Chili Lime Black Bean Tacos 2.000

Justin Tsucalas for The Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for The Washington Post

Plant-Powered Newsletter May 31, 2019

This recipe is a lesson in minimalism: You’ll be surprised at the amount of flavor achieved from a few humble ingredients in just 20 minutes.

Our favorite trick for cooking black beans is with a little can liquid, spices and a hint of Dijon mustard for complexity. What takes them over the top is a crunchy, tart two-onion quick pickle. And don’t forget the hot sauce.

Want to add seafood? Pan-fried shrimp would be perfect here.

This recipe is from Week 1 of Voraciously's Plant Powered newsletter. Sign up at

Make Ahead: Refrigerate leftover black bean filling and pickled onion for up to 2 days; reheat the black beans on the stove top.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2 servings; makes 6 tacos

  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise (white and green parts)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added black beans, with the liquid
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón; sweet or hot)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Six 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce (from 1 heart of romaine)
  • Hot sauce, such as Cholula (optional)


First, let’s make the two-onion quick pickle: Combine the scallions and half the red onion slices in a medium bowl. Here’s a trick to give you less onion breath (you’ll thank us later!): Cover the onions and scallions with hot tap water and squeeze them a few times with your hands. Let them stand for about 2 minutes to extract their raw flavor, then drain.

Combine the lime juice, the rinsed red onions and scallions, and the pinch of kosher salt in a small jar or liquid measuring cup. Let stand while you make the remainder of the recipe, or for at least 10 minutes.

On to the black beans: Heat the oil until shimmering in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining red onion and cook without stirring for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the black beans with their liquid, the chili powder, cumin, Spanish smoked paprika, Dijon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt; stir to incorporate. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces to a thick sauce and your kitchen smells heavenly.

We like to add a bit of flavor and lovely char marks while warming our tortillas (not required, but highly recommended). Place a tortilla right on the grate above the flame of a gas burner, then cook on medium heat for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until lightly blackened on the edges. Repeat for all tortillas. If you don’t have a gas range, arrange the tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil for about 1 minute per side.

To assemble the tacos, place some chopped romaine at the center of each tortilla, then add a large spoonful of the black bean mixture. Top with the pickled red onion and hot sauce, if using. If desired, you can pour a small splash of the lime juice from the onion pickle onto each taco (but be conservative, or you’ll have a watery taco).

Rate it

Recipe Source

From Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser of

Tested by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at