1-Pot Vegan “Barbacoa”

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Dinner plate with three Vegan Barbacoa Tacos with sliced radishes, cilantro, and fresh limes

Friends, I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! What started as a “tempeh taco ‘meat'” experiment/flop turned into a major success.

Without further ado, let’s make vegan “barbacoa!”

Stirring together ingredients for healthy Vegan Barbacoa made with lentils and carrots

I was initially hoping to make tempeh taco meat. But because tempeh benefits from some sweetness in a marinade/sauce, I just couldn’t get the flavor right.

So I pivoted and remembered how the mixture of carrots and lentils in my Best Vegan Pulled “Pork” Sandwich blew me away. I decided to try to morph that recipe into vegan “barbacoa.” Total win!

The base of this 1-pot recipe is onion, garlic, shredded carrots, and cooked lentils (I used canned to save time).  The smokiness comes from ground smoked paprika, cumin, and cloves. And the heat comes from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – a favorite ingredient for adding smoky, earthy spice.

To balance the spice and smokiness, I added some coconut sugar for sweetness, lime juice and apple cider vinegar for acidity, and coconut aminos for that “umami” flavor. Then I let it simmer to deepen in color and flavor until it was tender, delectable, and insanely flavorful. Like whoa.

Note: Learn more about the history of barbacao here.

Using a wooden spoon to stir Vegan Barbacoa in a large skillet
Plate with corn tortillas filled with Vegan Barbacoa for healthy plant-based tacos

I hope you guys LOVE this “barbacoa!” It’s:

Tender
Smoky
Flavorful
Spicy
Hearty
Satisfying
Easy to make
& Super delicious

This would make the perfect topping for dishes like tacos, taco salads, nachos, and more! And I think it would be insanely delicious inside enchiladas (added to my recipe list!) and taquitos (find a version in our cookbook!).

This barbacoa is delicious on its own, but it would also pair extremely well with things like my 5-Ingredient Ginger Beer Margaritas, 10-Minute Chimichurri Sauce, Mexican Quinoa Salad, Kale Chip Nachos, Vegan Mexican 7-Layer Dip, and Grilled Corn with Sriracha Aioli. And if you’re into vegan meat substitutes, be sure to check out my Eggplant Bacon, Coconut Bacon, Tempeh Breakfast Sausage, and Quinoa Taco Meat!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d LOVE to see what you come up with. Cheers and happy cooking, friends!

Holding up a Vegan Barbacoa Taco for a healthy gluten-free meal

1-Pot Vegan “Barbacoa”

Amazing, rich, flavorful vegan “barbacoa” with spices, chipotle peppers, lentils, and shredded carrots! The perfect plant-based “meat” for taco night!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Plate with three Vegan Barbacoa Tacos topped with sliced cabbage, radishes, cilantro, and lime
4.83 from 141 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5 (1/2-cup servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

BARBACOA

  • 2 Tbsp olive or grape seed oil (or sub water)
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion (minced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked green or brown lentils (I used canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed finely shredded/grated carrots (I used my food processor + grater attachment)
  • 2-3 Tbsp coconut sugar or organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-3 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (canned // plus 1-3 tsp adobo sauce as original recipe is written // more or less to preferred spice level)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or sub 1 Tbsp or 15 ml tamari or soy sauce if not GF)
  • 3-4 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water (more as needed)
  • 2 dried bay leaves (optional)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (or water), onion, and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until tender and slightly browned.
  • Next, add cooked lentils, carrots, coconut sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, cloves, oregano, chipotle peppers + adobo sauce (start with 1 tsp for low spice level), coconut aminos, lime juice, apple cider vinegar (start with lesser amount), water, and bay leaves (optional). Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook over medium-low heat for at least 15 minutes (or up to 30-40 minutes on low heat) or until the carrots are tender and the color has deepened. Stir occasionally and add more water as needed if it dries up.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more paprika or cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, coconut sugar for sweetness, lime for acidity, coconut aminos for “umami” flavor, or chipotle peppers for spice. I added more chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, coconut aminos, lime, paprika, and salt.
  • Optional: Scoop half of the mixture into a food processor and (using the “s”-shaped blade) mix/pulse to mash some of the lentils and carrots together. This creates a more cohesive texture, which I prefer.
  • Serve the mixture on tortillas (I used corn tortillas heated over an open flame for 20 seconds on each side). For toppings, I went with shredded red cabbage, sliced radish, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges or hot sauce for more flavor.
  • Store leftover “barbacoa” covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or up to 1 month in the freezer. Reheat on the stovetop until hot, adding water as needed to add moisture back in.

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without toppings/tortillas.
*Recipe loosely adapted from the talented Serious Eats + Gimme Some Oven.

Nutrition (1 of 5 servings)

Serving: 1 half-cup servings Calories: 201 Carbohydrates: 28.1 g Protein: 8.3 g Fat: 6.3 g Saturated Fat: 0.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 414 mg Fiber: 10.1 g Sugar: 8 g

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  1. Keeli Mullaney says

    I love this recipe! It’s a go-to in our house. I’m looking to make this for a group of 25. Would this recipe work to make in a big pot(recipex5) two days before and then put in a crockpot day of? Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy it, Keeli! That should work well! Let us know how it goes.

  2. Lauren says

    I made these last week and they were so good I’m already making them again! I don’t have carrots though – could I sub something else? Mushrooms or cabbage maybe?

  3. SLS says

    OH.My.Goodness. I halved the recipe and now I wish I had made the full recipe. It is SO good. It’s addicting. I left out the sugar, no need for it, and the lime, as it was balanced in flavor without the acidity. I used Rancho Gordo’s Heirloom Whipple Beans since I had those and they were perfect in this. I used the barbacoa as a topping on a Carolina purple sweet potato. It was awesome – I am thinking it would go with just about everything so I’ll definitely be making this again.

  4. Michelle Cohron says

    This recipe was soooo good! Next time I will decrease the peppers because it was a little too hot for me. My husband loved it, but he can add hot sauce to his! We ate this over several days in burritos, rice bowls and tostadas. I love your recipes!

  5. Kat says

    I make this regularly. My whole family loves it! So flavorful, delicious and healthy! Thanks for this wonderful recipe! ❤️

  6. Bryana says

    Hi! I want to make this but I have a couple of questions:

    1. About how many small corn tortilla tacos does the default serving make?

    2. How many cups of lentils are in 1, 15 oz can?

    3. How many medium sized carrots yield the 1.5 cups?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Bryana, with small corn tortillas, we’d estimate about 10 tacos (1/4 cup filling per taco). A 15-ounce can has about 1 1/2 cups of cooked lentils. We’d estimate about 4 carrots. Hope that helps!

  7. Gina says

    I like to have like 7 or 8 go to recipes for my family and I already use quite a few of yours. This is ABSOLUTELY added to the list. Thank you so much!

  8. Lukas says

    This was so delicious, like one of the best things I’ve ever made! I used chickpeas instead of lentils and cinnamon instead of cloves and it still worked out great!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, we’ve never tried that and aren’t sure how the texture would be. Let us know if you try it!

  9. Clarke says

    My husband and I are both vegan and we have made MANY of your recipes… you never let us down! We made this recipe tonight and I just wanted to comment because this is DEFINITELY going into our regular rotation!

    I used 2 Herdez brand adobo peppers, 2 tsp of the sauce, 2 tbsp of brown sugar, and 1 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (not coconut aminos as we don’t have it on hand). Next time I will probably only use one adobo pepper.. we both love spicy food but it was just a little too spicy. We used a full 1/4 cup lime juice.

    Cooked for 20 min on med low heat

    For us, texture was not right until we blended in a food processor… imo this is a required step. Overall fantastic recipe we will definitely be coming back to :)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad you both enjoy our recipes! Thank you so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications.

  10. lauren says

    LOVED this recipe! Didn’t want to use any sugar to be as sugar-free as possible, and it still tastes amazing. Do you have any others that use chipotle peppers/adobo sauce? I don’t typically use this ingredient, and now I still have quite a bit leftover, would love to put it to use!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lauren, we’re so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing! Yes, we have lots of recipes that use chipotles in adobo (1, 2, 3, 4, & more!). We also like to freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray and then transfer to a sealed container. That way you don’t have to use them all in a short period of time. Hope that helps!

  11. Grace says

    What can we use for the Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce? Most of the cans of this contain soy or corn oil which I am allergic too.

