Lentil and Asparagus Soft Tacos
These tasty vegan tacos are a lovely alternative to the typical dairy and spice filled tacos that can aggravate eczema (spices are rich in itch-promoting salicylates).
Filled with healthy ingredients, your skin and gut will love this nutritious combination of ingredients...
The health benefits:
Asparagus is an excellent source of quercetin, which is a natural antihistamine that works its magic by reducing blood histamine levels (histamine toxicity can make eczema itch!). Quercetin also has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body - it inhibits the formation of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes, which are associated with eczema and asthma.
Asparagus is an excellent inclusion in the Eczema Detox diet, especially if you are able to tolerate moderate salicylates, as asparagus is listed as moderate in sals. If you react to salicylates, you can use shredded iceberg lettuce instead.
Asparagus is teamed with lentils, which are a rich source of protein, fibre, potassium and iron.
Leeks are anti-inflammatory and a rich source of quercetin and Vitamin B6, which is important for healthy brain function.
Cashew cream is a great alternative to pro-inflammatory dairy products. Have them raw (not roasted and salted) as raw cashews are a low amine food but the amine levels rise during roasting. Cashews are also a good source of protein and a range of beauty minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc.
This recipe makes about 6 filled tacos.
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (an essential ingredient to hold them together).
- 3/4 cup rice flour (or fine brown rice flour, or if you are not sensitive to gluten use 1/4 spelt flour and 1/2 rice flour)
- 1 cup dairy-free milk of choice (I use rice milk or cashew nut milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine Celtic sea salt or natural sea salt of choice (just avoid ones with anti-caking agent)
- Rice bran oil for cooking the tacos
Lentil Taco filling
- 440 grams of canned brown lentils (or black beans), drained and rinsed well
- 1 long celery stalk, finely diced
- 2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed or garlic powder
- 1 heaped tablespoon of finely diced chives
- 1 heaped tablespoon of finely diced parsley
- sprinkle of fine Celtic sea salt or natural sea salt
Toppings (these are low salicylate choices)
- 1 handful of thinly sliced chives and/or parsley
- 1 serve of Caramelised Leek Sauce from The Eczema Detox book - get the recipe here
- 1 serve of Cashew Nut Butter from The Eczema Detox (1 cup soaked cashews, 6-7 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon rice bran oil, 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil (optional), and sprinkle of sea salt, blended well in a high powered blender)
- 1 bunch of asparagus spears
Before starting, if you need to make cashew nut butter, boil a jug of water and soak cashews so they are ready to go when making the cashew nut butter.
For the Flatbreads- makes 6 flatbreads
- In a bowl, add the flours and salt and mix, then gradually mix in the milk until it's a smooth batter.
- Choose a small non stick pan coated lightly with rice bran oil or sunflower oil and place on medium heat.
- When pan is warmed, pour 1/4 cup of mixture to make a thin round pancake or crepe. Rotate pan around so the mixture is even.
- The mixture can begin to dry on the top quickly so as soon as you are able, flip the flatbread over to the other side and then flip back and forth a few times until lightly cooked. Add a dash of oil if more moisture is needed.
- Once cooked, place flatbread on some baking paper and continue until all of the mixture is gone. The flatbreads should come out very pliable. Set aside.
For the toppings:
- Prepare your toppings - make the caramelised leeks sauce now if you are making a fresh batch, place in a serving bowl.
- Make your cashew nut butter - thin it out with extra water and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder (if you want some extra flavour for the tacos). Place in a serving bowl.
- Finely chop your chives and parsley and place in a serving bowl.
- Cut stalk end off asparagus (these are tough to eat), and cut the asparagus in half lengthways so the asparagus spears are thin and cook easily, and set aside to cook at the end before serving.
Method, for the Lentil Taco filling:
- Grab a large pan and place on a medium heat with a drizzle of rice bran oil.
- Add diced celery and sauté for a few minutes, add the drained lentils, parsley, chives and crushed garlic (depending on taste you can add 2-3 cloves).
- Add about 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt (optional) and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of filtered water and cover with a lid to let simmer.
- Once the water has absorbed, turn heat to medium high, add another drizzle of oil and stir mixture until it gets nice and thick.
- Taste and add extra salt, herbs or garlic if you like.
- If you prefer your celery well cooked then add extra water and leave to simmer until the celery is well cooked before turning the heat up.
- Place lentil mixture in a serving bowl and cover to keep warm.
To cook the asparagus:
- Use the same pan from the lentil mixture and lightly cook asparagus spears with a dash of water.
- Cook for a few minutes so they do not become too wilted, they are best with still a little crunch but not stringy.
- To make it go further you can cut each asparagus spear into 3 and place in serving bowl.
Bringing it all together
- Clean out the pan used to cook the asparagus if needed and lightly reheat the flatbreads. Put flatbreads on a plate and take to the table with the rest of the ingredients so everyone can serve up their own tacos how they like.
- We filled each taco with a layer of lentils, topped with leeks, asparagus, garlic cashew cream and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Enjoy!
If you are following the FID program (Food Intolerance Diagnosis program from The Eczema Detox) or if you cannot tolerate moderate salicylates, replace the asparagus with iceberg lettuce, or cook green beans or finely sliced Brussels sprouts.
If you are following the FID program or cannot tolerate cashew nuts, a silken tofu, garlic and chive sauce may work nicely (note we have not tried this combination).
You can substitute the lentils for any other beans (such as black beans) or a meat of your choice such as chicken or fish.
At Eczema Life, we recommend nutritionist Karen Fischer's low food chemical program (The Eczema Detox) along with additive-free supplements for skin health and wellbeing. Click on the images to view more details:
Photos by Katie Layland