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A small soft taco topped with pickled red onion, cabbage and cilantro crema on a plate. Two more tacos are blurred in the foreground.

Black Bean Tacos

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 tacos 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan


These delicious vegetarian (and vegan!) tacos feature hearty black beans with chipotle and onion for a quick, healthy and flavourful meal.



For the Black Beans

  • 2 tsp oil for cooking (substitute water for oil-free)
  • 2 (540 ml) cans black beans (drain and rinse 1 can, reserve liquid from other can)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (1.5 cups/145 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (15 g, about 1 tbsp minced)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle pepper)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt

For Serving

  • 12 small wheat or corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded red or green cabbage
  • 1 lime
  • cilantro lime crema, optional
  • pickled red onion, optional

Cilantro Lime Crema

  • 250 g (½ pkg) soft or medium tofu (see notes for substitution)
  • 12 limes, juiced (¼ cup juice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup packed cilantro (20 g)
  • pinch of salt

Pickled Red Onions

  • ½ red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar


  1. Make the Pickled Onion (Optional): If you’re making the quick pickled red onion, prepare that first. In a small pot, add vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil to dissolve salt and sugar. Remove pot from heat. To a medium bowl or large glass jar, add the onions, then pour the hot pickling liquid over top.  Set aside for at least 30 minutes to pickle.
  2. Make the Cabbage: Add the cabbage to a bowl with the juice from 1 lime and a spinkle of salt. Squeeze the cabbage with your hands a few times to massage and tenderize. Set aside while you prepare the black beans.
  3. Cook the Onion: In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp oil (or use water for oil-free) over medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add the onions. Season with salt. Cook for 4-6 mins, stirring occasionally, until tender. 
  4. Add Seasonings: Add the garlic, cumin, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Stir well and cook for 1 minute to toast.
  5. Add Black Beans and Water: Add the beans, including the liquid from one of the cans, along with 1/4 cup wateer. Stir well to combine. Cook for 6-8 minutes, mashing some of the beans with a potato masher or the back of a fork or wooden spoon, until thickened. Season to taste with salt, if needed.
  6. Make Cilantro Lime Crema (Optional): Using a blender, blend the tofu, garlic, cilantro, lime and salt, until smooth.  Add 1-2 tbsp of water, if needed, to achieve a smooth sauce or thinner crema, if desired. 
  7. Warm Tortillas (Optional): Warm the tortillas in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook them in batches, flipping to warm and toast each side. Cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm until ready to serve. You can also warm them briefly in the microwave.
  8. Assemble Tacos: To the warmed tortillas, add a scoop of black beans, then top with cabbage, crema, pickled red onion and fresh cilantro, if desired.


For super quick meal, you just make the black bean portion of the recipe. This takes less than 15 minutes. Serve on tortillas with lettuce, tomato, salsa or any other taco fillings you like.

Cilantro sauce can be made a day in advance. Pickled onion can be made up to 1 week in advance. The black bean mixture can be stored in the fridge up to 5 days. The cabbage can be stored in the fridge for around 5 days.

Nutrition facts are estimated for 1 taco with the black beans and cabbage. They will vary based on the tortillas use you and do not include the tofu crema or pickled onion, though the amount of calories those contain are negligable.


  • Serving Size: 1 taco
  • Calories: 157
  • Sodium: 421 mg
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 8 g

Keywords: black bean tacos, vegan black bean tacos