  12. Gwen says

    These were really good! Definitely on the spicier side (I used 2 chipotle peppers) so if you are sensitive to heat I would scale that back. I tried a number of different toppings, but because of the spice I found vegan yogurt was the best at cooling down the heat. Also did 2TB of sugar and that seemed good. It only needed a little salt at the end. Will definitely keep this in the rotation.

  13. Gwen says

    I am going to try this tonight, but confused on the chipotle peppers. Am I chopping them first? They say and look whole in the picture, but I can’t imagine eating a whole adobo pepper in my taco?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Gwen, you can chop them first if preferred! We typically use a wooden spoon to break them up in the pan.

  14. Maggie says

    This was another amazing recipe. Seriously this blog has changed my life and has made eating plant based so easy for my family since we made the change over 3 years ago. I have always been into cooking and your blog has made it more enjoyable for sure! My husband loved this recipe and wants me to make it on the regular. The recipe is clean but super tasty. Also love that I can make oil free on nights I want less fat. Thanks again!!

  15. George says

    Four pages of BS to get to the recipe. Most people don’t want to read all that crap, they want to see the recipe!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi George, feel free to click the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page to skip ahead.

    • Ree says

      What an incredibly rude comment. If you had taken the time to read “all that crap” you would have seen that she very clearly explained why she chose the spices that she did and how to adjust them to your taste, which is not something that most food bloggers do. I very much appreciated this entire post, including the “BS” because it gave me a better understanding of how to work with these ingredients and balance the flavors and textures. If you don’t think you need any of that information, then it’s a wonder you’re on a recipe website at all as you surely must have it all figured out. Thank you to Dana for producing such high quality posts for those of us who still need some direction.

  16. Candice says

    Thank you for such a delicious recipe! I used this as a filling for tamales (+ potato and cheese) and they were THE BOMB! I took them to our family get together and everyone LOVED them. Definitely keeping this recipe like for ever!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woah, love that idea! And we’re so glad everyone enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing, Candice! xo

  17. Alexa says

    Highly recommend! This was super flavorful and easy to throw together. So yummy with radishes, red cabbage and sour cream (unsweetened coconut yogurt) on top. This recipe also was loved by non vegans and they requested I make it again next time they visit.

  18. Molly says

    Absolutely incredible recipe. My husband and I are both big fans of your stuff, but this one definitely shot to the top of our favorites. We served them with your chimichurri recipe for dinner, then made breakfast tacos with eggs from our chickens for the next couple of mornings. Honestly divine. Husband even told me that we need to keep a batch of that on hand for all of our breakfasts going forward. Bravo!

    • Amanda says

      This was absolutely incredible! I made it because I needed to use up some carrots. My wife wasn’t pumped about a carrot lentil dish…until she was mind blown by this flavor bomb! So delicious♥️ I love so many recipes on your blog but this is definitely in the top 5! Or 3? Or 1?? Thanks for the yums!

  19. Erin says

    I love this recipe! I made it for my non-vegan husband and he loved it too! It has a great smokiness and yummy texture. Because this makes quite a bit of food, I make it for dinner but there are plenty of leftovers for lunch–score! I’m always looking for more ways to cram lentils and vegetables into my diet. :) Thanks Dana, for another hit!

  20. Marin says

    I made this a few nights ago & it was delicious. I would say though that the spices & ACV took over the whole dish & the lentils were dominated by such strong flavours. Way too much cumin that the balance was not right. The flavours were so strong that I could not taste my shredded cabbage & fresh coriander in the taco. I followed the recipe exactly as written & would recommend toning down the cumin & ACV by half.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for the feedback, Marin! We wonder if some of the spices were fresher than others? Either way, those modifications should help or you could also try adding more lentils to this batch.

      • Marin says

        All my spices were purchased on the same day, unless the cumin was super strong! I’m from Australia, so I’m not sure if our spices & ACV are more potent? Either way, it’s a great recipe :)

  21. Hannah says

    I accidentally used red lentils (because it was what I had on hand). At first, I thought it was going to be a bust because red lentils don’t have the same texture as brown or green, but let me tell you, the flavors in this recipe are so incredible that I didn’t even care! I also added a little roasted green chile on the top and it was delicious. I’ll have to make it again with the right kind of lentils!

  22. Dawn Lopez says

    This recipe has to be one of the very best vegan recipes I have ever tried. We are it all in one night and I literally cannot wait to make it again! 😍😍😍

  23. Jessica says

    Very flavorful and I highly recommend! I doubled the recipe and used shredded sweet potatoes in place of carrots because I served this with a homemade slaw with carrots, purple cabbage, and kohlrabi. Based on other reviews I decided to reduce the sugar and I didn’t read the note about chipotles and spice level so next time I will reduce (used 6).

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Jessica! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications!

  24. Kati says

    My teens are new vegetarians, and I think they’d like this, but we have allergies to consider. No nuts, lentils, chickpeas, peas, or pea protein. Is there something you’d suggest instead of lentils?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, what about jackfruit? It won’t have the same protein content, but the texture and flavor will be nice. Similar to this recipe. Maybe you could mix in some tofu? We haven’t tried that though. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  25. Oded Amir says

    The sugar addition was unnecessary :(
    Took this dish from spicy, savory and smoky to just plain sweet.
    That being said, we ate it all!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there! We find the sugar balances and rounds out the spice and acidity in this dish. But of course, next time feel free to leave it out!

  26. Ronica says

    What a fantastic flavour combination! I used black lentils and Meyer lemon (tree outside), which was still phenomenal. I burned the corn tortillas over gas for that special smoky char. Was all pure deliciousness! Thank you again

  27. Barb says

    I plan to try this recipe so I am wondering if you can put mixture in a vitamin to get that texture you speak of. I only have a mini food processor that really doesn’t do all I need it to do.
    By the way, I have your book which I love and your emails are the only ones I keep coming to my inbox on a regular basis. Being mostly plant based, your recipes are encouraging me to try new things.
    Have you given thought to a queso made with a cauliflower base and almonds…Good for you foods make one that is best we have had. But hard to find. I don’t know how to figure out proportions to make it – simple real ingredients.
    Thanks for all you do!!!!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Barb, That might work, but we’d say pulse gently. It will also be delicious even if you skip that step! Thanks for sharing that queso idea- we’ll add it to our ideas list!

  28. Karolina says

    i’m not the biggest lentil fan, but oh my, this recipe is A M A Z I N G! definitely making it again soon <3

  29. Erica says

    These are the BEST tacos ever! We make them all the time and I can never get enough. The recipe as written is a bit spicy for me so now we just use the adobo and not the peppers to keep it a bit cooler. We love adding cashew yogurt as a sour cream sub and we always use Tortilla Land raw tortillas as they are superior ;) Thanks, Dana for this awesome adaptation to barbacoa!

  30. Dawn says

    I’ve made this 4 times and tonight my husband said it’s his favorite dish I make. I’m a good cook so that’s high praise coming from him. Everything about this dish is perfection…spicy enough, flavorful, fun, bright. This is a happy dish and I highly recommend. Thank you for creating!!!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you both enjoy it, Dawn! Thanks so much for the lovely review!

  31. Naomi says

    Made this with arepas and they were *chef’s kiss* so good. Definitely will be trying more of your recipes in the future

  32. AJ says

    This is an absolute flavour bomb! smokey-spicy-sweet-savoury goodness. I used three chipotles which definitely put it on the spicier side so if you’re sensitive to spice, careful.
    I used pinto beans instead of lentils but the texture is probably better with smaller pulses like the lentils, mashing helped (I just took a potato masher to the pan). I’m also really happy this has protein since a lot of similar textures are made with jackfruit or such.
    Definitely will make again!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Either way is fine! If you add them whole, you can use a wooden spoon to break them up into pieces once they have cooked for a bit. We also like freezing extras in an ice cube tray and from frozen, they are easy to chop into tiny pieces. Hope that helps!

  33. Jahleah says

    So Good. made this for dinner last night as a topping for 2 homemade cheese Arepas our Colombian neighbor made for us to try. I’ve never had Barbacoa back in the States as I always thought it was pork-which I don’t eat and my partner is English and a some time vegan so.. yeah. This was great. I subbed the chipotle in adobe sauce for a homemade substitute since nothing like that is around here added more acv, and of course not to hot to appease the English.
    Using the leftovers for lunch tacos alongside equites.

  34. Elisa says

    I LOVE this recipe!! The flavors, the texture, it’s perfect.
    I serve it with homemade flour tortillas and guacamole, pickled onions and red cabbage.

