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Mexican Black Beans for Tacos

$2.09 Recipe/$0.52 Serving

Seasoned black beans for tacos are the ultimate quick and easy meal. These Mexican black beans are made with just 6 pantry ingredients and are ready in under 10 minutes! Great as a side dish or part of the main meal! Use them for tacos, nachos, burritos or tacos salads for an inexpensive and delicious meal!

Black beans for tacos in white bowl with wooden spoon.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Simple and easy to make – this Mexican black beans recipe is so easy to make and would be a great recipe for beginner chefs in the kitchen! There are just 6 ingredients, and the recipe takes about 10 minutes from start to finish (depending on how thick you want the sauce). Although this recipe is not authentic, it’s very simple and packed full of flavor!
  • Pantry ingredients – the ingredients for this easy Mexican black beans recipe are all pantry staples. These skillet black beans are a great recipe to make when you don’t want to go to the store but need to get dinner on the table quickly. The ingredients are healthy too! This recipe is naturally vegan, plant based, gluten free and dairy free!
  • Budget friendly – you can’t get much more budget friendly than beans! This entire recipe cost about $2.09 which is much less expensive than a pound of ground beef or turkey! Great for meatless Mondays or just those days when you are trying to keep to your budget!
Ingredients for taco black beans on marble backdrop.
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Ingredients

  • Black beans – you can use canned black beans or homemade. I typically have a large container of homemade black beans cooked in the instant pot. If you use homemade black beans, the recipe gets even more budget friendly!
  • Tomato paste – this is a pantry staple and really gives a layer of depth to the sauce and helps it taste like it’s been cooking all day.
  • Water – helps to create the sauce. You can use more or less water to create the consistency you want for the sauce. You can also add more water at the end if your beans start to tighten up on you.
  • Spices: Salt, chili powder, ground cumin – these spices help to give the black beans that Mexican or southwestern flavors. You could also add some smoked paprika, garlic powder and red pepper flakes for even more flavor!

How to make black beans for tacos

Start by draining and rinsing the black beans.

Black beans in a mesh strainer.

Add the black beans, tomato paste, ½ cup water, salt and spices. Stir well.

Cook over medium heat, mixture will come up to a simmer and water will start to evaporate quickly. Be sure to stir the mixture well to ensuring all the tomato paste is dissolved and coating the beans. Continue to stir regularly.

Turn off heat when the beans reach your desired consistency (8 minutes for a saucier bean, 10 minutes for a drier black bean). If you find you let the beans get too dry, simply add 2-4 tablespoons of water and stir well, it will quickly get saucy again!

Cast iron full of black beans and seasoning before and after cooking.

Top tips

  • Use a large skillet to make cooking time faster. The water will start to evaporate faster with more surface area. If you try to make these beans in a pot, they will take longer since it will take longer for the water to start to evaporate.
  • Be sure to drain and rinse the canning liquid from the beans. The canning liquid can sometimes be very salty and very starchy, changing the consistency of the beans.
  • These vegan Mexican black beans are meant to be put on tacos and are not very saucy (no one loves sauce dripping down your arm as you try to eat tacos). These seasoned black beans will have a similar consistency as ground turkey or beef after cooking.
  • Want to brighten the flavor even more? Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the end!
  • These are great for meal prep! Double or triple the recipe and store leftovers in the fridge or freezer for tacos anytime!

Other additions

  • Onions and garlic – If you have more time, you can sauté onions and garlic in the pan before adding the beans and other ingredients. This will help to develop even more flavor, but I wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible. If you want that onion flavor but don’t have time to sauté onions, add fresh chopped green onions at the end.
  • Spice – add fresh or pickled jalapeno, chipotle in adobo, crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the recipe to give it a touch of spice. I wrote this recipe to be mild and kid friendly, so I did not include any spice.
Cast iron skillet filled with seasoned black beans, wooden spoon on the side.

How to serve Mexican black beans

What to serve on the side

Creamy cilantro lime slaw

Cilantro lime cauliflower rice

Mexican cauliflower rice

Instant pot yellow rice

Chimichurri Rice

Common questions

What if you don’t have black beans?

You can also make these Mexican inspired beans with pinto beans or white beans. They are equally as delicious and easy!

Seasoned black bean tacos on pink plate.

What if you want saucier beans?

You can choose to drain but not rinse the canned black beans and increase the water from ½ cup to ¾ cup. This will allow the starch from the canning liquid to thicken the sauce as it cooks down.

Can you freeze seasoned black beans for tacos?

Yes! You can freeze these beans for up to 3 months in a freezer safe bag or container. I like to make a large batch and freeze them in single serve portions so that I don’t have to defrost them all at once.

Can you make this recipe from dried beans?

Yes! You would have to first make the black beans in the instant pot or on the stove. When cooking beans on the stove, it’s important that you let them soak in clean water overnight then discard the soaking liquid. If you are making black beans using the instant pot, you don’t have to soak them ahead of time, and they are ready in about 1 hour.

I personally prefer to discard the liquid the beans cooked in. I find that this liquid can contribute to digestion issues and discomfort. If the liquid doesn’t bother you, you can certainly use it. You will want to transfer the cooked beans to the skillet and follow the directions as posted. You will need 3 cups of cooked beans.

You can freeze leftover cooked beans for up to 3 months or use them in other recipes.

