This black bean tacos recipe is an easy weeknight dinner. Warmed corn shells are stuffed with chopped romaine or spinach, tomatoes, onions, and avocado.
Ready in just 20 minutes. Vegan & gluten free.
This easy black bean tacos recipe has been a family favorite for many years now.
Winter, summer, spring, or fall, tacos just always sound good.
(And when it’s too hot to turn on the stove, I turn to raw tacos for a lighter touch!)
Tacos are an inexpensive meal.
They’re made with cost effective pantry & refrigerator staples like beans and vegetables.
Plus, they are ready in about 20 minutes.
That’s good news on hectic weeknights or when I’ve waited a little too long to start dinner.
It’s for these reasons that when people are confused about how to start making vegan meals, I often recommend dishes like tacos.
(Here are 10 vegan meals you already know how to make!)
It’s all well and good to decide to make a positive change.
But it’s certainly easier when hunger hits to be able to grab a few essentials and make something that feels like your normal, everyday meal, just without the animal products.
It’s simply a matter of swapping one or two ingredients.
Goodbye, meat. Hello, beans.
Goodbye, dairy-based cheese. Hello, avocado.
(If you’re not an avocado fan, there are also loads of plant-based cheeses out there that you could try instead.)
Easy, weeknight-friendly dinner
Flavorful black bean tacos are teeming with warming spices like cumin, coriander, and ancho chili powder.
They come together in just minutes.
And the beans inside give them staying power that will keep you full.
Stuff them with your choice of toppings like:
- Romaine lettuce or baby spinach
- Pineapple salsa
- Pickled red onions
- Guacamole or avocado
The mixture of spicy, crunchy, and cool ticks all of the pleasure sensors.
It’s a dinner the whole family will love.
Canned or homemade beans
Either homemade or canned beans will work for this recipe.
I tend to use canned beans, because they are convenient.
That makes this a simple, pantry-friendly meal that’s perfect for a weeknight.
But if you’d prefer to use homemade beans made from scratch, that works too.
You’ll either need one 15 ounce can of beans that’s been drained and rinsed.
Or 1 ½ cups of cooked black beans.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Sauté onions and garlic in a skillet.
Once they are fragrant, add black beans, spices, a squeeze of lime, and a little water to incorporate everything.
Once any excess liquid has cooked off, add salt to taste.
Put the black bean mixture into corn shells that have been warmed in the oven or air fryer.
Then add your choice of toppings.
How to re-purpose leftovers
I usually double this recipe, so that I’m sure to have leftovers.
The beans keep well in the refrigerator in a covered container.
And they’re great in any of the following recipes:
- Double decker tacos
- Vegan taco pizza
- Vegan black bean burritos with plantains
- Vegan taco salad in baked tortilla bowl
Spicy black bean tacos
For spicy black beans
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil or your preferred neutral-flavored oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup onion chopped small
- 1 can (15 ounce) black beans drained and rinsed (1 ½ cups)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ cup water
- Salt to taste
- 6 corn taco shells
- 1 large tomato chopped small
- 1 cup romaine lettuce or baby spinach, chopped
- 1 batch guacamole or 2 sliced avocados
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Start by making the spicy black beans. Heat skillet to a medium heat and add oil to the heated pan. Rotate pan to spread the oil and add minced garlic.
- Set aside 2 Tablespoons of the raw red onions to use as a topping. Sauté remaining onions with garlic in pan until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add black beans, cumin, ancho chili powder, oregano, coriander, paprika, lime juice, and water to the pan. Use a spatula to fully combine the beans and spices.
- Once the black bean mixture has warmed and any excess liquid has cooked off, add salt to taste.
- Put the corn taco shells in the oven and warm them for 5 minutes. Or warm them in the air fryer. Tuck the corn shells inside of each other, then put them into the air fryer basket. Heat at 370 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful removing them from the air fryer basket. They will be hot.
- Stuff the corn shells with a spoonful of spicy black bean mixture, chopped tomato, romaine lettuce, red onion, and guacamole.
Content, recipe, and photos updated March 2020. Originally posted March 2012.
Black Bean Tacos are the best! These look awesome!!!
Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day
I could eat tacos every day! I’m always happy to have another taco recipe. Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure! I could eat tacos every day too… or I would enjoy trying, at least! 😀
I want these tacos Monday through Sunday!
Good call! Why should Tuesday get all of the taco love?
These look like a perfect weeknight supper. I think my guys would love them!
Yes, they are great for weeknights. The whole meal is ready in no time at all, and no one is ever unhappy about tacos! 😀
You had me at spicy! Bring on the tacos!!
Mary Ellen @ VNutrition
Yum yum yum! I am obsessed with tacos since starting to eat them in May. These look so good and so does that guacamole!
I still can’t believe you only just started eating tacos in May. You have to eat A LOT of tacos to make up for lost time! 😉
Today I wanted to throw in the towel. I wanted to stuff my face with pizza with real cheese and just PIG OUT. So I did a quick search and found these tacos. I thought this is the perfect comfort food!!! I already had everything in the house except for taco shells which my husband picked up on his way home. I added some green peppers (something I love and always have on hand in frozen diced form) and guacamole (avocado, tomato, garlic, cilantro, onion powder, garlic powder and the other half of the lime used in the beans) and tofutti sour cream. It hit the spot and kept me on track. SO GOOD. As a new and struggling vegan I am so glad I came across your blog with quick, easy, tasty, filling options. You rock!
Kat, your comment made my day! Thank you so much! I’m really glad that I was able to help. I know how hard it can be when you’re transitioning to going vegan, but still have old cravings. If there’s anything I can do to help out, don’t hesitate to ask! 😀
I made this tonight with a mango salsa (just mixed one mango, one tomato, some dried chili and cilantro). It was delicious. Great contrast between the mango salsa and the spicy beans. Will definitely make again.
Excellent! I’m glad to hear it, Diane! Mango and black beans complement each other so beautifully.
This post made me hate body a little for not knowing how to properly digest beans. Any idea how black beans are sprouted? I digest sprouted beans muuuuuch easier.
PS – tacos are my favorite. Ever.
Have you tried putting a strip of kombu into your bean cooking liquid when you make them? I’ve heard that helps with easier digestion. (Eden canned beans also makes their beans with kombu.) I’ve never sprouted anything; although, I’ve been more interested in trying that lately. I looked it up, and the process of sprouting black beans doesn’t sound too difficult. Let me know if you try it! I’m curious.
I second the idea that this recipe would be a great intro to plant-based eating. It sounds delicious. I love avocado on black bean tacos — it adds the perfect touch of creamy richness. A couple of kalamata olives would also be nice. 🙂
Oh, yes, kalamata olives would be a great addition! They’re welcome at any dinner as far as I’m concerned.
Can we first talk about that avocado dome? Uh…it is the most beautiful thing ever, Cadry! Can one be in love with an avocado dome? I am 🙂 And spicy beans? Girl, this is my post!
I’d love to talk about avocado. It’s one of my favorite subjects! Seriously, what isn’t improved upon by avocado?
I have a feeling that we could have a long chat over tea about avocados… 🙂 ha
yummy!!!!!!!!! i love black bean tacos! your spice combo looks delish!
Thanks, Caitlin! Black bean tacos are like pizza – they almost always sound good!
Perfect food for a veggie neophyte. What am I saying, perfect food for anybody. The pics are quite grand!!!
Thanks, Gigi! Beans are a great gateway food because they’re pretty familiar to people and can be used in such a variety of recipes. They don’t seem to scare people off the way that tofu or seitan can.