These smashed black bean tacos are a quick vegetarian meal that’s perfect for the whole family, even on a busy weeknight! Black bean filling seasoned with salsa and spices (no chopping required) is stuffed into flour tortillas. Then, the tacos are baked in the oven until irresistibly crispy. Serve them with cilantro garlic yogurt sauce or any sauce and toppings of your choice. You’ll soon be making these meatless bean tacos on repeat!
Nights are busy, guys. The post-work/school mad rush makes it challenging to get dinner on the table. That’s why I try to keep a running list of actually easy recipes in my back pocket. You know, like the ones that use pantry staples and other things I usually have in my fridge.
These smashed black bean tacos are exactly that kind of recipe! They’re made with mostly canned and jarred ingredients and don’t take a lot of hands-on time. If you’re feeling up to it, I recommend whipping up my Lime Cilantro Garlic Sauce to drizzle on top of the tacos, but it’s totally optional. If you don’t have time, use whatever toppings you want, like diced avocado, salsa, or sour cream.
Even though they’re ridiculously easy, these tacos feel kind of fancy. That’s because they’re baked in the oven to get crispy and delicious before serving. It’s a fun technique I’ve seen floating around the food blog world, and I’m excited for you to try making crispy tacos if you haven’t already! Be sure to report back if you do.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Flour tortillas: I recommend using flour tortillas, because I think they get crispier in the oven and are easier to fold without tearing than corn tortillas. You’ll also want to keep the tortillas at room temperature instead of in the refrigerator for best results. If you do keep them in the fridge, warm them before making the recipe. When testing this recipe, I used the Good and Gather 8-inch organic flour tortillas from Target. The 8-inch size seemed perfect for this recipe, but you can use smaller or larger tortillas. It’s up to you! If you need your smashed black bean tacos to be gluten-free, corn tortillas (made without any wheat) are definitely suitable but may not get as crispy. Try to use corn tortillas that are soft and malleable and do not appear crumbly for best results.
- Black beans: Use 2 x 15-ounce cans or 1 x 29-ounce can. You can substitute pinto beans if that’s what you have. Choose no added salt or low sodium beans if you want to reduce the sodium in the recipe.
- Salsa verde: Use your favorite store-bought or homemade salsa verde (like my Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa). If you prefer red salsa, use that instead.
- Chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic powder: You can easily substitute a couple teaspoons of pre-made taco seasoning for these.
- Lime: A little fresh lime juice brings out the flavor of the filling. Omit if you don’t have it.
- Shredded Mexican blend cheese: Use pre-shredded or shred your own using a block of cheddar, Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, or Monterey Jack.
- Extra virgin olive oil: You’ll need this to brush over the tortillas so that they crisp up in the oven!
The full recipe card for crispy smashed black bean tacos is at the end of the post. Scroll down to see it. Here’s a preview of the steps with expert tips and photos to guide you in the kitchen.
Prep the filling. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the drained and rinsed black beans, spices, and salsa. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, using the back of a silicone fork or spoon to mash some of the beans as they cook, until warmed through and thickened. Squeeze lime juice over the filling and remove from heat.
Prep the tortillas. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. If your tortillas were stored in the refrigerator, I recommend warming them on a plate covered with a damp paper towel in the microwave for 30 seconds so that they are easier to fold. Brush one side of each tortilla with olive oil.
Add the filling to the tacos. Flip the tortillas over so the non-oiled side is facing up. Spoon some of the black bean filling onto one half and spread it out.
Add the cheese. Sprinkle cheese over the filling.
Fold the tortillas. Flip the half without the filling over the half with it. Then, I like to gently flip the tacos over so that the side with the cheese is facing down on the baking sheet. This is optional, but I like to do it because you’ll flip the tacos again halfway through cooking.
Pop the tacos in the oven. Bake the tacos at 425 degrees F for 8 minutes. Carefully flip them over and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes until crispy. Let the tacos cool for a few minutes to finish crisping up.
Storage and Reheating
Crispy smashed black bean tacos are best enjoyed right away. However, leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. You can eat leftover tacos cold or reheat them in the oven. I had good results reheating them on a baking sheet at 300 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. You can also try reheating in a skillet over medium heat.
I recommend serving the tacos with a sauce and other toppings of choice. I paired mine with my Lime Cilantro Garlic Sauce. Other topping ideas include avocado or guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, shredded lettuce, and/or sour cream. If you have any leftover filling from your smashed black bean tacos, use it in burrito bowls or salads the next day.
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Crispy Smashed Black Bean Tacos
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans - or a 29-ounce can; drained and rinsed
- ¾ cup salsa verde - or any other salsa of choice
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 lime - juiced; about 2 tablespoons
- 6 to 8 flour tortillas - preferably 8-inch but can use any size
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Lime Cilantro Garlic Sauce - optional
- Toppings of choice - see notes for ideas
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet (preferably a half-sheet pan) with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- In a large skillet, add the drained and rinsed beans, salsa verde, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic powder. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat until warmed through and thickened. Use a spoon or silicone fork to smash some of the beans while they cook. Squeeze lime juice over the filling, then remove from heat.
- Prepare the tortillas. First, if you kept your tortillas in the fridge and not at room temperature, you may want to warm them slightly so they are easy to bend without tearing. Place them on a microwave-safe plate, top with a damp paper towel, and microwave for 30 seconds (more if needed) until warm. Brush one side of each tortilla with olive oil. Flip them over so the oiled side is facing down.
- Spoon some of the filling onto one half of each tortilla and spread it out. Sprinkle cheese on top of the filling.
- Fold the empty half of each tortilla over the half with the filling. Place the prepared tacos next to each other on the lined baking sheet. It's optional, but at this point I carefully flip each taco over so that the side with the cheese is facing down on the baking sheet. I like to do this because the tacos are flipped again halfway through cooking time.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 8 minutes, then flip each taco over. Return them to the oven for another 5 to 7 minutes until crispy. If you're making the sauce, do so while the tacos bake.
- Let the tacos cool for a few minutes while they finish crisping up.
- Serve with a drizzle of cilantro garlic sauce (optional) and/or other toppings of choice. Enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- Storage and reheating: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 300 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes or in a skillet.
- Topping ideas: Avocado, sour cream, chopped cilantro, guacamole, salsa, shredded lettuce
- Tortillas: I like to use flour because I think they get crispier in the oven, but you can use corn tortillas if needed to make the recipe gluten-free. Look for tortillas that are soft and not crumbly for best results.