Bean and cheese tacos garnished with chopped cilantro and served with a side of salsa.

Bean and Cheese Tacos 6 Simple Ingredients

Looking for a delectable and effortless meal? These bean and cheese tacos are a mouthwatering delight made with just six simple ingredients, including canned beans, cheese, onion, salsa, coleslaw mix (or cabbage or lettuce), and tortillas.

For plant-based diets, switching to vegan cheese offers an equally tasty alternative.

This recipe promises maximum flavor with minimal effort, perfect for busy nights or impromptu gatherings. These bean and cheese tacos will impress with their simplicity and taste, celebrating the joy of cooking and eating!

Why This Works

  • A complete and filling meal with carb, fat, and 27 grams of protein per serving
  • Short ingredient list
  • Ingredients include canned beans, prepared salsa, pre-shredded coleslaw, and pre-shredded cheese for convenience
  • No special cooking equipment required
  • Customizable with optional spices and other ingredients such as avocado and cilantro
  • Takes less than 30 minutes to make

Ingredients and Nutrition

Ingredients for bean and cheese tacos: canned black beans, shredded cheese, tortillas, shredded cabbage, salsa, and onion.

Canned black beans

When it comes to convenience and healthiness, canned beans are a true kitchen superstar for this bean and cheese taco recipe.

Unlike dried beans that require soaking and extended cooking times, canned beans are ready to use right out of the can, saving you precious time and effort in the kitchen.

This bean and cheese tacos recipe uses canned black beans but you can also use pinto beans or kidney beans.

Along with peas and lentils, beans are part of the legume family. Legumes are inexpensive, low-fat, and nutrient-rich, providing a variety of essential nutrients, including the following [1]:

  • Protein: A macronutrient that serves as the building block for muscles, tissues, and cells.
  • Fiber: A type of indigestible carbohydrate found in plant-based foods that promotes digestive health and helps regulate bowel movements.
  • Iron: An important mineral involved in producing hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells responsible for oxygen transportation throughout the body.
  • Folate: An essential vitamin for proper growth and development. It’s especially important during pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects.

Additionally, legume consumption may help lower blood cholesterol and sugar levels, according to research [1].

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommendations and the DASH (dietary approach to stop hypertension or blood pressure) diet both encourage the consumption of legumes.

The guidelines recommend approximately 3 cups of legumes per week, while the DASH diet suggests having 4 to 5 half-cup servings of legumes weekly. [1]

Shredded cheese

Shredded cheese not only imparts heartiness, protein, and rich flavor but also saves you time with its ready-to-use convenience.

With the freedom to select from a variety of cheese options, including Monterrey Jack, cheddar, and Mexican blend, you can customize your bean and cheese tacos to suit your taste.

Go vegan if you’d like and opt for plant-based, dairy-free cheese.

Salsa

When it comes to adding a burst of flavor to these bean and cheese tacos, store-bought salsa takes the spotlight as a fantastic and convenient ingredient.

With its balanced blend of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices, salsa effortlessly elevates the taste of any recipe it’s added to.

Not only does it save you time in the kitchen, but salsa also offers an array of nutrients and antioxidants such as the following [2]:

  • Vitamin A: An essential vitamin that supports cell growth, eye health, and immune function.
  • Vitamin C: An antioxidant that protects the body’s cells against free radial damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules produced during metabolism and exposure to environmental factors like pollution and UV radiation. Vitamin C is also needed for collagen synthesis and provides structure to blood vessels, skin, and tendons.
  • Lycopene: An antioxidant that may protect against cancer.

Onion

Onion’s earthy flavor complements the other ingredients in this bean and cheese taco recipe.

You can use yellow, white, or red onion. Red onion is used in this recipe because that’s what I had on hand.

To cut down prep time, opt for pre-chopped onions.

Onions contain quercetin, a compound with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. Many fruits and vegetables contain quercetin, with onions containing the highest amount. [3]

Chopped lettuce, cabbage, or coleslaw

Add veggies to these tacos with chopped lettuce, cabbage, or plain coleslaw (just the slaw without mayo). The crisp texture complements the soft tacos and hearty bean filling.

For simplicity in this recipe, I opt for plain coleslaw, readily available in the fresh produce section next to salad kits. Using coleslaw saves time by eliminating the need to chop cabbage or lettuce separately, making the preparation even more convenient.

You can also use other leafy greens like spinach or kale.

Tortillas

Use six-inch flour or corn tortillas for this recipe. These soft and pliable tortillas serve as the ideal base to hold the delicious bean and cheese filling.

Optional ingredients

Add more heat if you’d like with the addition of any of these spices as you cook the beans:

  • Chili powder
  • Taco seasoning
  • Southwest blend seasoning
  • Chili lime seasoning

Enhance the flavors and textures with these optional condiments:

  • Avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeno
  • Sour cream

Steps

To begin, dice the onion and chop the lettuce or cabbage leaves into thin strips. Again, if you want convenience, go for a bag of coleslaw mix and pre-chopped onions. Set these aside and cook the beans.

Beans, onions, seasoning, and salsa cooking.

In a medium-sized pan, heat approximately one tablespoon of butter or cooking oil over medium heat. Add drained and rinsed beans, chopped onions, and any spicy seasoning you’d like to add. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.

Next, stir in the salsa and cook until the liquid has evaporated. This will take about 7 to 8 more minutes. Mash the beans with your cooking utensil or a spoon or fork.

As the bean mixture simmers with salsa, the liquid will gradually evaporate, resulting in a thickened filling that clings to the tortillas when you assemble them. It cooks similarly to the bean filling used in this breakfast burritos recipe.

