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.

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 amount of ingredients can be approximate so it is a lot easier than baking a cake.

Servings: 8

Ingredients

Chunky Black Beans

  • 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

Mango-Lime Salsa

  • 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
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 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 to taste

Avocados

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Other ingredients

  • 3 large ripe plantains or red “dacca” bananas, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • Shredded romaine lettuce heart or shredded cabbage

Directions

  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 a couple of minutes until fragrant. 
  4. Add the black beans, tomato paste, and a 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.

Mango-lime salsa

  1. Mix all the mango salsa ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust salt and lime.

Avocado mixture

  1. Mash the avocados in a bowl with the lime juice, red pepper flakes and salt.

Plantain/banana prep

  1. Add a little high heat oil (such as sunflower oil) to a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  2. Fry the plantain or banana slices for about a minute on each side until golden brown. Drain them on paper towels.

Tortillas

  1. 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 warm tortillas topped with fried plantain/banana, avocado, and mango salsa finished with shredded lettuce or cabbage. Leftovers make a great filling for an omelette.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Per taco with mango salsa, avocado and plantains

  • Calories: 290
  • Total fat: 11 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 290 mg (does not include added salt)
  • Total carbohydrate: 47 g
  • Dietary fiber: 9 g
  • Sugars: 14 g
  • Protein: 7 g

Contributor

Preston Maring, MD