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Vegan Black Bean Tacos That Will Make You Wish Every Day Was (Taco) Tuesday
I know what you’re thinking…
Vegan black bean tacos? Sounds unsatisfying.
But, the key to a good taco isn’t meat. It’s balance. And these refried black beans tacos are balanced.
Texture wise, you need something creamy and something crunchy.
Taste wise, you want salty and rich with a hit of acidity. That’s why tacos are often served with a slice of lime. It helps cut through all that creamy, salty goodness.
These vegan black bean tacos don’t have to be eaten from a food truck at 2 AM after a night out to be delicious.
Crispy tofu and creamy refried beans hit the texture goals. Zesty cabbage slaw balances out the flavors in the taste department.
Plus, these vegetarian black bean tacos are quick to make and perfect for a taco lunch the next day.
How to Cook Vegan Black Bean Tacos
These vegan tacos may look complex to cook at first sight, but they’re not.
The thing is, you can’t really mess up any of the ingredients. Cook the tofu or beans a few minutes longer than the recipe? No worries at all. Let the cabbage sit with salt longer? Not a problem.
So, have all of your ingredients ready and these tacos will turn out delicious. Here is the rundown for how to make these tacos:
- Prepare tofu – Cut or tear your tofu and let it drain on a towel for 10 minutes.
- Prepare cabbage – While the tofu is draining, thinly slice the cabbage and season it with salt. That is going to drain for about 8 minutes.
- Prepare everything else – While that drainage is happening, chop your onions and garlic, open your black bean cans, get out your tortillas, and prep the dinner table.
- Make the slaw – Get the slaw out of the way so you can focus on the ingredients you’re going to cook. Massage the cabbage for about a minute to expel its water. Drain the bowl. Add olive and vinegar and toss. Boom. Cabbage slaw done.
- Cook tofu – Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once shimmering, add tofu and cook until crispy, turning every 2 minutes or so.
- Cook beans – Heat oil in another pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until soften. Then add cumin and the beans with their liquid. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid reduces a bit.
- Mash beans – Remove the beans from heat and use a wooden spoon or potato masher to smash most of the beans. You’re looking for a creamy, thick texture.
- Assemble tacos – Warm tortillas and distribute ingredients. Enjoy!
Vegan Black Bean Tacos Variations
Tacos are the ultimate type of dish for experimentation. They are essentially delicious ingredients piled onto delicious ingredients and wrapped in a delicious ingredient. That’s a lot of good stuff.
Here are some ideas for changing up this taco:
- Top with avocado, cilantro, and lime dressing – The trifecta of summer ingredients is avocado, cilantro, and lime. Add this dressing to anything for a blast of freshness.
- Add or replace tofu with meat – This buttermilk marinated chicken is perfect for leftovers. Mix in pulled thigh meat or slices of the breast for a protein packed taco.
- Top with pickled beets – Add a blast of tang and earthiness with these refrigerator pickled beets.
- Crunch it up – Add these crispy chickpeas for more crunch.
Vegan Black Bean Tacos Cooking Tips
Cook Tofu Undisturbed For Max Crisp
One of the biggest mistakes I see when cooking tofu is moving it around too much in the pan. To get that crispy tofu action, it needs quality surface-to-surface time with the hot pan.
I totally get that it’s kinda fun to keep moving it around. Especially, if that is the only thing you’re cooking because what else are you supposed to do?
A good method to get you start is to use 2-minute intervals between moving it. Add the tofu to the pan, but don’t touch it for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes can flip or toss to cook on another side. Then reset your 2-minute timer and repeat until you hit all the sides.
Do you want to be an awesome home cook? Like in the 95th+ percentile of home cooks?
If you do, then you’ll warm your tortillas in a pan before serving. This is a one-minute little detail that people who aren’t as awesome as you miss.
Wipe out the pan you used to cook the tofu with a towel. Reheat over medium-high heat and warm your tortillas for 30 or so on each side. This will make them much more pliable and easier to eat.
Potato Masher For the Smash
I’ve been doing a lot of smashing ingredients lately. These falafel patties is my most recent smash event.
And I’m starting to realize that I need a potato masher. It would make my life much easier for recipes like this, lentil patties, mashed potatoes, and whenever else I need to roughly mash something without using a food processor. This KitchenAid masher is legit and sturdy.
Vegan Black Bean Tacos FAQs
What Kind of Cabbage Should I Use For These Vegan Black Bean Tacos?
You can use any type of cabbage for this recipe, but red cabbage is the healthiest variety according to WebMD.
I always have a head of red cabbage in my refrigerator. It’s delicious, affordable, beautiful, and available at most grocery stores.
Can I Use Dried and Cooked Black Beans?
I love dried beans. They’re super affordable. You can make a batch and eat for days. I write all about how to cook them in this post on how to cook dried beans.
If you choose to use dried beans, just remember that there are about 1.5 cups of cooked beans per can of beans. So, you’ll need 3 cups of cooked beans for this recipe.
Vegan Black Beans and Tofu Tacos
- 1/2 head small cabbage
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or apple cider, rice, or white wine vinegar)
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 14 oz container extra firm or firm tofu
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 15 oz cans black beans (or 3 cups cooked)
- 2.5 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- corn or whole wheat flour tortillas
- feta, or cojita cheese for serving (optional)
- lime (optional)
- Lay paper or cloth towels on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove tofu from package. Break or cut into bite sized pieces and lay onto the paper towels. Let drain for about 10 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
- Thinly slice cabbage and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle 1 tsp kosher salt and gently toss. Let sit for about 8 minutes while you chop the onion and garlic, open beans, and ready the tortillas.
- Finish the slaw before you get the beans and tofu cooking. Massage the cabbage for a minute or so to help release the liquid. Pour out any liquid in the bowl. Add the vinegar and oil. Toss to coat. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the tofu. Use a wooden spoon to break up the tofu into smaller pieces and season with 1 tsp salt. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Then toss and use the spoon to break apart any chunks. Repeat until all sides are browned and crispy, about 10 minutes.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in another large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook about 5 minutes, tossing occasionally then add garlic. Cook 2 more minutes until onion has softened then sprinkle cumin over.
- Add black beans and their liquid to onions and garlic. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally until liquid has slightly reduced, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and use the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher to smash as many beans as you can. The beans should be creamy with most beans smashed. They will slightly thicken as they cool.
- To serve, fill a tortilla with beans, tofu, and slaw. Top with cheese and a squirt of lime if using.
It’s Taco Time!
If there is anything true in life, it’s that: tacos rule.
Seriously, do you know of anyone who would say they don’t like tacos? If you do, please make them one of these vegan tacos. They’re delish.
Next time I make them, I’ll probably add some feta or queso. I wanted this to be a vegan taco, so I left the cheese out here.
That’s the beauty of tacos. There is no such thing as failing because the next tortilla is another chance to lay on the flavors. So, grab your next tortilla, proudly add your homemade fillings, and enjoy that delicious bite that you created.
You know want else would be great in tacos? Roasted veggies. If you want to learn how to master them and finally love to eat veggies, check out Roasted Veggie Mania.