This vegetarian baked taco recipe is NEXT LEVEL! Black beans and quinoa combine with a signature taco spice blend for a seriously delicious "meaty" filling. Then they're smothered with cheddar cheese and baked up crispy and crunchy.
You Will Love These
- It's the perfect way to warm up the corn tortilla shells while you melt the cheese! Did you know you're supposed to warm up crispy taco shells before filling them? It seems like a pointless extra step, but it honestly totally changes the flavor and texture of the shells. It also makes them less likely to crack while you're eating them!
- If you haven't tried quinoa before, this is a great recipe to try it in! Quinoa is one of my absolute favorite ways to bulk up any meal - it's loaded with protein and fiber which makes it a great addition to your favorite main dishes, sauces or salads! The spices and beans in these black bean tacos add tons of flavor to the dish and the quinoa gives it that "meaty" texture.
- This baked taco recipe is a great vegetarian option for the meat eaters in your life! This is a wonderful recipe to make for those meat eaters in your life that might want to try eating more plant based meals! The flavors and textures of these tacos will be familiar which means they're a great way to make that transition into eating more vegetarian meals while enjoying your favorite dishes!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Olive Oil - I like a good organic, cold-pressed olive oil, but you can use veggie oil or whatever you have on-hand.
- Red Onion - Red onions add nice color to these quinoa black bean tacos, but you can use whatever onions you have on-hand. Yellow onions are the best flavor substitute.
- Spices - Cumin and chili powder are my go to spices for this recipe. Cumin is a staple flavor in tacos, but you can substitute coriander in a pinch. If you need to turn down the heat a bit, you can use paprika instead of chili powder. If you're out both just use a packet of taco seasoning from the store!
- Chiles in Adobo - Chiles in adobo are dried peppers that have been rehydrated and packed in tomato puree, vinegar, and spices. If you forgot to grab a can (or are cutting down the heat) feel free to omit or try a can of drained green chiles in their place.
- Garlic Powder - Garlic powder blends into this taco "meat" well, but you can use equal amounts of granulated or freshly minced garlic.
- Black Beans - You could use pinto beans, kidney beans, or even chickpeas in place of the black beans in this recipe! Use whatever beans your family likes or what you have on hand - the flavors will remain the same!
- Quinoa - Always remember to give your quinoa a good rinse before cooking. The natural saponin coating can make cooked quinoa taste like soap, which definitely puts a damper on taco night.
- Lime Juice - Fresh lime juice is, of course, brighter and more flavorful than bottled, but if you’re out of limes, a splash of bottled juice will do.
- Shredded Cheese - A bag of pre-shredded cheese will do if you’re in a hurry, but you’ll get a richer, smoother cheese melt if you avoid the preservatives and anti-caking agents in pre-shredded bags and grab a block of cheddar to shred at home.
- Crispy Taco Shells - I like a crunch with these vegetarian bean tacos, but use whatever tortillas your family prefers. You can use soft corn or flour tortillas, or even these cutie patootie little street taco tortilla shells too! They're smaller than a standard tortilla, so you'll get more, mini tacos with those.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, along with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
Add cumin, chili powder, chiles in adobo, garlic powder, black beans, quinoa, lime juice, ½ cup water and stir to combine.
Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more water if necessary. At this point, it should have a similar texture and consistency as regular taco meat.
Place crispy taco shells in a 9x13 baking dish or casserole dish. Divide taco meat evenly between the taco shells.
Divide cheese evenly between the taco shells.
Bake for 4-6 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Top with all your favorites - lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, queso fresco, jalapeno, and cilantro.
- It's super easy to make this baked taco recipe vegan! Just use vegan cheese and sour cream!
- If you have serious meat eaters in your family, try mixing this black bean and quinoa taco "meat" with seasoned ground beef! Brown a pound of ground beef (or ground turkey) on the stove and add 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1-2 teaspoons chiles in adobo and a splash of water. Then combine the seasoned beef mixture with the black bean and quinoa recipe below. This helps make the whole "quinoa tacos" idea a bit more digestible for your carnivorous friends and family!
- Ready to switch up your favorite taco toppings? Just a few minutes is all that it takes to put together a creamy avocado sauce, 5 minute blender salsa, or a tangy cilantro lime slaw!
