Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add water (or oil), onion, and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until tender and slightly browned.
Next, add carrots and sauté for several minutes to get slightly browned and tender, stirring frequently. Then add cooked lentils, vegetable broth, salt, paprika, cumin, chili powder, chopped chipotle pepper, adobo sauce (start with 1 tsp for low spice level), coconut aminos, coconut sugar, and nutritional yeast (optional). Stir to combine.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove the lid and cook for 5-10 minutes more or until the carrots are tender and the color has deepened. Stir occasionally and add more broth (or water) as needed if it dries up. Near the end of cooking, add lime juice and stir.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more paprika or cumin for smokiness, salt to taste, coconut sugar for sweetness, lime for acidity, coconut aminos for umami flavor, or chipotle peppers for heat. We added more adobo sauce, coconut aminos, lime, cumin, and salt. Don’t be shy with flavor here!
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 but isn’t necessary.
Serve the mixture on tortillas (we used corn tortillas heated over an open flame for 20 seconds on each side). For toppings, we suggest shredded red cabbage and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges or hot sauce for more flavor.
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or up to 1 month in the freezer. Reheat on the stovetop until hot, adding water or broth as needed to add moisture back in.
*To cook lentils from scratch, rinse ~3/4 cup (~144 g) lentils (as original recipe is written — adjust quantities as needed) under cool water. Then add to a small saucepan with ~1 ½ cups (340 ml) water (as original recipe is written — adjust quantities as needed) and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer (uncovered) for ~20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain off any remaining liquid. Proceed with recipe as instructed. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.