Tacos should be flavorful and bursting with different textures. The various ingredients should all have their chance to shine, even the black beans. While many people prepare black beans for tacos just by warming them up, there is a lot more you can do with them to make them interesting.
Preparing back beans for tacos can be done a few different ways, but I think the key to good black beans in tacos is to season them well. Everything else is secondary.
I definitely have a preference when it comes to how I prepare my black beans when I am making tacos, and I will share that with you, as well as a few other seasoning ideas that you can use. That way, you can figure out what your favorite one is.
I know not everyone may share my tastes, so I want to give you some options to work with.
How to Cook Canned Black Beans for Tacos
Let’s start with the cooking method. Who wants cold black beans in their tacos? Not me, and probably not you either, so I’ll show you how to cook black beans for tacos so they turn out great.
The method I use for cooking black beans is really simple. You want to drain out about half the liquid from your can of beans, because it has too much liquid there for our purposes.
However, you can use the liquid to cook the beans in so they don’t dry out or burn as they are warming. Pour the beans with half their liquid into a saucepan on the stove and warm on low heat. Add in salt, cumin, and a little garlic powder. As they warm, you can stir the beans to keep them from burning on the bottom.
On low heat, a can of beans should warm in about 4 minutes. Once the beans are hot, they’re done cooking. You can then drain off any excess liquid using a strainer.
How to Make Mashed Black Beans for Tacos
If you don’t want your beans to be runny and you prefer them mashed, you can make them that way instead. Just use the same method I’ve given you above, and then use a fork to mash down the beans.
You may want to season mashed beans a little differently from how you would season the whole beans. I prefer black beans for tacos to be seasoned with taco seasoning mix when they’re mashed. I think it makes them taste more like refried beans, and that’s how I expect my mashed beans to be flavored for tacos.
You could also make a mixed texture bean for your tacos, which would be a combination of mashed beans and whole black beans. Simply pour out half of your cooked black beans and mash up those, and then combine the whole and mashed beans together for a bean dish that has some variety to it.
Mexican black beans for tacos can be made in a number of different ways, including sauteed with chopped garlic cloves and onions. That gives them a lot of strong flavor and a varied texture that’s interesting.
I also like mixing different beans together to make more interesting tacos. Try combining black beans with garbanzo beans, northern beans, and/or Pinto beans. All these work really great for tacos, and you can season them with as little as some salt and pepper and maybe a little chili powder for heat.
How to Make Spicy Black Bean Tacos
What if you want to make your black beans really spicy? For mild spice, I just add a little chili powder.
If you want to turn up the heat, you can add chopped jalapeno peppers and cook them with the beans. You may want to cook them separately if they’re not getting soft enough in the few minutes it takes the beans to heat up. If you want to increase the heat when using jalapeno peppers, be sure to keep the seeds, as they are the spiciest part.
There are a few other options for making your black bean tacos spicy. You can use red pepper flakes, a dash of Tabasco sauce or hot sauce when you make the beans, or banana peppers.
When adding spicy sauce or powder to the beans, be sure to do that before they’re cooked. That will help the flavor combine better. Peppers benefit from being cooked up separately, sauteed in a little butter or cooked in oil until they soften.
These are my favorite methods for making black bean tacos spicy, and there are plenty of other options available. Some taco seasoning mixes contain a little bit of spiciness, so watch for that as you choose your taco seasoning mix.
You could also combine salsa with black beans, choosing a spicy salsa to add a little heat to your dish. Mixing together black beans and salsa creates what’s known as black bean salsa, and it’s a recognized and commonly used ingredient in tacos.
What Goes with Black Beans in Tacos?
If you’re putting black beans in your tacos or burritos, what other ingredients should you be using? Traditionally, black beans are combined with rice and lettuce as well as some cheese and either salsa or taco sauce.
You could leave the rice out completely and double down on the lettuce, adding some red onions for added texture and nutritional value. You can also add a meat to your black bean tacos, and they go really well with pork, ground beef, and chicken.
Don’t forget sauces with your tacos, like Sriracha sauce, salsa, taco sauce, or whatever else suits your fancy. A good sauce will not just add flavor to your taco but also keep it moist and prevent it from tasting too dry.
Be careful about using a sauce that’s really spicy and overdoing it, as you can make your taco unpleasant to eat. If you would like go light on the sauce but you don’t want a dry taco, consider leaving in some of the juices from the black beans.
Just know that they can be kind of runny and can make your taco a little messy.