Food Network Host, Nutritional Activist, Food Media Producer, Innkeeper
Chef Michael Smith, one of Canada’s best-known chefs and the national ambassador for the International Year of Pulses. He is a passionate advocate for simple, sustainable home cooking and an inspiration for families creating their own healthy food lifestyle. He’s the host of Chef Michael’s Kitchen, Chef at Home and Chef Abroad seen on Food Network Canada and in more than 100 other countries. He’s a judge on Chopped Canada and traveled the world for his innovative web series, Lentil Hunter.
Chef Michael and his wife Chastity are the proprietors of The Inn at Bay Fortune on Prince Edward Island. They’ve relaunched the property where Michael gained international fame in the 1990s with a new spirit of five-star hospitality and an innovative dining experience, the FireWorks.
Michael is Prince Edward Island’s food ambassador, Canada’s best selling cookbook author, an innkeeper, educator, professional chef and home cook. He led the team of Sodexo chefs that cooked for the world’s Olympians in the Whistler Athletes’ Village in 2010. His tenth cookbook, Real Food Real Good, launches in September 2016 and his 2014 cookbook, Family Meals, won the 2015 Taste Canada Award for Best English Cookbook. His food media production company and test kitchen, Culinart Limited, is breaking new ground and his social media platforms are Canada’s top choice for foodie fun.
While Michael is a true chef at large his favourite role is Dad, at home on Prince Edward Island with his wife Chastity and his children: Gabe, Ariella and Camille! Michael is an avid map collector, long-time windsurfer and novice kite sailor.
More from Chef Michael Smith
The year 2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations to celebrate one of the world’s most important foods: the edible seeds of the legume family. Beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils are packed with fibre, protein, nutrients, and flavour. Their nutritional intensity, inexpensive accessibility, and ease of cooking have made them indispensable staples to cooks all over the globe.
Wherever we live we all do our best to make healthy choices at home but it’s a lot easier when those choices are delicious. These meatless tacos are stuffed with so much sunny southwestern flavour that no one will notice anything missing. What a great way for your family to join families around the world in a global celebration of flavour and nutrition!
For the pulse filling
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce
For the taco toppings
- 1 head of bibb or iceburg lettuce
- 12 hard taco shells
- 1 cup grated cheddar or taco blend cheese
- 1/3 cup salsa
- fresh cilantro
- 2 limes
- Make the lentil bean filling. Splash the canola oil into a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions, garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Sauté until the vegetables soften and the spice flavours brighten, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the lentils, beans, water, and salt. Bring the works to a slow, steady simmer. Cover tightly and continue slowly cooking until the lentils are tender, 35 minutes or so. Stir in the hot sauce.
- Assemble the tacos. Fit a full leaf of lettuce into a hard taco shell. This will hold the fillings in when the hard shell inevitably breaks. Fill each taco with a heaping spoonful of the lentil bean filling. Pack with cheese, salsa, and cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges and share!
© Chef Michael Smith 2015
Makes: Makes 12, serves 4 to 6