Spicy Black Bean Taco Salads

Black Bean Taco SaladFor Vegan MoFo, I’m doing a series called Back in Thyme, in which I travel time and space to other places and periods of my life.  Every Monday & Friday I’m featuring videos, including today’s video, which takes us to a meal inspired by the year 1992.

Back in Thyme BannerIn high school I spent many hours stuffed into a booth at Perkins, a chain diner in the Midwest.  They were open 24 hours, making them an ideal hangout after a late night play practice or movie date.  I had two favorites on the menu – a bread bowl salad (a salad served in a large, personal sized bowl made of bread) and a taco salad in a crisp, fried taco shell bowl.  (Apparently I was very attracted to dishes that I could eat…)

Black Bean Taco Salad Today’s video features a veganized version of that taco salad with a baked tortilla shell instead of fried.  This is a terrific weeknight meal, as it can easily come together in twenty minutes or less.  It’s filled with spicy black beans, green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and avocado.  Crack some shell into the salad as you eat for an added bit of crunch with every bite.

Black Bean Taco Salad

Spicy Black Bean Taco Salads

Serving Size: Serves 4

Spicy Black Bean Taco Salads


  • 4 large wheat tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup onion, chopped small
  • 1 ½ cups black beans (1 15 oz can), drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Any or all of the following toppings: Green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, sliced olives, sliced avocado or guacamole, creamy garlic dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tortillas in metal tortilla shell pans or glass oven safe bowls and put into the oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. (If they aren’t brown and crisp, continue baking for a couple minutes longer.)
  2. Heat skillet to a medium heat and add extra virgin olive oil to the heated pan. Sauté onions & garlic in pan until fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add black beans, cumin, chili powder, oregano, coriander, paprika, lime juice, water, and salt to the pan. Use a spatula to fully combine the beans and spices. Once the bean mixture has warmed and any excess liquid has cooked off, remove from heat.
  4. Fill tortilla bowls with the spicy black bean mixture and any of your preferred toppings. If you like, drizzle creamy garlic dressing or your favorite vegan salad dressing on each salad and serve.

Black Bean Taco Salad  For more ways to use these spicy black beans, check out my recipes for Double Decker TacosBlack Bean Taco Pizza, and Black Bean-Stuffed Potatoes with Mango Salsa.

Be sure to check back on Friday when I’ll have another episode of The V List with special guest, Jackie, from Vegan Yack Attack!  You can watch my past video interviews with David & Ketty by clicking on their names.


  1. says

    These spicy black beans sound like the perfect filling! We’ve enjoyed taco bowls at home a number of times since you posted about how to bake your own some time ago — such a great idea! I don’t know if we have room for any more dishes in our tiny kitchen (not that it’s ever stopped me), but I’m really digging the metal dish made specifically for taco bowls.

    • says

      It’s funny how just a change of shape from burrito to bowl makes the experience so much more fun, even though it’s the exact same tortilla. I probably wouldn’t have gotten the metal taco bowls either, but David actually really wanted them. So I gave them to him for Christmas last year. It does make taco salad night that much more inviting!

    • says

      It’s true! I rarely see foods served in bread bowls anymore, let alone vegan foods. We need to start a restaurant selling vegan chili in bread bowls ASAP.

    • says

      Oh, that’s great that you spent many teenage nights at Perkins too. Interactive food (like being able to eat the bowl) is always more fun! Thanks for the kind words on the video!

  2. ameyfm says

    so fun. It never occurred to me to make a tortilla bowl! I will totally try this. But, as you know, I am totally distracted by your immaculate kitchen. It would take me at least 3 days to get my kitchen that clean. I am AMAZED.

  3. says

    Taco bowls are such a great idea – I love the thought of having an edible bowl. What’s up your sleeve next Cadry? An edible nacho hat like the one Homer wore on The Simpsons!

  4. says

    Great video! These taco bowls look awesome. I love bowls since visiting Portland. But including a bowl I can eat is like whoa, taking bowls to the next level! I never even thought to make the bowl/shell at home. That’s so smart!

  5. says

    We have Perkins down here too, and that was MY PLACE back in the day. I’m from a small town in Arkansas, where not much is going on ever, so my high school friends and I (we called ourselves The Freaks b/c we were artsy and “misunderstood” ha!) spent hours drinking endless pots of coffee and smoking cigarettes (back when smoking was allowed in restaurants!). I used to order the fries or the chocolate chipper sundae all the time.

    • says

      Our groups would have had a lot in common, I think! I went with lots of different people to Perkins, but whenever I went with other drama kids we sat in the smoking section since a lot of them smoked. (It’s funny now to think of that glass partition that separated the smoking from non-smoking section and how little use that would be since smoke rises.) We called ourselves The Benchers, because there were these crappy red benches in the drama room where we would hang out and talk.

  6. says

    Awesome video! Thanks for the terrific steps! I love spicy salads, especially the black beans & these gorgeous avocados & cilantro/green scallions. I look forward to reading about one of my favorite bloggers, Jackie <3<3

  7. says

    Now, of course, I’m obsessing over the tortilla bowl bakers. People who love kitchenware should not be allowed to watch videos like this. You should have posted a warning. 😀

  8. says

    I had no idea making one of those tortilla bowls was so easy! I have to make this for lunch, I haven’t had taco salad in years! The last time I had one was also at one of those chain diner restaurants, just the Canadian version :)

  9. Shell says

    I love the video! It makes it look so easy. I’ve been really interested in your black bean recipe, but was intimidated. I’m not anymore!

    • says

      Probably! With all of those chickens’ eggs they’re frying and pies they’re baking, I bet they all smell about the same. It is weird how Subways smell the same everywhere. I passed by one a couple of weeks ago and was amazed that the smell emanating out its doors was so omnipresent and standard.

  10. clairesuellentrop says

    Isn’t it funny how much time in high school is spent stuffed in chain diner booths? Sounds like our experiences were similar–though I usually ended up at IHOP or at Village Inn. Anyway, this taco bowl sounds fabulous.

    • says

      It is funny! I spent so many nights there in those days, and now I haven’t been inside of a Perkins in probably ten years. Thanks for the kind words about the taco bowl!

  11. says

    This looks YUMMY! We do a lot of taco salads, taco bowls, taco whatevers… I can’t stand the taste of canned beans though, but fortunately we usually have a stash of cooked, or cooked and frozen ones avaiilable.

    • says

      I bet our freezers look very similar! Mine is always full of beans made from scratch in a variety of types that I freeze for future use. I don’t use canned beans either, but I know a lot of other folks do.


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