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.
Today’s 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?
Spicy black bean tacos
makes 8 medium tacos or 4 servings
active time: 45 min
For the beans
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or vegetable oil
- 1 medium Vidalia onion – peeled and diced in 1/4″ cubes (2 1/4 cups)
- 3 jalapeños – seeded and diced in 1/8″ cubes (1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
- 4 cups cooked black beans
- 1 1/2 cups reserved cooking liquid from the beans
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the tacos
- 8 corn tortillas
- 8 oz (225 g) queso blanco or feta
- 1/4 medium cabbage – cut crosswise in 1/8″ slices
- 1 jar roasted tomato salsa or salsa of your choice
- 1 medium ripe avocado – halved, pit removed, peeled and cut in 1/4” slices
- cilantro sprigs
- Step 1: Heat a small heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and cook until they turn a dark color and are fragrant — about 2 minutes — shaking the pan constantly and taking care not to burn the spices. Transfer to a mortar and grind until coarsely ground.
- Step 2: Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and onions and sauté for 2 minutes, until the onions have softened. Add the jalapeños and continue to sauté for 5 to 6 minutes until the peppers and onions are golden-brown, stirring from time to time. Add the roasted seeds, chili powder and garlic, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic has released its flavor, but doesn’t brown.
- Step 3: Add the beans, reserved cooking liquid and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes until the beans have absorbed most of the liquid. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cook’s note: The beans can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to use. Save some of the beans’ cooking liquid also. To re-heat, place in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid, cover and cook until the beans are hot, stirring from time to time.
- Step 4: Place tortillas on plates. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup of the spicy black beans. Crumble about 1 ounce of cheese over the black beans. Top with some cabbage slices, 2 tablespoons of salsa, 2 slices of avocado and a couple of cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.