I love a good taco salad, but in the summertime it gets too hot to enjoy one when you have to cook ground beef. Enter the instant pot and lentils. Yes, lentils. I got this idea from the fabulous blog, Pick Up Limes. The author of that blog is a vegan, which I do enjoy sometimes, but I don't make significant changes when I'm at home interpreting a vegan meal.
1.5 cups green or brown lentils
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, roughly chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 head of lettuce, chopped (I usually use romaine or iceberg for this type of salad)
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced (pick a color here if you can, green is fine but the yellow or red bell peppers will stand out nicely)
1 large tomato, diced
1 cucumber, seeded, peeled, and diced (if using English cucumbers, you can skip seeding and peeling)
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen here)
1/4 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
Handful of tortilla chips, crushed
1 tbsp taco seasoning (I made my own here)
1 ripe avocado
dressing of your choice (I used ranch)
1. In your instant pot, add the lentils and double the amount of water. Cook on HIGH pressure for six minutes. Natural release for 10. Release the rest of the way. Fluff and drain any excess water off (if there is one). I make these pretty neutral for this recipe (with no flavor add-ins) as we will be tossing the lentils in taco seasoning in a bit.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the lentils, walnuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and 1 tbsp of taco seasoning. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Toss well and set aside while preparing the rest of the salad.
3. In a large bowl, add chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and olives. Add defrosted corn. Toss well.
4. To serve, add as much of the lettuce mixed as desired to a bowl and then top with as much of the "taco" mixture. Add 1/4 of the avocado, chopped or sliced (to your preference).
5. Add dressing and toss.