Zesty bean tacos

A wooden platter of four hard-shell tacos
Recipe credit

Adapted from a recipe contributed by Kristin Lillemo (unpublished; original recipe).

About this recipe

Serving size
1/2 cup
Time to make
15 minutes preparation
Special criteria


  • 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


  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.

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: http://z.umn.edu/preparingbeans.
  • 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.

Nutritional info

Total fat
9 g
Saturated fat
3 g
11 mg
339 mg
Total carbohydrates
53 g
Dietary fiber
11 g
16 g
Total sugar
2 g