Black beans end up being a mainstay of a healthy plant-based diet. They are highly available, cheap, and a good source of protein if on a meat-free diet. Canned black beans are perfectly fine to cook with but I prefer to soak a couple of cups overnight then cook with a few herbs like thyme an bay leaf (but no salt) until “al dente” for use during the week. Invariably one of the uses is as the base for meat-free taco.
If using canned black beans, drain and rinse. Cook the black beans in enough water to cover them until very soft. Adjust water to keep them from moist. Drain excess water and transfer to blender. Add one 7 ounce canned chilpotle pepper salsa, pinch of salt, 1 tsp olive oil and a couple ounces of water into the blender. Blend until mushy but not watery. Add water if needed to help them blend.
Separately cook 1/3 red onion, 1/2 red pepper, salt and pepper in any vegetable oil until soft.
The whole wheat tortilla is probably the most important ingredient. It is the source of much of the flavor and where most of the calories come from so you might as well but a little effort into getting something good. I go with either local, handmade ones from a small Mexican grocery or the Maria-Ricardo “FiberRich” variety that are only 45 calories. Admittedly the Mexican deli ones are heavier and tastier but higher in carbohydrate calories. Whatever type of tortilla you use be sure to toast it on an iron griddle or skillet. All of these taste HORRIBLE uncooked, you MUST heat/grill them. Also – you must use them hot and fresh or else they are hard cardboard well cooled. I find whole wheat tortillas more flavorful hot off the griddle but far less forgiving than white flour ones when cold. I heat these up on-the-fly on a cast iron griddle while my guests create their own from a tray of toppings. I do not recommend grilling the tortillas ahead of time.
Now that the warm ingredients are done, begin assembly.
toast ONE SIDE of whole tortilla on the griddle,
on the cooked side, slather on black bean/chilpotle pepper blend,
onion and red pepper mix,
store bought guacamole (Whole Foods’ is pretty good),
store bought salsa,
fresh green onion tops (the green part) and cilantro, then a squirt of fresh lime,
fold over the filled tortilla and toast the outside on the griddle to give it the traditional taco shape
Even better if you make your own guacamole and salsa but a lot more work and I am not sure it will make the taco significantly better. OK, freshly made salsa would be nice if you have the time. If you have them, fresh avocado sliced can be used instead of the guacamole. Variations and additions are endless and you will never miss the meat.
If you are careful with the use of oil, and depending on the tortilla used, these can be only 170 calories each. Nutritional breakdown is: