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Learn how to make the best black beans for tacos in 25 minutes or less with this simple, fuss-free Bean Taco recipe! Made with the convenience of canned black beans along with fresh veggies, savory seasonings, and a sweet corn salsa, these beans tacos are hearty, yet wholesome and bursting with bold flavor. These stuffed tortillas may be vegetarian, but trust me, you won’t miss the meat at all! 

Featured comment: Delicious recipe, I loved it. I don’t want to eat ‘regular’ tacos again after trying this.” – Cathy

Close-up, angled photo of a bean taco.

Update: This recipe was originally published in March 2020. I’ve made updates to the article below to include more information about making the best black beans for tacos, burritos, and more! 

About this black bean taco recipe

Savory canned black beans cooked to tender perfection and transformed into a thick, flavorful, Mexican-inspired taco filling! Studded with pungent onions, mild jalapenos, sweet bell peppers, fragrant garlic and flavorful dried seasonings, this black bean filling is hearty, yet healthy! Finished with a generous squeeze of fresh, tart lime juice and herbaceous cilantro these beans are so dang delicious you won’t miss the meat at all!!

Paired with a fresh and flavorful sweet corn salsa, these tacos are bold, flavorful and made with good-for-you ingredients!

Given how flavorful and delicious these beans are, you would think they require a plethora of specialty ingredients and hours of slaving away over the stove. However, these Mexican beans are prepared with convenient canned black beans, fresh vegetables and pantry staples. Plus, they can be ready to serve in 25 minutes or less, making them the perfect fast and flavorful meal for hectic weeknight dinners.

Bonus, the beans taste even better the next day, once the flavors have a chance to meld and marry! You can transform leftover Mexican beans into a dip, use them on nachos and salads, or stir them into soups and eggs! And, they can be used as an easy burrito or enchilada filling!

These delicious beans are so incredibly versatile you’ll want to double the recipe and stash some in the freezer to always have on hand for frantic Taco Tuesday dinners!

Psst! If you’re looking for more healthy Mexican dinners, try these fan favorite recipes next:

What are bean tacos?

Bean tacos are a traditional vegetarian Mexican dish made of corn tortillas topped with a mixture of cooked beans and various vegetables. Traditionally, the corn tortillas are folded up and around the bean filling and can be served charred, toasted or fried. Alternatively, tortillas can be topped and served flat, open-faced, which is known as a tostada.

Overhead photo of a pot with cooked black beans for tacos.

What in this bean taco recipe?

These bean tacos are made with ingredients that are easy to find at your grocery store. Here’s what you’ll want to grab:

Beans for tacos

  • Black Beans: You’ll need two cans of black beans for these tacos. However, if you prefer the taste of homemade, you can swap in 3 cups of cooked dried beans.
    • Substitution: While you may need to adjust the cook time depending upon the variety, kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas make good substitutes for the black bean.
  • Onion: I prefer the sweet, sharp flavor of red onion, but you can use your favorite variety. (Tip: Learn how to cut an onion like a pro.)
  • Bell Pepper: A red bell pepper lends naturally sweet flavor. However, you can use yellow or orange instead.
  • Jalapeño: One jalapeno pepper adds a touch of spicy, smoky flavor. Look for peppers with a bright color and firm texture.
    • Substitution: If you prefer a smokier flavor, use a chipotle in adobo instead!
  • Garlic: Use fresh cloves for the most savory, pungent flavor. But in a pinch, you can use the stuff in a jar. Or use a roasted garlic bulb for rich, mellow flavor. (Tip: Learn how to chop garlic cloves like a pro.)
  • Seasonings: A mixture of cumin, paprika, chili powder and dried oregano, along with salt and pepper, lend a ton of Tex-Mex flavor.
  • Tomato Paste: Don’t skip this ingredient! It adds rich, caramelized tomato flavor to these taco beans that really can’t be beat.
  • Broth: Make sure you grab low- or no-sodium broth for this bean recipe. You can use vegetable broth or chicken broth, whatever you prefer.
  • Lime Juice: Fresh lime juice provides a citrusy punch that brightens up all the flavors.

Corn salsa topping

While entirely optional, I absolutely love this fresh corn topping with these black beans. It’s a match made in heaven and it uses a lot of the ingredients above, so I don’t recommend skipping it. Or you can try this Spicy Corn Salsa instead!

These are the extra ingredients you’ll need if you want to make the corn salsa:

  • Corn: You can use fresh corn on the cob, frozen corn kernels, or corn in a can. However, I recommend the fresh stuff for the best taste.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves lend fresh, slightly grassy and earthy flavor. If you aren’t a fan you can try parsley, scallions, or a mixture of the two instead.
  • Cheese: I like the strong tangy flavor of Cotija cheese; however, you can use queso fresco or feta if you prefer. Swap in vegan cheese to keep it vegan!

FAQs: tacos beans

What can I add to a bean taco?

Black bean taco recipes are very forgiving and incredibly customizable. You can easily adapt the recipe and add whatever ingredients you have on hand or love!

