For 30 years, Alex thought he didn’t like Mexican food. Then we went to a wedding in Napa Valley and the morning after there was a fabulous homemade Mexican brunch, complete with guava mimosas and a woman pressing fresh tortillas. Alex was converted. He realized that he actually loved authentic Mexican flavors. What he didn’t love was the goopy sour cream and rivers of melted cheese that all too often cover them up.
But since then, I have to admit that I haven’t cooked much Mexican food at home. When we lived in Brooklyn, there were literally three taquerias within walking distance from our apartment. Why would I slave in the kitchen when a vegan kimchi burrito bowl from Kimchi Grill was a baseball throw away? (True story: we once ordered delivery on a rainy and extremely lazy night, and they laughed at us.
Now that we’re in the suburbs, good Mexican food is much harder to come by. I’ve started to experiment more on my own. These black bean tacos are almost as easy as ordering delivery. You can make the filling a few days in advance and then just reheat it before dinner. I like corn tortillas, but use flour tortillas or hard taco shells if you prefer. Toppings are limited only by your imagination. I like thinly sliced red onion, fresh cilantro, chopped tomatoes, and avocado.
Easy Black Bean Tacos
Makes 4 servings
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
Corn tortillas, sliced red onion, diced tomatoes, avocado, and fresh cilantro, for serving
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chili, cumin, and a big pinch of salt and pepper and stir to coat. Add the black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes with their juices, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend very briefly, until some of the beans are pureed but most are intact and the mixture is chunky. (Alternatively, blend 1 cup of the mixture in a blender and then stir it back into the pot.)
Serve with the tortillas, red onion, diced tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.