Crispy Black Bean Tacos {vegetarian w/vegan option}

Sis eats vegetarian or vegan whenever possible. She has read countless articles about how livestock, intended largely for consumption, contributes to greenhouse gasses and she’s doing her part to save the environment for future generations.

I am not vegetarian or vegan but I honestly don’t think I eat a ton of meat. I do love many vegetarian foods. And if I didn’t love cheese so much, I would probably love vegan food too. I am obsessed with hummus and love beans of almost any form and flavor. So when Sis sent me a recipe from Food Love for Crispy Black Bean Tacos that uses Best Ever Mexican Black Beans, I was immediately in on trying out the recipe.

We had this recipe planned for more than week. The day before we planned on making them, we stopped to get breakfast at EITHER/Or in NE Portland after an exhausting climb at the NE Circuit Bouldering Gym. I ordered the breakfast tacos (black beans, scrambled eggs, salsa and cotija cheese) with avocado. They! Were! Amazing! And inspiring. I couldn’t wait to try the dinner version we had planned.

This taco recipe is made with canned beans. I’m not really an advocate for using canned beans but think they serve their purpose in some recipes, and this is one of them. Between making the avocado salsa, simmering some canned beans and frying the tortillas and beans and cheese, I think this dinner was ready in about 30 minutes, 45 at the most. You are supposed to be “frying” these tacos in a fairly good amount of oil (like 2 or 3 tablespoons) to get them nice and crispy. I didn’t use that much oil. They were still crispy but not as crunchy as they could have been. Doesn’t matter though. Because They! Were! Amazing! as well.

If you want to make these vegetarian tacos vegan, simply use a vegan cheese. Try this vegan cotija cheese from Dora’s Table or buy some vegan Mexican shreds from Go Veggie Foods.


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ancho chili powder
  • dash of garlic salt (optional)
  • 2 15.5-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained (you can also do a mixture of black and pinto if you happen to find out you only have 1 can of black beans but plenty of other bean choices)
  • ⅔ c. tomato juice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • cotija cheese (for assembly)
  • corn tortillas (for assembly)
  • avocado oil (for assembly)
  • avocado salsa (for serving)


  1. In a non-stick skillet, over medium heat, heat olive oil, garlic, and seasonings and stir together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble up a bit.
  2. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt and stir until combined.
  3. Let beans cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally.
  4. Turn heat to low and mash the beans a few times with a masher or fork. You want some whole beans and some pieces of beans and some bean paste. (Or don’t mash at all if you prefer but mashing ensures the beans don’t squeeze out of the tortilla during the cooking process and mitigates this while eating.
  5. To assemble the tacos, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Add two tortillas to the skillet and sprinkle with some cotija cheese; then cover one half of the tortilla with 2 tablespoons of  beans.
  7. Using a spatula, carefully fold the tortilla in half, on top of itself and press down gently with the spatula. Press too hard and your tortilla may rip.
  8. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until browned and crispy on both sides
  9. Continue the process until all the tacos are done, adding additional oil as necessary.
  10. Serve immediately with avocado salsa.

Recipe rating: 


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