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Extension > Family > Live healthy, live well > Healthy bodies > Eat smart > The recipe box > Zesty bean tacos

The recipe box

bean tacos

Zesty bean tacos

Make these tasty meatless tacos using cooked, dried beans. Beans are a great protein source and cost a fraction of the cost of meat.

Number of servings: 10
Serving size: 1/2 cup

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16 ounces dried pinto beans

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, minced

4 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 cup water

20 corn tortillas shells

2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded

1 cup shredded cheese


Time needed: 15 minutes preparation; 1-4 hours wait time; 20 minutes cook time

  1. Prepare dried beans according to package directions. (See recipe link in “Tips and Variations.” Once beans are cooked, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion for 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the cooked beans, cumin, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and water. Add additional water, if needed, to reach desired consistency.
  4. Stir well and heat until simmering. Remove from heat and fill taco shells with bean mixture. Top with lettuce and cheese. Serve.

Nutritional information

Calories 350
Total Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 11 mg
Sodium: 339 g
Total Carbohydrate: 53 g
Dietary Fiber: 11 g
Total Sugar: 2 g
Protein: 16 g

Allergens: Dairy, possibly wheat (check tortilla package)

Tips and variations

To cook the dried beans, follow the instructions for the quick hot soak or overnight soak method found on Preparing Dried Beans and Whole Dry Peas (PDF).

You can substitute 5-6 cups of canned beans (about 3 15-ounce cans), rinsed and drained, for the dried and cooked beans.

This recipe can be served over rice or salad, or in burritos.

To lower the fat, try a low-fat cheese.

Top with any of your favorite taco toppings. Try fresh tomatoes, avocadoes, diced onion, salsa, cilantro, or chopped peppers.


This was adapted from a recipe contributed by Kristin Lillemo (unpublished; original recipe).

Related resources

Chopping, Dicing, or Mincing Onions, Shallots, and Garlic (PDF) — Get tips for the right way to cut these staple vegetables.

Pinto beans beef tacos — Use a savory combination of beans, beef, and seasonings for a delicious taco filling. This recipe serves 12...think about trying it at your next family gathering!

Mexi rice — Bake up a batch of this cheesy Mexican-styled rice. It is tastier and healthier than store-bought versions.

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