  35. Jen Beddia says

    What did I do wrong here – did it really need 2 full Chipotle Peppers? My husband and I (who love spice) couldn’t even get a bite down! Did you just mean to add the sauce? This would have been amazing had it not been so spicy – had to throw it out :(

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! So sorry to hear that, Jen! We did mean two chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce). We wonder if the type you used was extra spicy? Next time maybe start with 1/2 and increase, as needed.

  36. Ally Mae says

    O.M.G! Made this recipe last night, did not have pre-cooked lentils so did without and just used extra carrots. I also used a jar of pre-seasonsed chipotle w/ adobo, I believe the brand was frontera. Didn’t need more seasoning except a little bit of coconut sugar to balance out the flavor. Put the mixture inside of siete brand crispy taco tortillas AND THESE WERE KILLER. This is a must try for all vegans who want a new and unique taco filling. I want to make these ALL the time!!!! TOO GOOD

    • Patty Rixey says

      LOVE THIS RECIPE. It’s a staple in my house. But now I have a newborn and am wondering if it can be made in the slow cooker (with dry lentils?). Just throw all ingredients in and turn it on? Thoughts?? Thanks so much for this recipe. Even my two year old likes it!

  37. Dana Minetos says

    Dang! I loved this! I Vita-mixed he onion and garlic to almost a liquid, sautéd the mixture and then add all of the other ingredients (with the exception of lentils) to the Vitamix. I then added to the pan with the onion and added the lentils. Once reached the desired flavor and texture I used a hand blender to make a meatier texture. My family went crazy for it. Thank you!

  38. PSteggie says

    This is a real winner! This was such a quick, easy recipe to make an oh so, so delicious! Next time I will try it with MB’s chimichuri sauce.

  39. Erica Cruz says

    Amazing!! This will become a staple meal for us. So delicious my husband called me a gourmet chef. Lol. Easy to make. I might put this on mini size tortillas for parties.

  40. B dilla says

    This was amazing! I didn’t have any carrots but I substituted a can of jackfruit (Trader Joe’s) I’ve had sitting in the cabinet forever. It was a perfect sub! Will definitely make again. Nom!

  41. Callie V says

    This was so tasty. A perfect combination of sweet, smoky, and sour flavors. I never would have thought to put carrots in a taco so thanks for this recipe! So creative.

    I paired with homemade flour tortillas and sour cream. Would be delicious on arepas as well. Definitely making again!

  42. Sarah says

    This is SO GOOD!!!! So flavorful! I used 1 T of adobo sauce instead of the chipotles + the adobo and served it with a chipotle slaw (shredded carrots + a little vegan mayo + adobo sauce) on top of hime made corn tortillas.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Sarah. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

      • R S says

        I had dried chipotles and just added to my lentils while they cooked. I added a little of it to the final product when I pulsed it in my food processor. 1/2 tap Liquid smoke and several dried, fresh, or canned jalepenos would also work well.

        • R S says

          Wonderful recipe! I didn’t have limes or lime juice, so I added 2 extra tbsp ACV. Final product was perfectly tart!

  43. Luisa Offori says

    Subbed black beans for the lentils, used chili powder instead of paprika, and used rice vinegar instead of ACV. Turned out delicious! I topped it off with a pineapple/red cabbage slaw.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for sharing, Luisa. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  44. Grayson says

    I love this dish. It’s so versatile and turns out great every time! I double the recipe because, honestly, if I don’t, I won’t have leftovers. A blissful filling for baked enchiladas topped with vegan cheese and extra adobo sauce!

  45. Gail Jones says

    Love this recipe! I got it from a co-worker who has brought to a couple potlucks. Warning…on the chipotle & adobo as a little goes a long way. Great flavors & my family didn’t miss the meat, even my carrot hating, finicky daughter ate it.

  46. Kelly says

    I have made this recipe so many times – for myself, for friends, for my boyfriend… everyone LOVES it! So good. Only thing I change is that I use canned black beans instead of lentils just to save a little time, and it’s so good! About to make it again today and wanted to leave a review to show my support for what is probably my favorite recipe on this website – which is saying something, because there are so many good ones!!

  47. Dana says

    If I am using small green lentils that are dry, how long and how do I cook them before adding them to the recipe? My bag of lentils gives no instruction.

    Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Dana, 1/2 cup dry lentils will yield about 1 1/2 cups cooked. Bring 1 cup water (or vegetable broth) to a boil. Then add 1/2 cup lentils and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until tender — depending on if they were soaked, anywhere from 7-20 minutes. Then drain and set aside. Hope that helps!

  48. Abby says

    I made this recipe because I was craving tacos, saw this picture, and thought, “Perfect!” The recipe is easy, full of good-for-you ingredients, and delicious! I ended up adding 3 tsp of adobo sauce (despite the suggestion to start with 1! Tsk tsk.). Too spicy for me! To counter, I added another Tablespoon of brown sugar (3 Tablespoons total). Mmph. Delicious, but now too sweet. I think the sweet spot is 1 tsp of adobo sauce and 2 Tablespoons of sugar. After reading more reviews below, vegan sour cream would perfectly balance the heat and provide delightful creaminess. Can’t wait to make this again. Thanks, Dana!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Abby! Hope you are able to achieve your perfect sweet/spicy balance next time around! xo

  49. Celeste Curioso says

    This is by far the best perfect balance of spices and other ingredients , I don’t use any sugar instead I always chop 3-4 dates and mix it all together. One option I added corn and shaved Brussels sprouts with carrots .

  50. Celeste Curioso says

    This is by far the best perfect balance of spices and other ingredients , I don’t use any sugar instead I always chop 3-4 dates and mix it all together. One option I added corn and shaved Brussels sprouts with carrots .

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Celeste. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  51. Heather says

    Oh my goodness! We loved this…so flavorful with just the right amount of heat. I was in a rush so I dropped it all in the instant pot for 10 minutes and it was perfect. This would be a great meal if you have a mixed crowd ( Veg and non-Veg). I followed the recipe amounts exactly as given.

  52. Marcia Burns says

    I use this as a tamale filling, (sometimes mixing it with chopped chicken). The spicy filling makes a wonderful contrast with the bland dough outside. My friend uses her instant pot to steam them for around twenty minutes. Just amazing! No salsa needed!

  53. Lizz Too says

    The best! Total crowd pleaser! My wife and I made this as a main vegan option for our wedding last year where the food was all BBQ. Veg-heads and meat-eaters alike ate it up and many guests still bring it up, raving about how delicious. We’ve made it many more times for friends and they are always happy to see it. This brings us back to great memories from a very special day. Delicious!

  54. Jacki Glerum says

    Way too much apple cider vinegar for my family. I’ve cut it down to 2tsp for the next time I make this. Hope it helps.

    I was really disappointed because usually Minimalist Baker is a go to for recipes and usually I say, “Whatever the recipe is, I can trust it because it’s MB,” but now this has set me back.

    I saved the leftovers and will make it again without the vinegar and mix it with my way too much vinegar leftovers.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Jackie – sorry to hear that! We’ll give the vinegar another look to see if we can suggest a lower amount / range.

  55. Sherry F Larsom says

    I made this recipe from the beef roast Barbacoa recipe that you have using soy crumbs( which I get from Buttler soy curles on the internet). I used 4 cups of soy crumbs mixing all of the seasonings and liquids to reconstitute the crumbs. When I make this recipe again I will only use 2 cups of crumbs for the recipe that you posted. It still needs a little tweaking it’s missing something I’m reading this recipe above

  56. Rachelle Raphael says

    I made this recipe this morning and it turned out very well. I used it to put over eggs.
    I originally didn’t put the sugar in, since I usually omit that to save 1/2 pt on WW. But it really does need it afor the overall flavor. Also I substituted sumac for the cumin since my husband doesn’t like cumin. He loved the recipe. I am flash freezing a few servings to add to baked potatoes at the last minute when too tired to cook! I also really liked the recommendation to blend 1/2 the mixture. My daughter sent us this recipe and we are glad she did.

  57. Melissa says

    Shut the front door!!!! You my dear are a food wizard!!! Made tacos for potluck at work ….. 5x the recipe….. every little bitty scrappy bit GONE!! Thank you !!! You rock!!

  58. Candace says

    This was wonderful. I made it for a party and it got rave reviews from meat eaters and vegans. I quadrupled the recipe and added ketchup to bring down the heat a touch everyone could enjoy it. I also added a bit of ljquid smoke and used soy and gluten free “soy” sauce instead of tamari. it was still spicy enough for the spice lovers. I did mash half with my immersion blender. I’ll make this again. I was sure to tell all my friends where to go for the recipe.

