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!
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- 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.)
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