Black beans are full of healthy plant-based protein, fibre and antioxidants and these tasty tacos are an easy way to get the family on board with plant-based eating! This quick weeknight supper can be on the table in half an hour as each component is quick and easy to make (even quicker if you already have salsa and guacamole in the fridge!). With all the usual tex-mex favourite accompaniments and a luscious smoky cashew cream, these black bean tacos are an explosion of flavours and versatile enough to accommodate each family member’s different likes and dislikes. It will very rapidly become a firm family favourite!
Taco nights are probably one of our favourite nights in our household. I like to serve everything pick’n’mix style so that everyone can load their tacos with the things they like and leave out the bits they don’t. That way, everyone is happy, everyone eats what they want to eat and there are lots of happy chomping noises around the table!
Since there are so many little add-ons to this meal, I also usually get the kitsch lazy-Susan out of the cupboard which the kids just LOVE! It adds to the general excitement around taco nights!
Black beans (also known as turtle beans) are naturally gluten-free and a wonderful source of plant-based protein. Being high in fibre and complex carbohydrates but with a low glycaemic index, they allow stable blood sugar levels after digestion and the resistant starch can travel further into your gut to feed your microbiome. Black beans are also high in many vitamins and minerals and, did you know, they contain the same wonderful polyphenols as the purple group of fruit and vegetables like blueberries, beetroots and red cabbage! You can read this article if you want more detailed information about the wonders of including beans in your diet!
This dish not only gets its nutrition credentials from the black beans but also good fats from the avocado and cashews and a plethora of vitamins and minerals from the salsa, guacamole and black bean filling. The freshness and diversity in this meal shines through in healthy abundance!
The main ingredients for this dish are:
- Black beans - I use canned black beans. They are sometimes called turtle beans.
- Corn tacos – if you are gluten-free, make sure to check the label to make sure that they are 100% corn tacos (some companies try to sneak wheat into their tacos for some irritating reason!).
- Vegetables - onions, garlic, celery, red pepper, tomatoes, avocados, spring onions (scallions), lettuce.
- Lime – at a push, you could substitute this for lemon but it does have a slightly different flavour.
- Spices – cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon
- Herbs – oregano, coriander (cilantro)
- Nuts - cashews
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full list of ingredients and their quantities.
- Make the black bean filling:
- Fry the onion celery in a little oil.
- Add the garlic and spices, cook for a minute.
- Add red peppers and celery and fry for a few more minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and simmer gently while you make the accompaniments.
- Make the simple guacamole and salsa by chopping the ingredients and mixing together (or make life really easy by buying them ready-made!)
- Make the cashew cream by whizzing the ingredients in a blender.
- Finely slice the lettuce leaves and warm the tacos in the oven.
- Serve everything separately for everyone to help themselves!
This is a summary only. Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this page for full instructions.
As I mentioned already, I like to serve all the different parts of this dish in separate bowls so that everyone can help themselves.
My children also love having my healthy vegan cheese sauce smothered all over their tacos if I happen to have some leftover in the fridge. Just spice it up with a teaspoon each of smoked paprika and cumin and it will taste like a nacho sauce!
I also like to add sliced pickled jalapenos to my tacos and a generous dash of tabasco!
- Since we always have this as a family meal, the taco filling mixture does not have much spice in it. I usually address this by adding tabasco to my own tacos but if you’re not dealing with fussy kids, then by all means, spice up the filling by adding some sliced chillies (or chilli powder) to the pan with the garlic and other spices!
- If your kids are not fans of beans, you could fry up some vegan mince and add some of this bean mixture to it so that they get half and half. That seems to have worked with getting my kids over the endless bean complaining!
This is a great meal to prep before the kids come home from school or at the weekend.
- You can make the bean mixture up to 3 days in advance and then just re-heat it at the same time as heating the tacos. I re-heat it in a pan and add a little water to loosen it up a bit as I find it thickens on standing.
- The cashew cream really takes seconds to make so I usually make that fresh but sometimes I have some in the fridge anyway from the weekend so that can be made a day or two in advance too if you like.
- The guacamole and salsa can also be made ahead (but perhaps stick to the same day at least so that the guacamole doesn't deteriorate and start to brown) and kept in sealed containers in the fridge.
That just leaves you to slice up the lettuce just before serving, re-heat the beans and warm the tacos in the oven.
Storage & Leftovers
Keep the different parts of this dish all separate and store in the fridge in sealed containers. They will happily keep for a few days so that you can re-create the meal again from leftovers or use in salads or with rice or quinoa in the days ahead.
📖 Recipe 📖
Black Bean Tacos with Smoky Cashew Cream
Black bean taco filling
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 onions, (diced)
- 4 garlic cloves, (sliced)
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 red peppers, (diced)
- 800 g tinned black beans, (drained)
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
Smoky cashew cream
- 150 g cashews
- 180 g water
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Black Bean Filling - Melt the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and red pepper over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened and browned (about 5-8 mins). Add the garlic and spices and fry for another 1 minute, stirring constantly.2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 onions, 4 garlic cloves, 2 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 red peppers
- Stir in the black beans, tomato puree, vegetable stock, oregano and salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes over a low heat while you get the accompaniments ready (stir occasionally and add a little water if it starts to look too dry).800 g tinned black beans, 2 tablespoon tomato puree, 250 ml vegetable stock, 2 teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon salt
- Cashew Cream - Mix the ingredients in a high speed blender until really smooth. Transfer to a small bowl.150 g cashews, 180 g water, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon lime juice, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Tacos - Warm the taco shells in the oven according to the packet instructions.12 corn taco shells
- Accompaniments - Finely shred the lettuce and put in a bowl with a little lime juice squeezed on top. Chop up some coriander, prepare some lime wedges and some sliced jalapenos.½ iceberg lettuce (or little gem), 200 g salsa, 200 g guacamole, jalapeno slices, coriander (cilantro) leaves, lime wedges
- Serve - Serve the warmed tacos for everyone to help themselves to with a serving of black beans, a dollop of each sauce and the finely shredded lettuce and coriander sprinkled on top.
- Adjust the spiciness by using hot or sweet smoked paprika as necessary and adding sliced chillies with the garlic and spices if you like.
- If your blender is not so powerful, you may need to pre-soak your cashews in boiling water for about 15 minutes before blending.
- The amount of liquid needed in the black beans will depend on how high a heat it cooks on and how long. Sometimes, if I’m distracted (children fighting, setting the table, phone ringing, etc.!) then the beans can end up cooking for a lot longer. If that happens, just keep adding a little more water and stirring it in whenever it looks a little too dry.
- Use leftover black beans mixture to eat with rice, sweetcorn and sauteed dark green leaves the next day.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
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