for the rest of the night. Place the walnuts in the processor for the lentil walnut crumble; pulse 2 to 3 times to break them down. Add the tamari, 1 clove of garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and pulse 2 or 3 more times. Toss in the lentils and pulse, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed, until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated and crumbly. 

Meanwhile, whoever didn't get their thumb pinioned gets to shred the red and green cabbage. While they're at it, said person should also chop the scallions, then slice the poblano pepper into halves, de-seed, and dice. Combine all the vegetables in a mixing bowl, then whisk together the 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons of the freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 small clove of garlic, and the agave. Pour it onto the slaw, mix well, and sprinkle with a dash of red pepper flakes if desired. 

Whoever finishes first gets to warm up the taco shells or tortillas. Runner up should meander over to the bottle of tequila. Combine the tequila, triple sec, 2 1/4 ounces of the remaining fresh lime juice, grapefruit juice, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Have the non-shaker dip the rims of chilled rocks glasses into chile salt. Strain and garnish with lime wheels. 

Grab a taco shell, fill it with the crumble, top with a generous helping of the slaw, and drink to your no-stress dinner! 

More: Feeling ambitious? Try making your own flour tortillas

The Menu 

Take advantage of our handy grocery list and click the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes.

Easy Lentil Walnut Tacos with Cabbage Lime Slaw by Gena Hamshaw


Mid-Winter Margarita by Food52

The Grocery List

Serves 8

1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup roughly chopped oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
2 cups green cabbage
2 cups red cabbage
2 scallions
1 poblano pepper
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
8 corn taco shells or tortillas
2 1/4 ounces + 2 tablepoons fresh lime juice, plus another lime, cut into wheels, for garnish
2 1/4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
4 1/2 ounces tequila
2 1/4 ounces triple sec

You probably already have garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes in your pantry. If you’re low, add them to the list.

Listen Now

Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

Listen Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • HeidiLea
  • Millie | Add A Little
    Millie | Add A Little
Jenny Xu

Written by: Jenny Xu

Dorm baker and connoisseur of digestive biscuits.


HeidiLea January 22, 2019
Have just come across this article and recipe. Firstly it was crazy delicious. Second, this sort of weeknight dinner + drink recipe is genius. I scaled down the recipe as a dinner for one. I wish this was a series of week night inspos.
Millie |. February 13, 2015
Mmm those tacos look heavenly!