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Easy Black Bean Tacos with a Crispy Quesadilla Twist!
We’re pretty obsessed with plant-based tacos here at PWWB…& apparently so are you! Black Bean Quinoa Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema, Roasted Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Tacos with Smoky Chipotle Cashew Crema, & Cauliflower Lentil Tacos are some of PWWB’s popular & well-loved recipes. These Crispy Black Bean Tacos are our newest plant-based taco obsession, & I know you’ll love them just as much as we do.
This quick & easy dinner starts by zhuzhing up canned black beans with simple taco spices & smoky chipotles to create a black bean taco filling that’s equally satisfying & flavorful. The filling is tucked into corn tortillas with a little cheese & the black bean tacos are baked on a sheet pan, creating golden & crisp tacos with a cheesy filling. (Maybe you’ve seen this sheet pan method work its magic with our Crispy Baked Chicken Tacos? It works like a charm!)
The result? Part taco, part quesadilla, & 100% insanely good!
& the very best part? It’s so incredibly easy it is to make these crispy black bean tacos! With just a few pantry staples, you can have an epic & satisfying weeknight meal in 1 hour or less. There’s nothing better than an easy feel-good meal on busy weeknights!
Crispy Black Bean Tacos Recipe Highlights
You’re going to be obsessed with these black bean tacos! They’re…
- QUICK & EASY. This is an easy & delicious weeknight dinner to whip up when you want something hearty, yet simple.
- A PANTRY MEAL. As long as your pantry is stocked with a few simple staple ingredients, you’ll have everything you need to make crispy black bean tacos whenever the craving strikes!
- SERIOUSLY SATISFYING. These tacos are protein-packed! Black bean tacos are super filling & insanely delicious with their crispy tortillas, spiced black beans, & plenty of ooey gooey melted cheese. Absolutely perfect vegetarian tacos that can also easily turn vegan.
A Meatless Monday AND Taco Tuesday win! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Crispy Black Bean Tacos, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
To make these crispy black bean tacos, you need just a few pantry staple ingredients – they’re probably all in your kitchen already!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
- Black beans – Straight out of the can works great here! Drain the beans & give them a quick rinse, then they’re ready to shine as the main source of protein in this recipe.
- Aromatics – Simple staples like yellow onion, garlic, & tomato paste create rich, fragrant flavor for the base of the black bean filling.
- Spices – My go-to homemade taco spice blend is a mix of chili powder, ground cumin, & smoked paprika. I also like to add chipotle pepper for delicious smoky heat!
- Vegetable broth – I prefer uising broth or stock for simmering the taco mixture (as opposed to water) because it adds even more flavor to the black bean filling. Vegetable broth keeps this recipe vegetarian, but you can also use chicken broth if that’s what you have on hand.
- Lime – The acidity of fresh lime juice really brightens up the flavor of the black bean taco filling.
- Corn tortillas – I prefer the texture of corn tortillas (especially when they get crispy in the oven!), but you can use flour tortillas if that’s your thing!
- Cheese – One of the best things about these crispy black bean tacos is how melty the cheese gets when they bake. I use pepper jack here, but feel free to use your favorite melty cheese or sub in plant-based cheese to keep this taco recipe vegan.
Taco Night Prep Tips
Before you get started, I highly recommend gathering & prepping all your black bean taco ingredients. Once you begin cooking, these crispy black bean tacos come together super quickly – there won’t be too much time to multi-task. Chopping & measuring in advance will only take 5 minutes tops – totally worth it. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more meal prep tips!
How to Make Crispy Black Bean Tacos
The secret to making simple meals taste great is to build tons of incredible flavor into every component of the dish. This is especially true for plant-based dishes, which don’t have the built-in rich, umami flavor of animal protein. Keep this in mind as you make these crispy black bean tacos – every step of seasoning makes a big difference!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Cook the aromatics. Sauté onions until soft & golden-brown, then stir in garlic, chipotle pepper, spices, & tomato paste & cook until the mixture is super fragrant. Why? ⇢ Canned black beans are packed with protein, but a little bland all on their own. Adding a few aromatics & spices will teach you how to season black beans for tacos that are insanely delicious!
Build the black bean taco filling. Add black beans to the skillet, then add the vegetable stock – the liquid helps create a soft taco filling consistency. Lightly mash the black beans with a wooden spoon to bind everything together, then let the mixture simmer & absorb all of the flavors. Taco Tip! ⇢ After a few minutes, squeeze fresh lime juice over the black bean mixture. Lime juice brightens up the beans & makes a big difference – don’t skip it!
Steam the tortillas. Super straightforward, but don’t underestimate its importance! Wrap corn tortillas in a damp paper towel & microwave for about 30 seconds. Why? ⇢ The wet paper towels create steam & add moisture back into the tortillas, which makes them more pliable & prevents cracking or breaking.
Assemble the tacos. Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Place the warm tortillas on the sheet, flipping them a few times to coat in oil. From there, build the black bean tacos: spread the black bean mixture over half of each tortilla, sprinkle cheese on top, & fold the tortillas into a taco, with the filling & cheese nestled inside.
Bake! Time to get these crispy black bean tacos crispy! When you transfer the sheet pan to a hot oven, the oiled tortillas turn golden brown, puff up, & get nice & crispy. Carefully flip the tacos halfway through so both sides toast evenly! Taco Tip! ⇢ Give the tacos a few minutes to cool once they come out of the oven – this helps the black bean mixture set & also adds a final bit of crispiness.