White bowl filled with mexican black beans with wooden spoon.

Storage

  • Fridge – store leftover seasoned black beans in a air-tight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • Reheat from the fridge
    • Stove top: reheat in a small skillet with 2-4 tablespoons of water over medium low heat until heated through, 3-5 minutes.
    • Microwave: add about 1 tablespoon of water and microwave on high for 1-1:30 minutes.
  • Freezer – you can also store leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to freeze them in individual servings using Soupercubes. Once frozen, pop them out of the silicone molds and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Be sure to label the container with the name, date and use by date.
    • Reheat from frozen – Note: you can reheat the beans from frozen using the steps below or allow them to defrost on the counter for 30-60 minutes or all day in the fridge, then follow the steps above on reheating from the fridge.
      • Stovetop: From frozen, add 2-4 tablespoons of water to a saucepan with a cover. Cook over medium low heat covered for 5-10 minutes, breaking down the beans with a spoon as they cook.
      • Microwave: Add 1 tablespoon of water and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until defrosted and hot.

Substitutions

  • Black beans – you can use pinto beans or white beans (cannellini, great northern white beans) in place of the black beans. You could even use cooked green/brown lentils!
  • Tomato paste – tomato paste adds so much flavor and a depth of flavor. You could replace the tomato paste with tomato juice (omit the water if you are using tomato juice), tomato sauce (to get the same flavor, you will want to add 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce. This will create a somewhat sweeter recipe, you may need a pinch more salt). You could also use ¼ cup salsa in place of the tomato paste.
  • Spices – if you don’t have chili powder, you can use paprika or smoked paprika. If you don’t have ground cumin, you can use smoked paprika or more chili powder.
Two tacos filled with Mexican black beans on pink plate.

If you love this recipe, try these other black bean recipes

Black Bean Dip

10 Minute Black Bean Soup

Mexican Black Bean Lentil Burgers

5 Ingredient Black Bean Burgers

Cauliflower Black Bean Tacos

Instant Pot Mexican Rice and Beans

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Mexican black beans for tacos in cast iron skillet.

Mexican Black Beans for Tacos

$2.09 Recipe/$0.52 Serving
Making Mexican black beans for tacos is so quick and easy! Just 6 ingredients and less than 10 minutes for dinner on a busy night! This healthy recipe for seasoned black beans is also budget friendly, plant based, vegan and gluten free! These Mexican black beans will quickly become a go-to for meatless meals.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: black beans for tacos, mexican black beans, seasoned black beans
Prep Time: 1 min
Cook Time: 9 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Drain and rinse the black beans using a mesh strainer until they run clean.
  • Add beans, tomato paste, water, salt, chili powder and ground cumin to a large skillet.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly to ensure all the tomato paste is dissolved into the water.
  • Continue to stir occasionally. Cook beans to desired consistency (8-10 minutes). If you find the beans get too dry, add 2-4 tablespoons of water (up to 1/2 cup).
  • Use immediately or store for later in the fridge or freezer.

Notes

Top tips
  • Use a large skillet to make cooking time faster. The water will start to evaporate faster with more surface area. If you try to make these beans in a pot, they will take longer since it will take longer for the water to start to evaporate.
  • Be sure to drain and rinse the canning liquid from the beans. The canning liquid can sometimes be very salty and very starchy, changing the consistency of the beans.
  • These vegan Mexican black beans are meant to be put on tacos and are not very saucy (no one loves sauce dripping down your arm as you try to eat tacos). These seasoned black beans will have a similar consistency as ground turkey or beef after cooking.
  • Want to brighten the flavor? Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the end!
  • These are great for meal prep! Double or triple the recipe and store leftovers in the fridge or freezer for tacos anytime!
Other additions
  • Onions and garlic – If you have more time, you can sauté onions and garlic in the pan before adding the beans and other ingredients. This will help to develop even more flavor, but I wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible. If you want that onion flavor but don’t have time to sauté onions, add fresh chopped green onions at the end.
  • Spice – add fresh or pickled jalapeno, chipotle in adobo, crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the recipe to give it a touch of spice. I wrote this recipe to be mild and kid friendly, so I did not include any spice.
Storage
  • Fridge – store leftover seasoned black beans in a air-tight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • Reheat from the fridge
    • Stove top: reheat in a small skillet with 2-4 tablespoons of water over medium low heat until heated through, 3-5 minutes.
    • Microwave: add about 1 tablespoon of water and microwave on high for 1-1:30 minutes.
  • Freezer – you can also store leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to freeze them in individual servings using Soupercubes. Once frozen, pop them out of the silicone molds and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Be sure to label the container with the name, date and use by date.
    • Reheat from frozen – Note: you can reheat the beans from frozen using the steps below or allow them to defrost on the counter for 30-60 minutes or all day in the fridge, then follow the steps above on reheating from the fridge.
      • Stovetop: From frozen, add 2-4 tablespoons of water to a saucepan with a cover. Cook over medium low heat covered for 5-10 minutes, breaking down the beans with a spoon as they cook.
      • Microwave: Add 1 tablespoon of water and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until defrosted and hot.
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
171
Fat
 
1
g
Carbohydrates
 
31
g
Fiber
 
11
g
Sugar
 
1
g
Protein
 
11
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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