Transitioning to eating mostly meatless meals can be challenging at first when you consider foods that are typically meat-centric – burgers and all manner of tortilla wrapped goods (tacos, enchiladas, etc.) come to mind.  In the past, the idea of a meatless taco was something that I had a hard time getting on board with.  Bringing a big variety of veggies into the mix overcomplicates things, not to mention they need to be perfectly cooked for the end result to be truly enjoyable.  I’ve had them done well here and there (especially from Alex and Sonja, who make all sorts of excellent veg tacos), but in general I just made our usual chicken tacos and was content.

Recently I decided to scrap all thoughts about sautéed veggies and go back to basics.  These spicy black beans are something I make often, usually as a side dish or to mix in with something else.  I make them a little bit different every single time and I almost never use a recipe.  This time, the beans take center stage as the taco filling.  (And this time, I actually wrote down the recipe.)  We topped them only with a bit of pico de gallo and sliced avocado, and wrapped them up in fresh corn tortillas.  We were so amazed at how satisfying this meal was, and this is now a go-to quick meatless meal for us. Dare I say I actually prefer them to chicken tacos?  Growth, people.  Growth.

  • Prep 10 minutes
  • Cook 15 minutes
  • Yield about 4-6 servings


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground chipotle powder
  • Dash ground cayenne
  • 2½-3 cups cooked black beans (about 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup veggie broth (or water)
  • Juice of 1 lime

For serving: 

  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Pico de gallo
  • Sliced avocado


  • 01

    Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is heated, add the onion and sauté just until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, salt, cumin, chipotle powder and cayenne and sauté just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  • 02

    Stir in the beans immediately followed by the veggie broth or water.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beans are tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice and adjust seasonings to taste.

  • 03

    Assemble tacos as desired with tortillas, pico de gallo and sliced avocado. Serve immediately.