  59. Luciana Fonseca says

    I’ve made this recipe so many times now I thought I’d have the decency to thank you haha :) it’s always perfect, freezes well, I’ve never had to change a thing in the ingredients. Love it!!! Thanks

  60. Stacie Lambert says

    Just made it and loved it! Few alterations: Added a bit too much chipotle in adobos–went with 4-5 chipotles and it was spicy! Didn’t have any clove, didn’t taste a difference. Maybe add a bit less water next time–1/4 C to 1/8 C. Added liquid smoke for enhanced smokiness–perfect! I didn’t have a lot of time, so I threw everything in my instapot under high pressure for 6 minutes, and it came out fantastic!

    • Heather says

      Ooh! Thanks for the Instant Pot timing! I’m going to make this after kids’ music lessons, so I’ll be in a rush….gonna try it this way!!!

  61. Mannde Chiasson says

    Wow! This is so good! I added a little tamari, extra cumin and some olive oil. I served it with radish, cabbage, cilantro, avocado, vegan sour cream and vegan cheddar cheese. Wonderful!!

  62. Marc Sager says

    I made this last night, and chose to give it a try because my wife likes barbecue anything. It has big flavor, but it turned out a bit too spicy and tart. So, what to do with the left overs?Today I made a vegan ranch dressing, which made it go from ehhh! to my “go to” taco recipe. In fact, I believe I got the ranch recipe from this site.

  63. Lindsay says

    This came out incredible! I was a little leery because I’m not a huge lentil fan, but you couldn’t even taste them, especially once I got in there with my immersion blender. :) I used 2 chipotle peppers and didn’t find it overly spicy. We ate it with sliced avocado and cabbage for some crunch.

  64. Squash Lady says

    Wow, this was incredibly delicious. I always thought I only liked carrots raw, but I think I just don’t like them boiled with nothing added. This recipe is definitely going to become a weekly staple.

  65. RK says

    I love love this recipe! Love the spices in the recipe and use the ingredients to make a tofu rice bowl instead of using lentils and carrots!

  66. hannah says

    So I made this recipe for my family, including my dad who HATES lentils and LOVES meat. Well, he absolutely loved this and didn’t even realize it was vegetarian! THAT is how good this recipe is! I wish I could give it 100 stars

  67. Aubrie Hall says

    Hi there…
    Very recently starting to try and delve into the world of plant based eating. (Yay ☺️)
    I was wondering if along with the carrots and lentils, would I be able to also add a can or two of jackfruit? Was thinking of possibly throwing it all in the slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours but also didn’t want the carrots to become too soft. Thoughts and advice appreciated!
    Aubrie

  68. Rachel says

    This recipe is soooo good! I like to make it when people come over (vegetarians and non vegetarians) for dinner and it’s always a crowd pleaser. Plus, it makes a lot! I take the left overs and turn them into ‘sloppy joes’. I add a bit more shredded carrots and lentils and sriracha ketchup, reheat, and serve on ciabatta! It’s been a really long time since I’ve eaten a sloppy joe, but I’m pretty sure these are better than the original. Thanks for the awesome recipes Dana! Keep up the good work!

  69. Patique says

    I made the Barbacoa, I didn’t have the Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but I made adobo seasoning and used it in the place of the seasonings listed (although there was a similarity) I cooked my own lentils and actually doubled the recipe, I also added a little barbecue sauce. It was a hit. My family really liked this. I chose to blend half of the mixture and add it back to the pan. It had a nice texture, and the right amount of bite. The flavors and seasonings was spot on, and had just the right amount of heat, giving it a wonderful kick. My house smelled wonderful. I will definitely cook this again.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your process, Patique! We are glad to hear that your family enjoyed it!

  70. Kai says

    The maximum recommended adobo sauce recommendation was perfect; my nose was runny and I was euphoric. I topped it with homemade vegan sour cream, all was right in the universe.

  71. Meredith says

    Holy moly, I can’t get over how flavorful these are! My husband and I made these for dinner tonight and WHOA… we were both blown away. We have decided to move toward a plant-based diet and with EASY recipes like this, it makes the transition seem a lot less daunting!! Thank you!!

  72. Hilary says

    This is such a good recipe. I’ve made it several times and even made it for my parents over the holidays – they’re not vegan (yet – I’m working on it!) and they loved it, too!

  73. Laura W. says

    I was served this dish at a retreat this weekend, and the cook told me where she’d found it. I love all things lentil, and this was an amazing new twist on a fave ingredient. She told me that at first she was not certain the array of spices would go well together, but she was so happy with the result and so were we! I can’t wait to make it myself. Thanks! Laura

  74. Kerstin says

    Ok, so first up I do not know what barbacoa is but ever since I saw this recipe I wanted to try it. Yesterday I finally did. As usual, I left out all the spicy stuff since I am cooking for the entire family (a 1 and a 3-year-old). This was absolutely phenomenal!!! I didn’t have cloves so I used all spice. We ate this with avocado and my husband and I added some sriracha. Really, really loved it!

  75. Jessica Mesick says

    Ok, first thing, this is incredible. With the plantain tortillas it’s fantastic. Thank you! A lot of my friends will be reading your site from now on.

  76. Libby says

    My boyfriend and I decided to go vegan just for the month of May and I’ve made a bunch of your recipes so far… I think this is the one that convinced him he’s gonna make it till the end of the month =D He took some to work and ate it with Fritos and made all his co-workers jealous.
    I only used one chipotle because I feel like more would overwhelm the other flavors. I think blending half of it is definitely crucial to make it less like a lentil dish and more like a taco meat.

  77. Angel says

    (Sorry, I’m very excited about this.) My family really liked it!
    And most recently I topped it onto a blackbean burger and it is AMAZING as a combo.

  78. Erica says

    Really enjoyed this recipe, like all of your recipes. Been following for a couple of years now and this is by far my favorite place to go to for new recipe inspiration. As a meat lover, this recipe was an incredible substitute for the real thing. Will definitely make this again!

  79. Kat says

    This was out-of-this-world delicious. Wow! Great flavor combinations! We served ours with homemade corn tortillas! If I could give it 6 stars, I would!

  80. Anne says

    I thought this was great. Used Red Chilli Paste because I didn’t have Adoba peppers. Added 1 tsp of red chilli flakes, 1 Tsp Garlic Powder, 1 TSP Tumeric, 1 TSP of Garam Masala. Added a TBSP of Honey.

    I used a cup of dried lentils (cooked) and 3 large shredded carrots. (pretty much doubled the lentils and carrots). The added spices were a win.

    Great!

  81. TJ says

    Absolutely perfect! I served on warm corn tortillas with pineapple salsa, cilantro lime rice, plain slaw, and chihuahua cheese. I tripled the amount of adobe peppers and it was a great contrast to the sweet pineapple salsa. This will be in regular rotation.

  82. Tammy says

    Loved this dish! I used steamed lentils and pre shredded carrots to cut the cooking time. We buy the raw corn tortillas and they go really well with this. We are new vegans and We love your site.?

  83. morgan says

    Looooooved this! Def needs to cook for 20-30 minutes for the carrots to soften and the spices to get really flavorful. I think I used too many chilis, though–maybe only use one instead of two if you don’t like super duper spicy. 10/10 would make again

  84. Pariya says

    Hi! Should the chipotle pepper be diced or anything? or just added to the pot? if so then wouldnt you want to either remove it at the end or make sure no one actually gets it in their taco?

  85. Rebecca says

    This was excellent. I used smoked chipotle Tabasco in lieu of adobo sauce, which is hard to come by here. I served it with tortillas, pickled coleslaw, and guacamole. So good.

  86. Marsha says

    Amazing recipe! Super tasty and just the right flavour profile. We loved these tacos and I’ll be doubling (or tripling) the recipe next time so we have leftovers!

  87. Jen says

    Hi! I know you get this all day but I just love your recipes! Anyways, I’m making this tonight and am going to try it with zucchini; but do you think it would work with a sweet potato? Sadly I’m allergic to carrots.

  88. Brooke says

    Wow , This is soooo delicious , I’m so obsessed with all the recipes I’ve tried of yours and this is going on top of list ! Very spicy but amazing !

  89. Kelly P says

    This was phenomenal! I made the plantain chips and guac as sides to go with and my husband and I loved the results of all the recipes! Granted, I’d never cooked with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and I may have gone a little crazy adding in more than were called for. Wowsers, that was memorable!

