What's inside the taco varies from week to week. I recently made some surprisingly excellent fish tacos (more on those later) or sometimes we go for the old ground beef-cheddar cheese childhood combo. But there's a black bean taco that's become a weekly staple. It's cheap, relatively healthy, and we usually have most of the components on hand, essential for those Friday nights when you're so fried from the week you can't think straight.
Be forewarned: this is not real Mexican food in any sense of the word. The main ingredients: black beans, feta, and pre-shredded coleslaw are about as far away from any authentic taqueria as you can get. This combination might actually sound kind of strange, as it did to me. (The bagged coleslaw really trigged my snobometer.) But something compelled me to try this recipe, from Bon Appetit, and I was shocked by how much I liked it.
I made the tacos again and again, tweaking the recipe a little bit each time. And now, I think I've created the black bean taco gold standard. I swapped soft corn tortillas for crispy hard taco shells, pumped up the flavor of the black beans with red pepper flakes and garlic, and tossed in chunks of avocado for delicious, rich, creaminess. It's a departure from the original recipe, but all the better for it.
Dan and I usually eat these tacos as-is, but if you wanted to make them part of a more elaborate menu, you could serve them as part of a taco buffet with other options, or beefed up with some grilled corn or shrimp skewers on the side. If I could get my hands on mini taco shells, they would be a perfect hors d'oeuvre.
Heavily adapted from Bon Appetit. Dan and I can both eat three or four tacos, so use this recipe as a base and add more or less, depending on your appetite.
(Serves 2 people)
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 limes, juiced
3 cups coleslaw mix
3 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 hard corn tortilla shells (I like to toast them in a 200 degree oven for about 5 minutes)
In a small saute pan, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the drained black beans and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the coleslaw, green onions, cilantro, avocado, and feta. Add the lime juice, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. Gently toss until combined, being careful not to mash the avocado too much.
To assemble the tacos, add a few spoonfuls of black beans to each shell, then top with a good amount of slaw. Serve immediately, with hot sauce if you like.