This recipe for Black Bean Tacos with Chipotle Crema is so easy to make with either homemade black beans or canned. The crunch from the taco shell and cabbage slaw, combined with the soft bean filling and spicy chipotle crema is a party in your mouth. Easily made vegetarian and gluten-free!
These black bean tacos with chipotle crema are so good.
And they can be vegetarian.
Black bean tacos are so easy to make. And low-cost as well.
What more can you want in a delicious lunch or dinner?
I've been reading a lot about using black beans in place of meat, and always had a "hmmm..." reaction to it.
Meat is meat. It has a texture that beans don't have. Flavors that beans don't have. But flavor can be manipulated, so maybe texture can too.
And guess what...you can.
With a crisp taco shell, and soft black bean center, coupled with the fresh crunch of cabbage and then topped with a spicy chipotle crema - it's the yin and yang of food. Texture.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Black Beans - You have choices for the black beans. Easiest is a couple of cans of black beans you can add some cumin to. Better is my recipe for Savory Black Beans that I use as a base for my Ultimate Huevos Rancheros. To keep this recipe for blalck bean tacos vegetarian I prepared these without the bacon.
- Tortillas - I prefer corn for this dish as it adds flavor. And keeps it gluten-free. If you prefer flour, then use flour. If you can't find small flour tortillas, use a plate to cut them to size. You want taco, not burrito size.
- Cabbage - I use white cabbage, thinly sliced, or you can buy a bag of angel slaw. You could also use a combination of red and white cabbage.
- Green onion and Cilantro - If you HATE cilantro, use more green onion.
- Sour Cream - Full fat or low fat. If you want you can substitute yogurt. Use plain yogurt. You could also use Vegan yogurt.
- Chiles in Adobo - This recipe uses both juice and a whole chile. If you don't have any you could use Chipotle chile powder to taste (start with a teaspoon and work your way up). Chiles in Adobo can be found in the Hispanic section of most supermarkets or you can order online.
- Cotija Cheese - Cotia cheese can be found in most Hispanic markets and major grocery stores. You could substitute Feta cheese, as it has the same salty flavor. Or use a blended Mexican cheese blend.
- Lime juice, salt, pepper, and oil for frying.
Video Ultimate Huevos Rancheros
Directions for Crispy Black Bean Tacos
Step 1: Choose your beans, either canned or homemade. Put them into a pot, add cumin to canned beans, and heat. Mash with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. You want to leave some of the beans whole for texture.
Lindy's TIP: Remove some of the beans before mashing, then return the whole beans after and mix them in.
Step 2: Combine the sliced cabbage, cilantro, and green onion in a bowl. Squeeze a lime over the top, add a pinch of salt, and toss well.
Step 3: Mix the sour cream, or yogurt, with the lime juice and chopped chipotle pepper. Add some salt, thin it with a bit of water or buttermilk if it seems too thick.
Step 4: Prepare the cheese. Grate or crumble the cotija, or Feta. If using the Mexican cheese blend, it should already be shredded.
Step 5: Heat a frying pan over medium heat, when hot, add your lightly coated tortillas and spoon some beans into them. Fold and fry, until crunchy on both sides. Remove to a plate, fill, and enjoy.
Yes, you should drain at least one can of the beans, or if only making a half recipe, partially drain the can. The liquid could be used for heating the beans, but if not partially drained it will be too liquidy.
Yes. While I like the earthy flavor of black beans, you could substitute pinto beans or even chili beans.
You could, but it would create a softer texture on the inside than having some whole beans. You could also use half refried, and half whole as well saving you the smashing part.
I've always loved the street fish tacos in Mexico. Battered fish, soft tortilla, cabbage, and crema. Their crema was a mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise, and lime juice (maybe a little water or milk to loosen it up?)
I made my crema with Chipotle which rounds out the flavors perfectly.
Yes! Black Bean Tacos with Chipotle Crema are very low in fat. There are only 2 teaspoons of fat in this recipe and it's all used to cook the taco shells crispy.
The crispy shell is so important to add to the total mouthfeel of this taco.
These Black Bean Tacos are also low-fat and HIGH in fiber. That's a win-win in my book.
The best way to store chiles in adobo is to remove them from the can and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Common practice is that they will stay for about 10 days, but to be honest I've left them for up to a month with no problem. You can also freeze them. Best to use an ice cube tray to freeze individual portions.
Leftovers should be refrigerated, separately, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. New taco shells should be made as needed.
This recipe was originally published in May 2014. It has since been updated, modified, and reshot.
Easy Black Bean Tacos with Chipotle Crema
- For the Tacos
- 2 - 3 cups drained Savory Black Beans or Spicy Black Beans with Homemade Chorizo or 2(15 -ounce) cans drained black beans mixed with ½ teaspoon ground cumin If making vegetarian, omit the bacon
- 2 cups thinly shredded white cabbage or coleslaw mix without dressing
- 2 - 3 green onions chopped
- ⅓ to ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped if desired (I chopped some and left some whole, I like cilantro)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- 2 teaspoons oil
- For the Chipotle Crema
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon or more, lime juice
- 1 teaspoon or more, juice from a can of Chipotles in Adobo
- ½ to a whole chili in adobo finely minced
- ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese Feta could be used if Cotija is not available
- Heat the beans in a small pan, lightly mash leaving some beans whole (I found this to be easiest by removing some of the beans, mashing the ones in the pan, then adding back the whole beans). If using canned beans, drain and rinse 1 can
- In a bowl, mix together the cabbage, onion, cilantro, lime juice along with a pinch of salt. Set-aside.
- Mix together the sour cream, lime juice, adobo juice, and the minced chili pepper; adding a little water, or buttermilk if it seems too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Set aside.
- Brush one side of the tortillas with the oil. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat; place the tortilla, oil side down in the skillet. Put a couple of spoons of the bean mixture down the center of the tortilla, fold the tortilla in half and cook, until lightly browned and crisp. Turn and crisp the other side.
- Place the tacos on a plate, open them then sprinkle with the Cotija cheese, top with some slaw and then spoon the chipotle crema over the slaw. Fold in half then eat and enjoy.
I bet the chipotle gives this just the right zing
Gotta add this to my recipe list Linda. Love the GF goodies you create. 🙂
I love that this dish is totally vegetarian and, yet, looks so yummy! Job well done, Linda! I can't wait to give this one a try!
I should know better than to read your posts around dinner time... This is definitely one of the items on next week's menu, including the Chipotle Crema - I've made that for years and love it!
A totally cool dish that's good for you and vegetarian but doesn't cheat you of the "taco experience."