  90. Taylor says

    SO GOOD!!! We tripled the amount of chipotle in adobo to get to the heat level we like. Made this per the recipe and it was delicious. I actually found it made more than 5 servings – we ate 5 servings and I still have enough for another 3ish tacos!

  91. Jodi says

    This is the first time I have ever followed a recipe to the “T”. I wish I had followed my instinct and omitted or decreased some things. Completely inedible, the sour/tang/salt/clove was an epic fail. I love the concept of the lentils and carrots and the text was amazing…but the flavor? What did I do wrong?

  92. Beth says

    Absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe to a T and my fiance and I gobbled this up and ate every last bite. We were amazed by how flavorful it was. Definitely adding this to my regular rotation of recipes.

  93. lena says

    this is in my top 3 recipes from you out of the dozens i have tried. i love the flavor combinations and the texture is amazing. I ate it with rice in a collard green “tortilla” plus hot sauce and red onion. its like my favorite meal right now and i might make it a second time this week its so good!

  94. mattye melson says

    i have never used chipotles in adobo before, and love spicy, so went with what the recipe called for. it was so hot my face was melting off***. please be careful with the peppers, and start slow. i made a double batch to bring some to my grandparents, and am going to have to find some way to cut the spice level…? i love pretty much all the recipes found here, but these flavors were pretty just ok comparatively to most the flavors here ive had a go with. spicy* bbq sloppy joe… beware of spicy, even spice lovers!

  95. Julie Ann says

    I made this today because I have always been curious about the flavor of barbacoa. I’ve never had it, but my husband loves it and said the flavor was great. The texture reminded me a little of the inside of a bean burrito, but I may have overcooked the carrots a bit. Either way, they were really tasty and very filling. We topped them with cilantro, chopped red onion, and fresh guac.

  96. Dana says

    Thanks Dana! I’m Dana too. This recipe was so delicious. I made it tonight for me and my meat-eating husband and teenage son. Husband ate it – didn’t love it but ate a few. Was dripping sweat from the spice, lol, though I only put in one pepper. I thought it was perfect. Son managed to eat the first one and went for leftover pizza. Ugh. Oh well, at least he tried it. But this will go in my regular recipes file. Thanks so much.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Denise! Store leftover “barbacoa” covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or up to 1 month in the freezer. Reheat on the stovetop until hot, adding water as needed to add moisture back in.

  97. TAYLOR says

    My husband and I have been vegan for a few months, and this recipe is by far one of our favorites. So much flavor, so filling, and honestly I prefer it over regular barbacoa (the fattiness kind of grosses me out). It’s super tasty and one of our go-tos. We usually make it with a mango salsa and a corn and black bean salad. YUM.

  98. Kay says

    Wow, just made this for my family (hubby, 2 boys and my mom) and they LOVED it! 2 weeks ago they made the decision to join me in my vegan journey, so they are still transitioning and we are searching for a cache of amazing recipes. They have been particularly nervous about what taco night would taste like, so this really came to the rescue. Delicious and a real crowd-pleaser. I doubled the recipe and it was great. I would make this for a crowd of meat-eaters too – I think it might be my contribution next time we are invited to a chili night. THANK YOU!

  99. Jenny says

    What can you do if you don’t have access to adobo sauce or canned adobos whatsoever? Is there a way to replicate the flavour somehow?

    Thanks!

  100. Sarah says

    This is amazing! Definitely one of the best recipes I’ve ever made. The flavor is outstanding and very spicy as well. I made this using chickpeas instead of lentils so I think any type of bean would work well.

  101. Drew Dencker says

    Made this last night and it was great. Super easy to throw together and it makes a good amount ( leftovers for lunch today ). I made a quick chipotle cashew “crema” to drizzle on top. I just blasted some cashews, chipotle in adobo, cilantro, almond milk and a dash of salt in my nutria-bullet. It was a good cool compliment to the spice of the barbacoa mix. Thanks for the recipe!

  102. Lara says

    I honestly dont know what the cloves are doing in this recipe. It is such an overpowering flavour and really does nothing for this dish. Like others, I would leave it out next time.

  103. Lisa says

    You are a genius. I made this this evening for dinner (I used purple carrots for added depth of color) and it was SO good. My husband was having serious foodgasms. Also, even though I ate 4 largish (corn) tortillas (which is quite a lot of food for me) it didn’t leave me feeling stuffed, just a satisfied, happy sort of full. Will be making it again, soon!

  104. Becky B says

    I used red lentil instead because I dont like the strong earthy taste of black lentils. It worked fantastic. Since red lentils are more tender, I added them raw and add 3 cups of stock. Don’t forget to make the plantain tortilla to eat with this meal! The tortilla really makes the difference.

  105. Jessica Godinez says

    Hi, I am making this for 6 people as the main dish. The recipe says it makes 5 half cup portions which is maybe 5 tacos? So should I triple or quadruple the recipe?

    Also do you keep the chipotle peppers whole and remove after cooking? Thanks!

  106. Rachel Roth says

    Just finished making this for dinner, another great recipe! I am impressed with the balance and depth of flavors. I’m all about recipes that make great leftovers too. Well done!

  107. Monica says

    Amazing!! Something even non vegans would love. Use less peppers if feeding kids or need it less spicy. Chimicurri was key (and finger licking good). Cabbage, cilantro, and radish worth adding. Corn tortillas was better than Flour.

  108. Lindsay says

    I’m in my third trimester and prepping a bunch of meals for post-baby. Is this a good candidate for food-prep i.e. is it freezable? I’m worried it might get too mushy or watery after being frozen. Has anyone done this?

    Thanks!
    Lindsay

  109. Allison says

    Made this for dinner last night. It was delicious. I started with one teaspoon of adobo sauce as recommended, and I thought it was pretty dang spicy. I liked it but definitely needed some avocado, cabbage, cilantro, radishes to cool it down. I try to catalogue food I can make for non-plant-based eaters when they come over to my house, and I definitely think this is a winner…something anyone will enjoy! Thanks, Dana!

  110. Kim Toohill says

    I made this tonight for my husband, my sister and me. The reviews were overwhelmingly very good. It was beautiful to look at, the texture was very pleasant, and the pow! of the spices and seasonings were perfection. Thank you for this amazing recipe.

  111. Kelli says

    Omg! This was hands down the most delicious barbacoa taco I’ve EVER had. Period. Vegan or not, it was amazing. Thank you for never disappointing and giving us simple to prepare meals that remind us of our meat eating days with out all the guilt. I love this website. It’s our go-to when we need to try something new. Kudos!!

  112. michelle says

    Thank you for this easy deliciousness. The flavor is authentic, the texture is great. It’s cheap and filling and there were leftovers (mixed those in w/a tofu breakfast scramble and topped w/avocado – OMG!). When making I was generous with all the spices and ate them street style with chopped cilantro and onions, and a dash of habanero sauce. Making it again this week.

  113. Sarah Baran says

    I made this last night and just about died and went to heaven, it was SO. GOOD. I think I ate like 7 tacos.

    I never would’ve thought of adding carrots to lentils to get a meaty result, but there was something about the carrots really created some texture magic. This was probably one of the most successful meat-substitute recipes I’ve ever made! I had pre-shredded carrots and pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s which made this an absolute BREEZE to make. I did have to babysit the barbacoa while it simmered as it started to dry up and stick to my pan (which may be because I have terrible nonstick pans), but keeping an eye on it, stirring regularly, and adding water fixed it right up!

    I didn’t have chipotles/adobo sauce handy, so I sort of DIY-ed that part of the recipe with a bunch of spices, which didn’t really work. If you’re like me and you like your food really zesty and spicy, definitely include the chipotles and adobo sauce!

    Thank you so much Dana for ANOTHER favorite go-to recipe! I’ll definitely be making this again! <3

  114. Casey says

    Since I tend to chase squirrels at random times of the day and particularly while I was grocery shopping, I forgot to pick up the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. So, to make up for that, I used Adobo Seasoning, Ground Chipotle, and Liquid Smoke. Turned out tasty and next time the squirrel chasing will be more victorious.

  115. Amy says

    I just made these tonight and they were so, so, easy. I used canned organic lentils and pre-shredded carrots. They were spicy and delicious and I’m excited to have a new taco recipe!

  116. Kira Andersen says

    This was just so amazingly tasty, my boyfriend who is somewhat skeptic to vegan food loved it, and so did our 2-year old son! In general your recipes are becoming regular dishes that we cook during the week, thank you for making them!

  117. Christina Hamilton says

    Flavor is excellent. Jumped to maximum spicy recommendations and my mouth is very happy. I would really like another serving, but I am afraid that would push me over to uncomfortably full. Will definitely make again and again.