Make Ahead, Storage, Freezing, and Reheating
- Make Ahead: This black bean taco "meat" is perfect for a make ahead meal! Prep it over the weekend and enjoy vegetarian tacos whenever you want! Just wait to fill the taco shells until you're ready to bake them so they don't get soggy.
- Storage: Store leftover black bean taco filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Freezing: Freeze leftover vegetarian taco "meat" in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.
- Reheating: Reheat black bean taco "meat" in a large sauté pan over medium heat, stirring until warmed through. You may want to add a bit of water or olive oil to the pan so that the filling doesn't stick to the pan.
I prefer not to call foods healthy or unhealthy. But black beans are a great addition to your diet, and a good default meat-substitute! Black beans are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and protein.
You can spice up black beans by simply simmering them with your favorite spices. We're using chili powder and chiles in adobo to add some spice to this black bean taco recipe, but you can also use cayenne pepper, diced jalapenos, etc.
Easy Vegetarian Recipes
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Black Bean Tacos
This vegetarian baked taco recipe is NEXT LEVEL! Black beans and quinoa combine with a signature taco spice blend for a seriously delicious "meaty" filling. Then they're smothered with cheddar cheese and baked up crispy and crunchy. Add a hearty helping of your favorites - Pico de Gallo, guacamole and plenty of sour cream - and dinner is done!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 10 tacos 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stove Top + Oven
- Cuisine: Mexican/American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1-2 teaspoons chiles in adobo
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1.5 cups cooked quinoa (½ cup uncooked)
- juice of ½ a lime
- ½ - ¾ cup water
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 10 crispy taco shells
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- shredded lettuce
- sour cream
- queso fresco
- sliced jalapeno
- fresh chopped cilantro
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
- Add onion, along with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add cumin, chili powder, chiles in adobo, garlic powder, black beans, quinoa, lime juice, ½ cup water and stir to combine.
- Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more water if necessary. At this point it should have a similar texture and consistency as regular taco meat.
- Place crispy taco shells in a 9x13 pan.
- Divide taco meat evenly between the taco shells.
- Divide cheese evenly between the taco shells.
- Bake for 4-6 minutes.
- Top with all your favorites - lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, queso fresco, jalapeno and cilantro.
- It's super easy to make this recipe vegan! Just use vegan cheese and sour cream!
- If you have serious meat eaters in your family, try mixing this black bean and quinoa taco "meat" with seasoned ground beef! Brown a pound of ground beef on the stove and add 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1-2 teaspoons chiles in adobo and a splash of water. Then combine the seasoned ground beef with the black bean and quinoa recipe below. This helps make the whole "quinoa tacos" idea a bit more digestible for your carnivorous friends and family!
- Ready to step up the toppings? Just a few minutes is all that it takes to put together a creamy avocado sauce or a tangy cilantro lime slaw!
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 473
- Sugar: 1.8 g
- Sodium: 635.6 mg
- Fat: 19.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 60.3 g
- Fiber: 11.6 g
- Protein: 17 g
- Cholesterol: 11.5 mg
Keywords: black bean tacos, black bean taco recipe, vegetarian tacos with black beans
Hi Kylie!! This has become a go to at our house but I want to make it for a lunch at work to share with a group. Isnthere a way to do this in the crockpot that won't be dried out?
Great question, Kristen! If I were going to bring this in a crockpot, I'd add a splash of veggie broth to the pot from time to time to keep it from drying out. Also, be sure to keep the crockpot on low or warm since you don't need it to actually cook and just stay warm. You may want to add a pinch of salt and pepper each time you add broth as well. Hope that helps!
These were SO delicious!!
This is a fabulous recipe! So easy and absolutely delicious!! I like spicy so up’d the chili’s, but that was my only change.
Do the taco shells get soggy when baked assembled? I’ve always toasted the empty shells before assembling. Can’t wait to try your recipe! Thanks!
Good question! I have a huge aversion to soggy food 🙂 so I always do a lot of testing to make sure that nothing gets soggy! There isn't much moisture or liquid that is released in the taco "meat" so the shells don't get soggy! It's also a super quick bake time so it's not like they're sitting in there for long.
Hi! I am making these tonight and was wondering how does the 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa cook? While it bakes? Thanks!
The quinoa is cooked. Here is how it's listed in the recipe card: 1.5 cups cooked quinoa (½ cup uncooked). You'll need to cook 1/2 a cup of quinoa to create 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa. Hope that makes sense! 🙂
First recipe we tried when we went vegetarian - now my husband requests these over any kind of meat tacos! Delicious!
