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:

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
Plate with three Vegan Barbacoa Tacos topped with sliced cabbage, radishes, cilantro, and lime
4.80 from 145 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



  • 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


  • 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.


*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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My Rating:

  1. 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!!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  5. 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

  6. 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!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 :(

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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!

  17. 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.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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!!

  21. 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.


    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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!

  22. 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!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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

  23. 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 .

  24. 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 .

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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!!

  32. 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.

  33. 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

  34. 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!!!

  35. 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!!

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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

  41. 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!

  42. 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!

  43. 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.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  44. 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.

  45. 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!!

  46. 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!

  47. 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

  48. 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!

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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.


  55. 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.

  56. 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.?

  57. 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

  58. 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?

  59. 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.

  60. 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!

  61. 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.

  62. 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 !

  63. 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!

  64. 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!

  65. 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?

  66. 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.

  67. 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!

  68. 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!

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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!

  73. 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?


  74. 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.

  75. 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!

  76. 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.

  77. 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!

  78. 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.

  79. 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!

  80. 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!

  81. 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.

  82. 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?