Black bean tacos with avocado and mango-lime salsa

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Black bean tacos with avocado and mango-lime salsa

Warmed fresh tortillas are just the beginning. Topped with layers of bright flavors and textures, they make an excellent meal — in this case, plant-based.

The co-founder of Earthbound Farms in the Salinas Valley, Myra Goodman, and her daughter compiled a cookbook of vegan recipes Straight From the Earth. These tacos were inspired by one of their recipes. She called for a black bean puree, but I chose to keep the beans chunky. The plantains in the grocery store were too firm so I used "Dacca" bananas. Who knew these red bananas would taste so good pan-fried in a little sunflower oil? And because I had no fresh mangoes for the salsa, I used frozen mango chunks instead. Sometimes you just have to cook with ingredients from a bag or a box.

From start to finish I hung out in the kitchen for about an hour to put this meal together. I think I could do it in much less time in the future. The number of ingredients can be approximate so it is a lot easier than baking a cake.

Servings: 8


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Generous pinch cayenne
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large, ripe mango, peeled and diced or one bag frozen mango chunks, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lime
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced jalapeño
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or leave this out and offer as garnish)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 large ripe plantains or red “dacca” bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • Shredded romaine lettuce heart or shredded cabbage


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. 
  2. Cook the onion and bay leaves until the onion is soft but not browned. 
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. 
  4. Add the black beans, tomato paste, and half-cup water. Cook until the liquid mostly evaporates. 
  5. Taste and adjust salt and cayenne. 
  6. Remove the bay leaves and either just mash the bean mixture a bit or puree them in a food processor. Mashing was a lot easier with less clean-up.
  7. To make the salsa, mix mango, bell pepper, lime zest, 3 tablespoons lime juice,  jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro (if using) in a bowl. Taste and adjust salt and lime.
  8. Mash the avocados in a bowl with the remaining lime juice and red pepper flakes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Add a little high-heat oil (such as sunflower oil) to a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  10. Fry the plantain or banana slices for about a minute on each side until golden brown. Drain them on paper towels.
  11. Warm your tortillas by your favorite method, either directly on the oven rack at 300 degrees, one at a time in a skillet, or in a tortilla steamer wrapped in a kitchen towel (my favorite method).

Let everyone assemble their own tacos. I suggest a layer of beans on a couple of warm tortillas topped with fried plantain/banana, avocado, and mango salsa finished with shredded lettuce or cabbage. Leftovers make a great filling for an omelet.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Serving size: One taco with mango salsa, avocado and plantains
  • Calories: 290
  • Total fat: 11 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 290 mg
  • Dietary fiber: 9 g
  • Total sugars: 14 g
  • Protein: 7 g