You may top the cooked bean filling now with shredded cheese or add the cheese at the final step when you assemble the tacos.

Cooked bean filling for tacos.

Heat the tortillas while the bean filling is cooking. Prepare the tortillas effortlessly by microwaving or stove-cooking them. You can also pop them in an air fryer if you have one.

Ways to heat tortillas

  • For the microwave method, wrap the stack of tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds until they become warm and pliable.
  • To use the stove method, heat a dry nonstick skillet or pan (no oil) over medium heat. Warm one tortilla at a time for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, until they turn slightly brown and flexible. You can use tongs to flip the tortilla for even heating.
  • Alternatively, if you have an air fryer, you can heat the tortillas at about 350 to 375℉ for a couple of minutes until they become warm and ready to use.

Lastly, assemble the tacos. Transfer the heated tortillas to a plate and add the coleslaw or shredded cabbage or lettuce, bean filling, and shredded cheese.

Add salsa to the tacos or on the side, if you’d like. Enjoy with other optional condiments such as cilantro, avocado, guacamole, or jalapeno. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Bean and cheese tacos topped with cilantro and served with a side of salsa.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are bean and cheese tacos healthy?

Yes, bean and cheese tacos can be a healthy choice, especially with the ingredients used in this recipe.

Beans provide a good source of protein and fiber, while onions, salsa, and optional veggies add valuable nutrients and flavors.

However, it’s essential to note that one meal, like these tacos, doesn’t alone constitute a healthy diet.

Healthy eating is open to interpretation. It’s also about overall dietary patterns, incorporating a variety of nutrient-rich foods, balanced meals, and portion control.

So, while enjoying these tacos, remember that what makes a diet “healthy” can vary for individuals and cultures, and it’s crucial to adopt sustainable, long-term eating habits that support your specific nutritional needs, health goals, and preferences.

How many calories are 2 bean and cheese tacos?

This recipe is for 2 servings at 3 tacos per serving. Three tacos, without any condiments, provides 619 calories. So, 2 bean and cheese tacos supply 413 calories. Please note that nutrition information is an estimate based on the ingredients used. 

Can bean and cheese tacos be stored in the freezer?

Yes, these bean and cheese tacos can be stored in the freezer.

To freeze them, cook and assemble the tacos without any optional toppings like leafy greens, coleslaw, avocado, or sour cream, as these may not freeze well.

Place the tacos in a freezer-safe airtight container or wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then store them in a freezer-safe resealable bag.

Properly stored, tacos with a cooked bean filling can stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months [4].

When you’re ready to enjoy the tacos, simply reheat them in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

Check out these other bean recipes:

Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad 9 Ingredients

Breakfast Burritos without Eggs

Bean and Cheese Tacos 6 Ingredients

Johna Burdeos, RD
Bean and Cheese Tacos are a mouthwatering delight made with just six simple ingredients: canned black beans, onion, salsa, cheese, coleslaw (or chopped greens), and tortillas. What's more, it can be easily transformed into a vegan-friendly meal by using your favorite plant-based cheese or omit the cheese.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 619 kcal

Equipment

  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 chef knife
  • 1 medium frying pan
  • 1 wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 15.5 ounces canned black beans, drained and rinsed (1 can)
  • small onion, diced (or ¼ large onion)
  • cup salsa
  • 1 tablespoon butter or cooking oil
  • 6 six-inch corn or flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped leafy greens such as lettuce, cabbage, or spinach (or use plain coleslaw)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese such as Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, or Mexican blend

Optional: For more heat, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of spicy seasoning such as chili powder, taco seasoning, or southwest seasoning blend to the bean mixture. Optional toppings: chopped avocado, guacamole, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, and jalapeno.

Instructions
 

  • Open the canned beans, drain, and rinse in a colander. Set aside.
  • Chop the onion and chop the lettuce or cabbage into thin strips. Set aside. For convenience, buy pre-chopped onion and a bag of plain pre-shredded coleslaw (prepared without mayonnaise).
  • Heat the butter or cooking oil over medium heat in a medium-sized pan. Add the beans, onion, and any spicy seasoning you'd like to use. Cook, stirring occasionally for a couple of minutes. Add the salsa and cook for 7 to 8 more minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing the beans with the cooking utensil or the back of a fork or spoon as they cook with the salsa. The liquid of the salsa will evaporate, and the bean mixture will thicken. A thickened bean mixture will stay in place in the small tortillas.
  • Once the liquid has evaporated from the bean mixture, remove the pan from the heat. You can top the beans with shredded cheese at this point or add the shredded cheese when you assemble the tacos.
  • Heat the tortillas either in the microwave, on the stove, or in an air fryer. The microwave method is the fastest.
    For the microwave method, wrap the stack of tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, until the tortillas become warm and pliable.
    To cook on the stove, heat a dry nonstick skillet or pan (no oil) over medium heat. Place one tortilla at a time on the hot skillet and warm for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, until they become slightly browned and flexible. You can also use tongs to flip the tortilla and ensure even heating.
    If you have an air fryer, you can also pop the tortillas in there for a couple of minutes at about 350 to 375℉.
  • Transfer the heated tortillas to a plate and assemble the tacos. Start with the coleslaw (or chopped leafy greens) and top with the bean filling. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Top with salsa, if desired. Serve with optional ingredients such as chopped cilantro, avocado, and jalapeno. Enjoy!

Notes

*Nutrition information is an estimate based on the ingredients used. 
Keyword 5 ingredient, bean and cheese, beans, tacos

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