Satiating chickpea tacos make for a flavorful, healthy, and easy lunch or dinner. Finish with your favorite toppings like avocado, lettuce, and tomato. A terrific weeknight meal! Vegan & gluten-free.
When it comes to tacos, I’m an all-around fan.
But let’s not forget about the humble chickpea!
I’ve been making this dish for over a decade now, and it’s still a favorite!
With a blend of ancho chili powder, paprika, cumin, and a squeeze of lime juice, these tacos have warming, spicy flavors. And with all of those fresh ingredients on top, it’s a crowd pleaser in the summer as well as cold winter months.
Chickpeas have a muted flavor that really picks up spices. And their hearty bite makes for a filling meal.
This is a budget-friendly recipe, because it uses a lot of pantry & kitchen staples like garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, spices, tortillas, tomatoes, and lettuce. That makes it a good meal for serving a crowd, because it’s not going to break the bank.
You should also plan on making extra for quick meals throughout the week.
Should I use canned or homemade beans?
Either canned or homemade garbanzos will work for this recipe. I tend to use canned beans, because they’re easy and convenient. However, if you’d rather use homemade beans, that works too.
For this recipe you’ll either need one 15-ounce can of beans that’s been drained and rinsed or 1 ½ cups of cooked chickpeas.
How to make chickpea tacos
Sauté onions & garlic in a skillet with oil.
Add drained chickpeas, lime juice, water, ancho chili powder, paprika, cumin, and salt.
Sauté for 10 minutes, until heated through with the water and spices absorbed.
Put chickpea mixture into warmed taco shells or tortillas. Top with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, guacamole or avocado, cilantro, jalapeño peppers, and/or hot sauce.
Some shredded non-dairy cheese would not go amiss here too, if you like!
What to serve with them
With beans, vegetables, and whole grains (by way of a corn shell or whole wheat tortilla), these tacos are a complete meal on their own! They’re also great with any of the following:
How to re-purpose leftovers
I like to make a double batch whenever I make chickpea tacos. It’s so convenient for leftovers, fast lunches, or re-purposing into other dishes. (If a recipe below calls for black beans, use this chickpea mixture instead!)
Use leftovers in:
- Taco pizza with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and crushed chips on top
- Double decker tacos with refried beans smeared onto an outer soft shell
- Taco salad with a crispy baked tortilla bowl
- Vegan nacho bar
- Walking tacos with corn chips
- Burrito bowl with brown rice and guacamole
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil or olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion chopped in even medium pieces
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups chickpeas (1 15 ounce can), drained and rinsed
- Juice of ½ lime about 1 Tablespoon or 1 Tablespoon of water
- ¼ cup water plus additional if needed
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- salt to taste
- 6 taco shells or tortillas
- 1 cup green leaf lettuce roughly chopped
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 batch guacamole or sliced avocado
- Optional toppings: cilantro, jalapeño peppers, hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 365 degrees.
- In a skillet, heat oil to a medium heat. Set a Tablespoon of the onions aside to use as a topping and mince them. Add the remaining onions and garlic to the skillet. Sauté for 5 minutes, until they are fragrant and translucent.
- Add chickpeas, lime juice, water, ancho chili powder, paprika, cumin, and a pinch of salt to skillet. Saute for 10 minutes until heated through. If the chickpeas become dry and the spices start sticking to the pan, lower heat and add a tablespoon or two of water and combine to deglaze the pan. Smash some of the chickpeas with a fork for texture, and so that they don't roll out of the tacos. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Remove from heat.
- Put the shells or tortillas on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for 3-5 minutes until warm.
- Remove the shells or tortillas from the oven. Fill each shell or tortilla with the chickpea mixture, some of the lettuce, onions, tomatoes, guacamole or avocado, and any optional toppings like cilantro, jalapeño peppers, or hot sauce.
Content and photos updated June 2020. Originally posted February 2015.