  • Vegetarian “meats”:  meat substitutes or tofu
  • Fresh or sautéed vegetables:  zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and onions, spinach, kale and sweet potatoes
  • Nuts and seeds: walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seed or sunflower seeds
  • Grains:  quinoa, wild rice, brown rice or yellow rice

Best toppings for bean taco recipes

The options for toppings are only limited by your imagination! Your toppings can be super simple and economical or over-the-top and unconventional depending on your mood!

Toppings add flavor, color, crunch and texture to tacos, so whatever you do, don’t skip adding at least a few!

  • Shredded greens:  ettuce, cabbage, coleslaw mix, kale
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese: cotija, crumbled queso, pepper jack, Monterey jack, cheddar
  • Fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, scallions, chives
  • Fresh fruits: avocado, mango, pineapple
  • Pickled vegetables: tangy red onions, carrots, chiles, pepperoncini
  • Vegetable salsa: corn salsa (pictured), tomato salsa, green salsa, or mango salsa for tacos.
  • Condiments: queso cheese, hot sauce, guacamole, sour cream or Greek yogurt

Overhead photo of a bowl of corn salsa topping for tacos.

How to make taco beans?

These tacos are incredibly fast and simple to prepare! Made with pantry staples and fresh vegetables, you can have a delicious, healthy Mexican meal in under 30 minutes!

  1. Cook vegetables: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add the remaining onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the onions are almost translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add seasonings: Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and oregano. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir in liquid and beans: Add the broth (or water). Stir, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook 1 minute. Add the beans and season to taste with a couple generous pinches of flakey sea salt and ground black pepper. Stir to incorporate.
  4. Simmer: Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 13-15 minutes, or until the beans have slightly broken down and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.
  5. Finish the beans: Remove the black bean mixture from heat and stir in lime juice. Taste and add more salt, lime juice or dry seasonings to taste. (Optional) Use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon or fork to smash some of the beans. Stir well.
  6. Serve beans as tacos: Spoon some of the beans down the middle of each corn tortilla or flour tortilla. Then top with corn salsa and your favorite taco toppings. Enjoy!

Step-by-step photos: Making black beans for tacos 

(Scroll down for the detailed measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.)

Step-by-step photo collage showing how to make black beans for tacos with written directions on each photo.

Corn salsa for tacos

This flavorful sweet corn salsa can be made with fresh, frozen or canned corn depending on what you have on hand!

  1. Combine the vegetables:  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the corn, 1/3 cup red onion, half of the red bell pepper, half the jalapeno, lime juice and zest, cilantro, paprika, cumin, chili powder and sea salt. Mix well to combine.
  2. Add the cheese:  Add in the cheese. Toss gently to combine.
  3. Adjust for seasoning:  Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt, lime juice and spices.
  4. Allow flavors to develop (optional):  Set aside while you prepare the black beans to allow the flavors to meld. Alternatively, salsa can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  5. Serve spooned over tacos. Enjoy!

Step-by-step photo collage showing how to make corn salsa for vegetarian taco recipe.

Serving beans for tacos recipe

While tacos are normally the star of the meal, it’s nice to serve a few side dishes to round out the meal.

Below are a few easy and delicious Mexican-inspired appetizers, salads and sides that pair perfectly with tacos!

Side dishes to serve with tacos and beans

More recipes for tacos!

If it’s Tuesday and you want to throw an epic taco party, serve up a variety of tacos and watch everyone chow down:

Storing taco recipe beans

How long will these beans for a taco last?

Store leftover cooked black beans in a shallow airtight container or zip-closure bag. Properly stored beans will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Alternatively, beans can be frozen (see below).

Can I freeze this bean recipe?

Cooked Mexican black beans freeze beautifully! While the beans are incredibly quick and easy to prepare, I recommend doubling this black bean tacos recipe. You can freeze the leftovers to have on hand for hectic weeknight dinners when you need to get dinner on the table in a flash!

To freeze: Allow the cooked beans to cool completely. Transfer beans to an airtight container or freezer-safe resealable bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Pro-tip: Freeze the beans in cup-sized portions for easy reheating and serving!

To reheat: Place the beans in a saucepan on the stove over medium-low to low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated throughout. Pro-tip: Beans can easily turn mushy when you reheat them. Make sure you use the lowest temperature possible while still maintaining a very gentle simmer. Add a few splashed of broth or water if your beans are dry.

What to do with leftover black beans tacos?

These easy Mexican black beans are incredibly versatile! You can make so much more than just tacos with this flavorful bean filling!!

  • Dip: Use a potato masher to mash up the beans. Alternatively, you can place the beans in a food processor and pulse until the beans reach desired consistency. Warm up the beans or serve them cold as a dip topped with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.
  • Nachos: Add the beans to the top of cheesy nachos.
  • Easy refried beans: Mash the black beans using a potato masher or food processor and transform them into refried beans.
  • Salads: Add them to salads for a quick boost of protein and flavor. Extra points if you serve your salad in a taco shell bowl!
  • Soups: Add flavor to soups and chilis by stirring in some leftover beans.
  • Grain Bowls: Use the beans as a topping for Mexican grain bowl or burrito rice bowls.
  • Eggs: Sir beans into egg scrambled for extra flavor and protein.
  • Burritos and Enchiladas: Use beans as a quick and easy filling for burritos and enchiladas.