I LOVE IT! I swear these are better than traditional ground beef tacos 🙂 I'm so glad that you and your husband enjoyed these tacos! Thank you for leaving a review - I really appreciate it 🙂
This was incredibly easy and tasty! Will definitely repeat. We used the filling in soft corn tortillas and burritos. My kids weren't terribly excited about the quinoa, so next time I'll use brown rice.
I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe, Erin! Brown rice could be a great swap for the quinoa - good idea! Thank you for leaving a review. I really appreciate it 🙂
Great looking recipe, but always curious about caloric value. Serves 10, so 1 taco is almost 500 cal?
That is correct, Maggie! Honestly, I only put the nutrition facts on my recipes because Google likes it. If you could see the calorie count of the tacos at your favorite taco joint I'm guessing you'd be very surprised at how high in calories those are. These tacos are loaded with tons of fiber and protein that comes from REAL food. Not to mention a healthy dose of cheese 😉 Plus, one taco is super filling. I don't worry about calorie content in my recipes. I focus on using whole ingredients and creating delicious meals.
Hi! This recipe looks so good. I’m trying it out. I didn’t cook the quinoa prior and I saw that I add 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa to the pot how long do you cook the mixture if the quinoa wasn’t cooked already?
Please let me know.
Hi Lauren! You'll need to cook the quinoa BEFORE adding it to the rest of the mixture. There isn't enough liquid from the other ingredients to cook the quinoa in with everything else. You'll need to cook the quinoa according to its package directions. 1/2 a cup of uncooked quinoa will yield 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa. I hope that helps. Thanks!
Do you think the quinoa and beans could be frozen after cooked and cooked to use as an easy meal prep option?
I think that you could definitely try freezing this vegetarian taco "meat" afterward. Generally, beans and quinoa both freeze well so I don't think there'd be any problem with that. Let me know how it goes if you do end up trying it! 🙂
Do you cook the quinoa prior to adding in?
Yes! The recipe calls for 1.5 cups of COOKED quinoa (which for reference is 1/2 a cup of uncooked).
Hello, just stumbled across your recipe looking for vegetarian options for my 12 year old that is wanting to go vegetarian. My question, as she and I do not do spicy at all, is can I omit the chilies in adobo and still come out with a successful taco "meat"? Or maybe subtitute mild green chilies? Thanks!!
Yes - you could definitely skip the chiles in adobo or add milk green chiles in their place and you'll still end up with a delicious vegetarian taco meat! Great question, Amy!
Hi! Is there a brand of quinoa that you prefer for this recipe? Thanks, and can't wait to try it!
I like to use Eileen's - but any brand will work great!
Great recipe! Super yummy. We just swapped out real cheese with plant-based cheese to make it vegan. ?❤️?
Great idea! SO glad that you enjoyed this recipe, Codi. Thanks so much for leaving a review 🙂
I was wondering if I make a batch and freeze it for another time, will it freeze ok?
I think the black bean filling would freeze very well, yes! I would not freeze the assembled tacos, however, just the filling. Hope that helps!
When you say chiles in adobo should I look for a specific brand and I'm just using the chiles correct, not the sauce?
La Costena is my preferred brand. Here's a link that might help you decide which brand to choose: https://www.kroger.com/p/la-costena-chipotle-peppers-in-adobo-sauce/0007639700407. Great question!
I saw I.Q.’s question about just using the chiles (not the sauce) and I was wondering the same thing. What was the answer to that? Can’t wait to try!
I am so sorry - I just re-read the question and realized that I didn't really answer it! I like to buy the diced chiles in adobo (you can always dice them up yourself too), but YES I do include the diced chiles AND the sauce.
These were awesome! Family said they were better than ones with meat. Definitely making it into our rotation!
WOOHOO! I love to hear that!! It's nice to find a meatless meal that the whole family enjoys 🙂 Thanks for leaving a review, Cassie!
BEST FREAKIN TACOS!
made mine vegan and didn’t tell the family (they assume they’ll hate it when they know it’s all plant based) but they all came back for seconds and THIRDS!
Thank you for this recipe?
Yayyyyy! I'm so glad you and the fam enjoyed this recipe, Hanna! I find it's best not to tell them it's vegan right away also 😉 Thanks so much for leaving a review - I really appreciate it!