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Spicy Black Bean Tacos


Spicy Black Bean Tacos

Tacos! Who doesn’t love tacos? This traditional Mexican dish has certainly become a beloved American food, and it’s easy to see why. Tacos are incredibly versatile (they can be stuffed with just about anything), they’re easy to make, they’re nutritious, and, most of all, of course, they’re incredibly delicious.

This recipe highlights what’s most compelling about tacos: the way humble ingredients can be assembled into something utterly satisfying.

Here the pan-roasted jalapeños and spices add a lovely kick to the mellow black beans. The cabbage brightens each bite with delicate crunchiness. The avocado and cheese lend their marvelous creaminess to the whole dish. And the cilantro exudes those potent fresh-herb aromas.

This is the kind of comfort food I love to sink my teeth into! How about you?


*Note: The beans can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Reserve some of the cooking liquid. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to use. To reheat, place in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid, cover and cook until the beans are hot, stirring occasionally.


For the beans

  • 4 cups dried black beans
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-sized Vidalia onion, diced finely
  • 3 jalapeños, seeded and diced finely
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • Sea salt, to taste

For the tacos

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces queso blanco or feta
  • 1/4 medium-sized cabbage, sliced thinly crosswise
  • One 16-ounce jar roasted tomato salsa or salsa of your choice
  • 1 medium-sized ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • Sprigs of cilantro, for garnish


For the beans

Cook the beans according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid. Set aside.*

Heat a small, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and cook until they turn a dark color and are fragrant, shaking the pan constantly and taking care not to burn the spices, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and grind until coarsely powdered.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and onion and sauté until the onion has softened, 2 minutes. Add the jalapeños and continue to sauté until the onions and peppers are golden-brown, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the roasted seeds, chili powder, and garlic, and sauté until the garlic has released its flavor, but doesn’t brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add the beans and the reserved cooking liquid.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes until the beans have absorbed most of the liquid. Season with salt, to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the tacos

Place the tortillas on plates. Top each tortilla with ½ cup of the spicy black beans. Crumble about 1 ounce of the cheese over the black beans. Top with some cabbage slices, 2 tablespoons of the salsa, 2 slices of the avocado, and a couple of cilantro sprigs. Repeat for the remaining tacos. Serve immediately.