Overhead photo of two tacos with black beans and salsa.

Nutritional information 

Is this recipe for black bean tacos healthy?

Vegetarian bean tacos are a wonderful healthy meal option, as long as you choose your toppings carefully! To keep tacos healthy, opt for fresh vegetables and good-for-you toppings.

What makes a bean taco healthy?

  • Beans: beans are packed with protein and nutrient dense! They are also loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber which helps you stay fuller for longer.
  • Fresh Vegetables:  Onions, bell peppers and jalapenos are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Corn Salsa:  Corn is rich in fiber. Plus, it contains plant compounds that aid in digestive healthy. Please note, corn is high in starch so it should not be consumed in excess!

How many calories?

The exact number of calories and carbohydrates in tacos will depend upon the precise measurement of ingredients and brands used. This easy black bean tacos recipe yields roughly 10 tacos and has approximately 60 calories and 4 grams of carbs per serving.

Overhead photo of three bean tacos with corn salsa.

Easy and economical to prepare, versatile and loaded with flavor, these vegetarian black beans are perfect when you are craving a healthier Mexican meal! Delicious stuffed in tacos, burritos, enchiladas and so much more, even the meat eaters in your family will go crazy over these beans!

Until next week, friends, cheers – to budget friendly bites that don’t sacrifice flavor!

Cheyanne

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More recipes with a can of black beans!

The best Vegetarian Corn and Black Bean Tacos Recipe👇

Overhead photo of five beans tacos with corn salsa.

Black Beans Tacos

4.67 from 6 votes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 tacos
These easy Black Beans for Tacos are simple to prepare, nutritious, and packed with delicious bold Mexican flavor. Made with fragrant canned black beans and fresh corn salsa, these bean tacos are filled with hearty, yet wholesome ingredients. These healthy tacos may be vegetarian, but you won't miss the meat at all!  Ready in 25 minutes or less, they make the perfect for fast and flavorful meal for hectic weeknight dinners.
Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.

Equipment

  • 1 Medium Size Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Large Saucepan

Ingredients 

Black Beans

  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 small Red Onion – finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small Red Bell Pepper – finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large Jalapeno Pepper – seeded, ribbed & finely diced (about heaping 1/4 cup)
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic – peeled & minced
  • 1 ¼ tsp EACH: Ground Cumin & Paprika (sweet or smoked)
  • 1 tsp EACH: Chili Powder & Dried Oregano
  • 1 TBS Tomato Paste
  • ½ cup Vegetable Broth, Chicken Broth or Water
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans Black Beans – drained & rinsed (or 3 cups cooked black beans)
  • Flakey Sea Salt & Ground Black Pepper – to taste
  • 1-3 TBS Fresh Lime Juice – to taste
  • Optional For Serving: Tortillas - flour or corn, warmed
  • Optional Toppings: Corn Salsa Sliced Avocado, Shredded Lettuce, Shredded Cheese or Crumbled Cotija, Salsa Verde, Pico, Sour Cream, Hot sauce, Lime Wedges

Instructions

  • Saute vegetables: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add the onions, bell peppers, and jalapeños. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the onions are almost translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Add seasonings: Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and oregano. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add liquid, then beans: Add the broth (or water) to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute. Then, add the black beans and season to taste with a couple generous pinches of flakey sea salt and ground black pepper. Stir well to thoroughly combine.
  • Simmer beans: Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 13-15 minutes, or until the beans have slightly broken down and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.
  • Finish the beans: Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Taste and add more salt, lime juice or dry seasonings to taste.
    Optional – smash the beans: Use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon or fork to smash some of the beans. Stir well.
  • To serve beans as tacos: Spoon some of the beans down the middle of each tortilla. Top with corn salsa and desired garnishes. Enjoy!
    Overhead photo of five beans tacos with corn salsa.

Notes

  1. Cotija cheese is a hard, crumbly Mexican cheese made of cow’s milk. If you can’t find, or don’t like cotija, you can substitute either queso fresco or feta cheese.
  2. To warm tortillas for tacos: Warm tortillas directly over a low flame on a gas range. Alternatively, warm tortillas one at a time in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
Recipe Serves:  Approximately 4-6 people
Recipe Yield:  Roughly 10 tacos
Nutritional information is an estimate based upon 10 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.

Nutrition

Calories: 60kcal    Carbohydrates: 4g    Protein: 2g    Fat: 4g    Saturated Fat: 2g    Cholesterol: 7mg    Sodium: 98mg    Potassium: 85mg    Fiber: 1g    Sugar: 2g    Vitamin A: 600IU    Vitamin C: 28mg    Calcium: 44mg    Iron: 1mg

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