  118. Tina says

    I just made this for my fiancé and I and we ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM! The only thing I will change for the future and WARNING to anyone making them, they were VERY VERY SPICY. I used 3 chipotle peppers and chopped them and I’m curious if that was the issue. I am probably going to use 1 next time and not chop it and take it out after cooking. Aside from the spice it’s definitely a new staple!

  119. Joelle says

    The texture on this (when put through the food processor) was great, and it was a very filling dish. It is flavorful, but it was not my favorite flavor – there was a sweet/sour tang that I didn’t enjoy. I’ve never had barbacoa so I can’t make a comparison, it’s just not what I was expecting nor was it something I especially liked. If I made it again, I would start with less sugar (I used 2 T per recipe) and vinegar and add in smaller increments.

  120. Kelly says

    This is my new favorite recipe! (the texture, the lime combined with the chipotle…. sooo good!) Made it tonight and it was my first time using lentils as meat sub- I usually buy faux meat crumbles or just use beans, but I am absolute convert. I’ve been following you for awhile- you’re my go-to recipe blog. Thank you thank you!

  121. Ida says

    Wow, so good! I had a small can of chipotles en adobe and I ended up only using a bit of the sauce which was just perfect! I froze the rest in an icecube tray with a lid. Also made a batch of cashew mayo to go with – perfect!

  122. Rachel Solano says

    Just made this!! It is scrumptious — served it with rice and fresh pico de gallo. Thank you for posting – I will definitely share the recipe. ??

  123. Kim says

    This is the first time I’ve used chipotle peppers and I misread the recipe as 1-3 tablespoons of adobo sauce. Good thing I only used one! Although it was on the hot side, this recipe is delicious! My husband, who hates lentils, was pleasantly surprised. I’m definitely making this again but will be sure to use the teaspoon. Ha!

  124. Rin1324 says

    Making this right now and it is not turning out well .. It just looks gross and smells a bit strange >-<
    You can still see raw carrots and lentils.. the colors… it is not turning out red like yours.
    Any suggestions?

  125. Ashlyn says

    Made this tonight and ate it lettuce-wrap style. SOOO GOOD. So flavorful and easy to make. New staple :)

  126. Danica Kochman says

    Dana- I love love love these tacos. Ive made them few times, the leftovers freeze well! Ive used them as toppings for a taco salad, and as a filling in enchiladas. I think it would also be really good as sloppy joes.

    I do have a recipe suggestion for you, fish tacos! I have been tying to develop a gf, vegan, non-fried fish tacos and have failed miserably. If there is any woman who is up for the job, it is you! I am thinking something with jackfruit or heart of palm as the base, but I am not sure if that is too heavy. If this is something that inspires you I would be so so so grateful!

    Thank you so much for your blog and recipes, I have been following you for about 2 years and have cooked 90% of your recipes, all of which are simple and delicious. I appreciate your consideration for all eaters, and creating truly innovative, plant based healthy yummy food! I have even gotten my picky husband into eating veggies and branching out of his pizza and pasta only diet.

    Best
    Danica

  127. Ethany says

    I made this for dinner last week and it was amazing!! We ate it on tortillas the first night and it re-heated wonderfully with left over confetti rice salad. Easy and delicious. I would definitely recommend it.

  128. Sarah Taylor says

    As a household that is not vegetarian/vegan who is working to incorporate more whole foods and meatless dishes I have to say, this was AMAZING! I made this last night exactly as the recipe called and enjoyed every bit of it. I tend to like spicy food and I might have gotten a little aggressive with the chipotles – I did add some greek yogurt and it helped bring some of that heat down. One of the best suggestions was processing half of the lentil/carrot mixture. I really like the texture of it – and think next time I might actually puree all of it!
    Next time I will definitely double and save some of it to make and eat throughout the week to add to burritos, etc.
    Yummmmmy! Thank you, thank you!

    This was so good – thank you for a delicious vegan recipe!

  129. Krfish says

    Holy YUM! Loved this! Made a Spanish rice, mixed the “barbacoa” with it and used leftover green chili “cheese” (from your mac recipe!) ate with corn chips!

    I plan to make this for our Labor Day “BBQ” any tips or tricks for making this bulk. Possibly in a crockpot?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! Saute the onion and garlic on high heat in the crockpot, then add the rest and let it simmer on low for several hours! Let me know how it goes.

  130. Jo says

    This recipe is amazing!! My vegetarian daughter loved it and my meat eating husband went back for seconds!! It’s a keeper recipe. I followed the recipe as written. It was so easy to make. Thanks

  131. Kaitlin says

    How many does this recipe serve? 5 if everybody gets one taco? would that be ok if I have other side dishes to go with it?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, 5 if serving one each but you could always double the recipe or make a side to go with! Happy Cooking!

  132. Lauren says

    I must say – Barbacoa was my absolute favorite at Chipotle before going vegan. I also used to make a version of chipotle’s barbacoa in the crockpot in my past life. I had not been interested in trying to find a vegan recipe for it, as the last time I made it, Kansas lost to Villanova during March Madness in 2016.

    I think I am finally ready to move on. This recipe is so amazing!! The flavor is perfectly smoky and the chipotles have amazing flavor. The combination of lentils and carrots provide the perfect meat substitute.

    I love my meals to have a lot of flavor, so I added a bit more of each of the spices – but it probably wasn’t necessary. I think I added a touch too much smoked paprika, which I could have scaled back. I also pulsed it all in the food professessor rather than half and it was perfect. I served it as a taco salad paired with quite a few toppings and a cashew pimento cheese sauce, which added quite the punch.

    What a great recipe!!

  133. Becca says

    Minimalist Baker is my favorite source of vegan recipes, and I’m excited to try this recipe. I would love to do so in my Instant Pot. Any ideas on how best to do that?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Becca! Saute the onion and garlic on high heat, then add the rest and let it simmer on low for several hours! Let me know how it goes.

  134. Karolina says

    This recipe is fantastic, I made it for dinner last night. It didn’t have the deep color that yours has in the photos – it was more orange – but tasted amazingggg nonetheless. Thanks for the recipe!

  135. Katelyn says

    I made this but subbed a leftover batch of chopped up black eyed peas for the lentils. I also added half a dos equis beer and tablespoon of honey for flavor and to tone down the spice and they turned out GREAT. If not gluten free, I highly recommend the beer or a gluten free beer. It adds a nice depth of flavor.

  136. Sean says

    I’ve never left a review on recipes before, not because I don’t think it’s important to give feedback, I’m just lazy. This is by far one of the best and easiest recipes I’ve made off the interwebs in a minute. Great job! I always have cooked French lentils in my fridge and carrots are one of my favorite snacks so this worked out great!

    • Shelley says

      My hubby and I made this tonight and it was delicious. We used jalapenos instead of chipotle in adobe but added chipotle sauce. Also, we used fresh orange juice instead of water and skipped the sugar. We topped the tacos with fresh avocado. The result was happy bellies!

  137. Denorah says

    I just recently became vegan and I CANNOT wait to try this recipe. My question is, why only pulse half of the finished mixture in the food processor? Should I then add it back to the other half? Thanks in advance!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! It’s to create a more cohesive texture having half of it, which we prefer. Yes, add the rest of it back to the the other half!

  138. lizbee says

    this is SO good. I didn’t have cloves so used allspice, and it was delicious anyway. I’ll stock up on cloves and see if it makes a difference, but I’d be surprised if this dish can get better! Perfect combination of sweet and spicy. mmmmm

  139. Lindsey says

    So so good! Made this for dinner tonight with your Chimi Churi sauce, cabbage, cotija cheese, radishes and lime. We all loved it and will be definitely making this again! Thank you.

  140. Diana says

    OMG this was delicious! I made this last week and like another commented noted I also cut the chipotle peppers. I had a total of 4 chipotles plus spoons of the adobo sauce and it was hot haha I didnt have any soy sauce so it was the only thing I omitted from the recipe. All the recipes you make are absolutely delicious and they always come out great! Keep them coming :)

  141. Meg says

    Loved this! I made this on Friday night for dinner and ended up eating all of it by the end of the weekend! Going back to the store today for an onion so I can make some more :) I’m not sure if I just messed up the seasonings, but mine didn’t really remind me of barbacoa at all, it was just a really delicious taco filling! I served it on corn tortillas topped with your roatsted jalapeno queso, yum!