Serve the crispy black bean tacos when they come out of the oven & are oozing with cheesy black bean goodness. My favorite way to enjoy a taco dinner is to arrange a spread of taco toppings that everyone can mix & match & enjoy. “More is more” is pretty much my motto when it comes to taco toppings!
There are so many delicious taco topping options & you really can’t choose wrong – it’s what you like best! Some of my favorite crispy black bean taco toppings are:
- Avocado – I love piling a thick layer of smashed avocado on any taco (made with mashed avocado, lemon juice, & salt). It’s super easy to throw together & the creaminess & brightness of the avocado balances the spiciness of the black beans perfectly. Mashed avocado is kind of like a cheater guacamole – bonus points if you actually whip up a batch of guacamole instead!
- Chopped cilantro – A small amount of fresh cilantro adds bright, fresh flavor & a picture perfect garnish.
- Salsa – Pick your fave jarred salsa, whip up a quick pico de gallo, or try this vegan creamy salsa verde!
- Homemade slaw – My everyday simple slaw adds a light & crunchy bite to the black bean tacos. Plus it’s super flexible, with tons of variations.
- Pickled red onions – A quick & easy way to add a tangy zip to the black bean tacos. My quick AF pickled red onions are seriously quick – less than 5 minutes to prep!
If you have any leftover black bean filling, feel free to use it in something else besides a taco! The black bean taco filling is super versatile. Use it in a burrito, make a rice bowl, or serve it on nachos. Same topping recommendations still apply!
I can’t wait for you to try these Crispy Black Bean Tacos! They’re so quick, so easy, & so satisfying – I know you’ll love them as much as we do!
More Recipes Like This:
Plant-Powered Taco Recipes
Tacos meet quesadillas in these Crispy Black Bean Tacos! Tuck a hearty & flavorful black bean taco filling in warm corn tortillas with a handful of pepper jack, then pop them on a sheet pan to bake until they’re crispy, golden-brown, & oozing with gooey melted cheese.
A weeknight-friendly dinner made with pantry staples, ready in 45 minutes max. Naturally vegetarian, easily vegan & dairy-free!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- optional: 1 chipotle pepper (from a can, packed in adobo sauce), finely chopped OR 1 tablespoon adobo sauce for less spice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- two 14-ounce cans black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth or stock
- 1 lime, juiced
- 8–10 corn tortillas
- 6 ounces Pepper Jack or melty cheese of choice, freshly shredded
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- for serving, as desired: shredded lettuce, mashed avocado or guacamole, sour cream or cashew crema, pickled red onions, chopped cilantro, salsa of choice, lime wedges, etc.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Gather & prep all ingredients according to Ingredients List, above – once you begin cooking, these black bean tacos come together very quickly so it’s helpful to get any chopping & measuring done ahead of time.
- Sauté the onion: Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot & shimmering, add the onion. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent & fragrant, 3-4 minutes.
- Toast aromatics: Stir in the garlic & chipotle. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, & tomato paste. Stir, coating the onion. Cook 1-2 minutes longer, until very fragrant.
- Make the black bean taco filling: Add the black beans to the skillet, stirring to combine with the aromatics. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warm, 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, increasing heat to bring the mixture to a simmer. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to mash the black beans slightly, binding everything together. If needed, cook 1-2 minutes longer to thicken slightly. Squeeze the lime juice over the black bean mixture. Taste & season with additional kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Remove from the heat & set aside for taco assembly.
- Warm the tortillas: Meanwhile, as the black bean filling cooks, prep the tortillas. Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp paper towel. Microwave 30 seconds to steam the tortillas, making them pliable enough for taco assembly. Remove from the microwave & set aside.
- Assemble the black bean tacos: Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil across the surface of a large rimmed baking sheet. Place the warmed tortillas on the baking sheet, flipping them one or two times to get a nice light coating of oil on both sides. Spread the black been mixture over half of each tortilla, then sprinkle the cheese over top. Fold the tortillas, creating a taco around the black bean & cheese filling. I like to carefully flip the tacos at this point, so the cheese side is facing down.
- Bake the black bean tacos: Transfer the sheet pan to the oven & bake the tacos 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Working quickly & carefully, use a spatula to flip the tacos. Return to the oven & bake 8-10 minutes longer, until golden & crisp. Remove from the oven & allow to cool 2-3 minutes – the tacos will get even crispier as they cool.
- Serve: Serve the crispy black bean tacos warm, finishing with toppings of choice – cashew crema, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salsa, or any other toppings your taco-lovin’ heart desires. Enjoy!
- Storage & reheating: These crispy black bean tacos are best served fresh out of the oven, though leftovers will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. For crispiest results, reheat for 5-10 minutes in a 250 degree F oven or on the stovetop (quesadilla-style) until warmed through.
- Corn tortillas: To help ensure your crispy chicken tacos do not crack as they bake, look for corn tortillas that are a little thinner & do not appear dry or crumbly. I’ve had good success using the Mission Corn Tortillas labeled “super soft” – yellow or white corn is fine, use whatever you love!
- 10-Minute Meal Prep: These black bean tacos come together really quickly once you get to cooking! To make this an even faster weeknight dinner, eliminate all active prep time by prepping a few ingredients in advance:
- Dice 1 small yellow onion. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (<5 minutes active prep).
- Grate 8 ounces cheese. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (<5 minutes active prep).
- Prep taco toppings. Prep a batch of cashew crema, a batch of quick pickled red onions, or whatever taco night fixings you love most! (Active prep time varies.)
Keywords: crispy black bean tacos, black bean taco recipe, black bean taco filling, vegan taco meat, sheet pan tacos, easy, weeknight, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.
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