Made with simple pantry staples, these easy Black Bean Tacos make a healthy, inexpensive meal that is perfect for busy nights!
Taco Lovers rejoice over this simple, healthy taco recipe. Made with pantry ingredients in less than 15 minutes, these Bean Tacos are a quick vegetarian dinner recipe that your family is sure to love! Serve them with a Tropical Kale Smoothie and Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice for a meal no one will be able to resist.
Black Bean Tacos are one of the easiest dinner recipes to prepare when you are low on time or energy.
Made with simple ingredients and a few tricks, these Bean Tacos come together in just over 15 minutes to create a meal that is surprisingly full of flavor.
Instead of taco meat, this vegetarian taco recipe is made with canned black beans that are perfectly spiced with salsa, cumin, and paprika to create a wholesome, cheap base for the tacos. Finished with crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and bright avocado cream, simple beans are elevated to create a healthy meal in minutes.
The next time you need an inexpensive, easy meal, give these Black Bean Tacos a try, they are a perfect meal for a quick lunch or simple weeknight dinner.
This recipe is made with the most basic ingredients and they can be changed up to suit your desires and dietary needs.
- Black Beans: To keep this recipe simple, I rely on canned beans. While the recipe is for black beans, you can certainly use pinto beans or red beans.
- Salsa: Using jarred salsa is the perfect shortcut to creating the perfect flavorful sauce for the black bean tacos. The salsa already has peppers, onions, and tomatoes and adds layers of flavor and a nice sauciness to the beans. This is one time I do prefer using jarred salsa over homemade salsa, as the jarred salsa has been cooked down longer and is much thicker, which creates a quick saucy base for the tacos without the need to simmer long.
- Spices: Instead of using taco seasoning, the taco filling only needs a bit of paprika and cumin to help compliment the flavor of the prepared salsa. If you have smoked paprika on hand, I highly recommend using that for a nice smokey flavor, but regular paprika will work.
- Taco Shells: For this recipe, I find hard tortilla shells are best as they provide a great crunch factor in contrast to soft beans. However, feel free to use corn or flour tortillas. Tip: look for the taco shells that stand up so they are easy to fill!
- Cheese: The cheese not only adds flavor and richness to these tacos but also works as a barrier between the taco shell and the beans which keeps the taco shell from becoming soggy. Use shredded Colby, cheddar, or a Mexican blend. Feel free to omit the cheese or use vegan cheese to keep these tacos dairy-free.
- Limes: The addition of lime zest to the black bean filling, makes these humble tacos taste incredibly fresh and flavorful. Use the juice of the lime to mash with the avocado to create a rich, creamy topping for the tacos.
- Toppings: Shredded, lettuce, shredded cabbages, sour cream, fresh tomatoes, salsa, hot sauce, cilantro, and mashed avocado are all delicious suggestions for topping these black bean tacos. I personally prefer a combination of shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and mashed avocado.
How to Make Black Bean Tacos
There are a few tips for making a really good, yet simple black taco. It is all about building flavor and layering your taco shell the right way. With a few tips, you can create these tacos from start to finish in just about 15 minutes.
- If using hard taco shells to build your tacos, begin this recipe by placing your tacos in a baking dish and sprinkling the bottom of the shells with a thin layer of shredded cheese. Pop the shells into a preheated oven to toast, while you prepare the filling for the tacos. The melted cheese forms a barrier between the beans and shells, keeping your taco shells from getting soggy from the saucy bean mixture.
- Drain and rinse the black beans and add them to a small saucepan or nonstick frying pan, add in the salsa, cumin, and paprika.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the zest of the fresh lime into the black bean mixture.
- Once the bean mixture has been simmered, remove the taco shells from the oven and add divide the bean mixture between the shells.
- Top with additional shredded cheese and return to the oven for 1-2 minutes, just to melt the cheese.
- While the tacos are baking, combine the flesh of the avocado, with the lime juice, cilantro, and a good pinch of salt in a small food processor. Process until smooth, adding water a little bit of water if needed to thin.
- Remove the tacos from the oven and top them as desired with the avocado mash, shredded cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.
It is important to note that baked tacos are best served immediately after assembling, to keep the shells super crispy and the cheese warm and gooey. That said, you can store the leftover black bean filling in an airtight container for up to 5 days and assemble tacos as desired.
And if you find yourself with leftover baked tacos, don't through them away! Crumble them up and store the mixture in an airtight container. When ready to enjoy, toast the mixture, shells and all, in a dry skillet over medium heat. Serve over a bed of lettuce for a tasty taco salad. Talk about zero food waste.
More Meatless Taco Recipes
If you tried these Black Bean Tacos, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Black Bean Tacos
Black Bean Tacos
- 12 hard taco shells
- 1 cup shredded cheese sharp white or yellow cheddar
- 2 (15 oz) cans black beans rinsed and drained
- ½ cup jarred salsa mild or medium heat level
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lime zested
- Desired Toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, onions, etc)
Optional Avocado Mash
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 lime
- ¼ cup cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Arrange Taco Shells upright in a baking dish Use crumbled-up foil if needed to help shells stay upright or an inverted muffin tin. Bake the shells for 3 minutes.
- Remove the taco shells from the oven and sprinkle a thin layer of shredded cheese over the bottom of the shells. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- While the taco shells are baking, drain and rinse the black beans and add them to a small saucepan or nonstick frying pan, add in the salsa, cumin, and paprika. Bring the mixture to a simmer over high heat, and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the zest of the fresh lime into the black bean mixture.
- Remove the baked taco shells from the oven and top each shell with about ¼ cup of the bean mixture. Sprinkle with additional cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Serve with desired toppings and avocado mash if desired.
Avocado Mash (optional)
- In a small food processor or blender, mix together avocados, salt, lime juice, and cilantro together until smooth. Or simply mash everything together with a fork for a chunkier avocado mash. Taste and add additional salt if needed.
This post was originally published in 2017 but has been updated in 2023 with new pictures and tips.