  142. Chloe says

    Oh my goodness this is AMAZING! My eyebrows were completely raised after the first bite lol. I would agree with others who said to start with one pepper though – I actually doubled the recipe and only used one pepper and it was still VERY hot to me and I took out the pepper halfway through. I also sautéed diced portobello mushrooms in the beginning with the onions to add another sort of meaty texture, and avocado on top at the end which helped with the spice. If you have a spiralizer I recommend using it to help shred the carrots, it made it super easy.
    Anyway the flavor of the barbacoa is just to DIE for, I’m definitely going to try it in other dishes. Maybe mixed with chunks of potato and served with spanish rice, on a bun, in a burrito… I may never stop eating this.

  143. Nicole says

    This was so so so good! Please continue to share recipes like this one. Hit the spot big time!! Thank you!

  144. Brittany L. says

    I tried this recipe last week and I must say, it is simply AMAZING!! It’s so tasty and flavorful, and adding the chimichurri sauce made it sing! This will definitely be a regular meal for my family!

  145. Emily M says

    This recipe was DELICIOUS. It was much easier to make than I was anticipating, and the results were fantastic. I shared it with some skeptical (read – afraid of vegan food) friends, and all agreed that it was a hit, and demanded to know where the recipe was from. The longest part of the recipe is in the prep, but if you buy the carrots pre shredded, it will cut down on that time as well. I did accidentally burn the lentils as I was not watching the pan closely, and the water dried up. But in the end, that charred flavor added some extra umami (mostly because I caught it in time so that the dish wasn’t ruined) so my advice would be to watch out for that!! But definitely make this recipe, I loved it, and will make it again in the future.

  146. Dorothy says

    Big fan of yours, here ?

    I made the recipe last night–my boyfriend and I loved it! Not only was it incredibly easy to put together, but I adore the intensity of flavor. I made corn tortilla tacos with your barbacoa as the base, topped with red cabbage, radishes, fresh onion, lettuce, cilantro, and avocado! The fresh crunchy toppings played so well with the extremely savory/meaty barbacoa.

    My Thanks for all your beautiful recipes!

  147. Lucy says

    I made this for dinner. Followed the recipe exactly as posted and I really wanted to love it, but I unfortunately didn’t. Not sure if something went wrong with mine. I found it personally way too spicy. If you are trying out this dish, start with one chipotle and increase the heat as desired.

  148. Caitlin Rayhart says

    I made this and loved it so much!!!! I couldn’t get it to come together as much as yours did in the picture or get that deep red color even though I loaded it up with smoked and regular paprika. FYI it makes and excellent taco bowl over brown rice with avocado slices, diced tomato, radishes, chimichurri and a squeeze of lime.

    I wanted to know if you know how it freezes?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! Yes it does! It will keep up to 1 month in the freezer. Reheat on the stovetop until hot, adding water as needed to add moisture back in.

  149. Tania says

    I made this filling as part of my burrito bowls for dinner last night. I also used some young green jackfruit to give it some meatiness, so I halved the amount of carrot. I found the finished product to be a bit too acidic with the vinegar and the lemon juice, but I tend to be sensitive to acidity. I just added some more sugar to cut it a bit, but maybe it wouldn’t have been as acidic had I used all the carrot. Otherwise, it was super flavourful and I will definitely be making it again!

  150. Therine D says

    Definitely one of my favorite recipes! I served it to a friend on Sunday and she kept saying, “Are you sure this isn’t meat?!” Well done, Dana!

  151. Jessica says

    I took a few liberties when I made this so I don’t know if my rating is actually that accurate but spices, flavors, and texture were wonderful!…
    1. I used a bit more carrot than called for (because I didn’t wanna put a weird nub back in the fridge) so I decreased the amount of sugar. I probably ended up using about 2 cups of carrot and 1-1.5 tbs. of sugar.
    2. I couldn’t find canned lentils (or I’m blind) so I used about half a cup of dried lentils and added about 1.5 cups of broth. Brought it to a boil, covered it, and then simmered it for about 40-45 minutes, until the liquid seemed pretty absorbed.
    3. I hate washing the food processor so I jammed our immersion blender in it and went to town until it looked like a good texture. It was a bit spattery so maybe use this method with caution.

  152. Amerykah says

    This was delicious, easy to make and totally satisfying! I’ll surely make this again! Excellent work Dana!

  153. Melissa says

    This recipe was not only easy it was DELICIOUS! You could add corn and veggie broth to make this into Brunswick Stew, or throw it on a bun for sloppy joes. This is truly a one hit wonder. ❤️??

  154. Marni says

    Really looking forward to trying this Recipe! Quick question- what brand of chipotle in adobo sauce did you use? All the ones I’m finding have other really cruddy ingredients in it :(

  155. Jamie says

    Wow! I just made this for supper. My husband who is a “meat every meal” guy took seconds and said it was good. My teen who doesn’t like spicy foods also took seconds. I only added one chipotle pepper and served it on tortilla chips for my teen who scooped it up, along with cheddar cheese. I put mine on lettuce with rice noodles topped with nutritional yeast. Yum!

  156. Marianne says

    Amazing Dana! Your site is my favorite and this recipe was so easy, fast and completely deliccious. Thank you!

  157. Bria says

    This looks like an awesome protein addition to a burrito bowl for my meal prep. Can I use a liquid sweetener (like honey) in place of the coconut/brown sugar?

  158. Loryn Michelle Cervenka says

    The recipe is easy, especially when using canned lentils, and pre shredded carrots! I loved the recipe, but I did make it too spicy for me and my husband, but he thought it was still delicious, just HOT! I would definitely make it again!

  159. Alicia says

    Amazing!! Beyond delicious (so creative and easy!) and made even better leftovers the next day. By far the best vegetarian tacos we’ve made. Used leftovers for breakfast burritos the next morning and a breakfast hash the day after and it kept very very well. Made for some special weekday morning breakfasts.

  160. emily says

    I didn’t love it as the taco filling warm but I tried it as a cold dip with chips the next day and thought it was yummy. Reminded me of a spicy black bean chipotle dip.

  161. Jessica says

    Made it tonight, subbing roughly chopped mushrooms for lentils (just cause that’s what I had on hand). My husband couldn’t even tell me how much he liked it – he just kept shoveling it into his mouth. I could probably eat this for the rest of my life, honestly. Thanks for being the best food blogger ever!

  162. Esther says

    I made this tonight and I can’t say enough good things about it!! My boyfriend DEVOURED his tacos and would no stop raving about how delicious it was! The only thing I plan on changing next time is the amount of brown sugar, it was a little on the sweet side for us but SO so flavorful with all of the other spices! Thank you so much for your recipes :) we are going into week 2 of being plant-based and your site has been a life-saver!! Also, I posted the link to this recipe in one of the vegan groups I’m in on Facebook, I hope that’s okay!!

  163. Isabelle says

    I made this recipe earlier this week and OMG! Sooo good. Even my bf who is a meat lover and calls himself a Mexican food expert said this was the best he’d ever had!! Thanks for creating and sharing the recipe, I’m sure it’ll become a staple in our house. :)

  164. Sophie says

    So satisfying and spicy! This was a great weeknight meal, and I put it over salad for lunch the next day cold and it was still great. I accidentally quadrupled the clove (oops!!) and thought I’d ruined it, but I just added a bunch more paprika, salt, chili powder, lime juice, and it all seemed to help balance it out. I’ll be trying this again with the correct amount of clove!

  165. Deb Schneider says

    Hi Dana! I made this last night and it was incredible…as usual! Your recipes are the most reliable I’ve ever seen. Is there a substitute for the lentils? They don’t agree with one of us. Thanks so much!

  166. Emily D says

    This reminds me of your lentil sloppy joe recipes (which I love and make all the time), except amped up about 1000 notches! Can’t wait to try it!

  167. Sean & Kyle in Milwaukee says

    We loved it! One mistake we made – we chopped the chipotles but realized only after it was too late that it probably wasn’t supposed to happen that way (doubled the recipe so 5 chopped chipotles) It was hot, haha! Anyways, can’t wait to make it again… and again… and again. We never cook from anywhere else!

  168. Katherine says

    I am a long time follower and first time commenter! This recipe is amazing. I didn’t have the cloves to add and it still tasted amazing. I also didn’t have any tortillas so I substituted lettuce! I added the red cabbage to the top and some homemade guacamole (avocado, lime, cilantro, red onion, and tomato). This is going to be my go to, quick, easy, and tasty recipe!

  169. Jen says

    This was delicious! I never had barbacoa before and this recipe intrigued me, so hubby and I made it last night…the only thing I would do differently next time is leave out the cloves, I really don’t think the dish needed it, almost took away from the other flavors. Bravo though!

  170. Zoe says

    This looks incredible! I was wondering, when you make a recipe that doesn’t work out, do you still eat it or do you throw it out? Do you just not add it to your blog? I’m just curious about your meals and what you decide to add to the blog and what you just simply eat on a daily basis. I understand that not everything you eat can be on the blog of course but do you set out to make recipes for the blog or do you just make yummy food and whatever comes out best you add?

  171. Rana says

    This is such a killer recipe! I’ve been craving barbacoa since going vegan and this really hit the spot. I served it over rice with salsa on the side. Plus, I had just gotten a big packet of smoked paprika from a trip to Hungary and now I know what the rest of it is destined for. :) Also, I wanted to say a huge thank you – I’ve been living in Germany for the past year and though there is a surprisingly decent selection of vegan options where I live, it’s not the most economical option to always go out, so your blog is my go-to for consistently quality, always flavorful meals that I can make at home. Thank you thank you!

  172. Aarushi says

    Made it tonight for the family:) turned out great!! Added zucchini for a little bulk but could have done without it. Yummy recipe. Thanks!

  173. Chandler says

    Just made this for my lunch for the week and it’s delicious! Perfectly acidic, sweet, and spicy. I can’t believe how much the texture is like pulled pork! I’ll be eating it over rice with sautéed collard greens, cilantro and avocado. Can’t wait to try it as tacos!

  174. Susan Crane says

    Thanks Dana, I used your advice and made it in the slow cooker today and it is absolutely amazing!!

  175. Ariana says

    This recipe looks absolutely amazing and definitely one to try! Unfortunately my stomach has quite the aversion to lentils (so sad because I love them so much!), is there a substitute that might be similar in nutrition and texture?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm I am not sure, Ariana! Other beans may work but I am not certain as we haven’t tried any subs. Sorry!

  176. Erica says

    This turned out great! Who would have thought carrots make such a good meat substitute? Will definitely make again. Might even try adding some tomato paste for tangyness instead of lime and vinegar.

  177. Alisha says

    Holy cow this was delicious! 100% this will be part of our regular rotation. I added the maximum amount of spice you suggested and it was a wonderfully slow burn. Worked really well as part of a rice bowl.

  178. Iris says

    OMGOSH!!!!
    I can’t wait to try this!
    could you make this using canned jackfruit to give it more of a meaty texture? I absolutely love your recipes :D

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! I’d say the jackfruit would replace the carrots and keep the lentils! Good luck.

  179. Cara says

    Just made this for dinner over in sunny England… had to sub some of the ingredients but woah… this was delicious! What a great combo of favourites. Served it with guacamole and creamy cashew lime coleslaw! Will be coming back to this again and again! Thanks for the recipes… keep them coming! Xxx

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Thanks for sharing, Cara. Next time would you mind adding a rating? That really helps us out! xoxo

    • Swissconsin Badger says

      Hi Carole — I’m also in Switzerland and I’ve had luck finding chipotles in adobo in my local American food store (Geneva) and also at Manor supermarkets — I hope this helps!

  180. Hanne Farèse says

    Hi! I’m living in France where you can’t find things like chipotles in adobo sauce. Could you please tell me what it is (taste, texture, strength etc) I could perhaps find something to replace it with!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I would say this ingredient is somewhat essential for the smoky, spicy depth of flavor. But for smokiness try adding more paprika. And for heat, sub a fresh hot pepper. Hope that helps!

  181. Linda Noble Brown says

    This looks amazing!!! I love using lentils as a meat sub – it makes the very best taco “meat”. And I add shredded carrots to my chickpea “mock tuna” salad to mimic more of the texture, so this takes two of my favorite things and adds them together in a great new flavor. Thank you for sharing!

  182. Allie says

    I saw this recipe earlier while I was at work and knew immediately I wanted to make it tonight for dinner. It was perfect! The texture is right on and my mind felt like I was eating something “bad” for me because it tasted so delicious. Will definitely be making this again for our next taco night.

  183. Marissa says

    What about Jack fruit? Do you think it would work? If so, would you still use the lentils? Thank you and sounds delicious :-)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Marissa! I’d say the jackfruit would replace the carrots and keep the lentils! Good luck.

  184. Susan Dilger says

    GIRLLLLL!!!!! You are a genius! I am vegan, but do miss that “umph” of some meat dishes. And living in Taos, NM, I know a thing or two about Tacos! THIS is brilliant and will ALWAYS be on hand in my freezer. Great for burritos, burrito bowls, etc. Only caution is on the chipotle. I like “hot”, but I’d say for “medium” flavor, folks may want to cut to one chipotle to start.
    Funny side note; my husband still eats meat and when I made his chicken taco, he insisted I added some of this barbacoa to his tacos as well. He LOVED it!!!!

  185. Cassie Autumn Tran says

    Oh, this recipe looks amazing! I’ve only had vegan barbacoa once at a restaurant, and it was so flavorful that even plain old greens tasted like a delicacy! I definitely would love to try making this amazing creation!

  186. Hansika says

    You should definitely try some recipes with raw jackfruit! It’s a common in vegetarian Indian cuisine because it has a similar texture to chicken – I love using it to make rice biriyanis and tacos :) So excited to try this recipe out!

  187. Ruby Shine says

    Just made this recipe for tomorrow night’s dinner but of course, I had to taste it and it is perfect. I love lentils but not so much tempeh so this meal really works for us. THANK YOU

  188. Maria says

    YUM!!!!! This looks amazing! I am a taco fanatic and veg taco “meat” alternatives are so limited or lame. So to say that I am excited for this is a drastic understatement.

  189. Shea says

    Yum! This recipe looks like it has a lot of flavors, I definitely want to try this out sometime this week. Thanks for the share!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, but it will take away from the flavor. If looking to avoid sugar, sub a few chopped dates or stevia.

  190. Diana S says

    Hello Dana, I am a big fan from Mexico City.

    This seems way more like a “cochinita pibil”, which is slow-cooked meat (traditionally pork, of course) with a citrus, “achiote” and a very long list of spices. Barbacoa, on the other hand, is a whole sheep cooked in a pit in the ground , with very little seasonings and a completely different flavour scheme.

    This is in no way meant to be mean or anything of the sort, I just want you to know that it reminds me more of cochinita pibil, a favourite dish from my childhood :)
    Your version of barbacoa seems delicious, nonetheless!

    I adore all of your recipes and I’m a proud follower of what you do,

    D

  191. Hannah says

    Oh my gosshhh, you always post the recipes just when I need them most! This will be a perfect addition to an upcoming potluck. Also, I was wondering where to send recipe requests? I hope this isn’t mega-super-annoying (ugh), but I would love, love, loooove to find a soy-free vegan fruit pizza recipe (the sugar cookie crust kind!) that isn’t 90 percent dates and cashews.

  192. Megan says

    This looks so good! Do you think I could use shredded zuchini instead of carrots? I have an aversion to the flavor of cooked carrots.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      That should work! They won’t take as long to cook and won’t be as sweet / flavorful though, FYI!

    • Julia says

      We just watched “What the Health” and became instant vegetarians. Bought this cookbook immediately and received this particular recipe via phone. The only problem we had was we had NO clue about chipoltle peppers in that sauce and could not eat past the first bite—needed a fire hydrant!! We love hot peppers but it was way beyond jalapeno’s. It was so tasty though that we decided to make it again last night with only a hint of the chipoltle/adobo sauce. We added about 1/8 teaspoon of the sauce (no peppers) and mixed into the water from the original recipe. DELICIOUS. Cannot wait for dinner tonight..

      • Kathy Davis says

        My husband and I just watched the same video and also became instant vegetarian! I hope more people do the same!

      • Jack says

        Hi Julia :) Let me pass on some “chefly” advice. Chipotles as you have probably found out are smoked jalapenos. When they are heated by any method, the seeds inside will sweat their oils producing that power punch of heat. You can easily reduce that level of heat by splitting them lengthwise, unfolding the halves, and with the back of your knife, gently scrape out those seeds. As you would a whole vanilla bean pod. But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, wear some type of protective gloves before attempting this or you’ll be setting fire to anything you touch…ie eyes, face, loved ones etc. Hope this helps!

  193. Susan Crane says

    Dana, this looks amazing! Though as someone who lives in a third-floor loft without air-conditioning, I am interested in knowing if this could be adapted for the slow cooker and how I might do that?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yeah! I think so. Saute the onion and garlic on high heat, then add the rest and let it simmer on low for several hours! Let me know how it goes.