The life of a Dad who strives to be the best dad possible

Healthy Black Bean Tacos

Healthy Taco RecipeIn my seemingly constant quest to (a) eat healthier and (b) eat less meat, I find myself frequently pondering how to make something I love to eat (e.g., tacos) without what I consider to be a critical ingredient (e.g., chicken in this case).  My goal to eat as healthy as possible is an obvious pursuit but, I don’t attempt to eat less meat in some vain attempt to began vegan.  I also don’t think that eating meat is terribly unhealthy.   Moderation and variety are my goals.  Must some form of meat be present in every single meal?  I say no and, thus, strive to reduce both my consumption of it and my family’s as well.

Sometimes, omitting a “critical” ingredient can be easy, like skipping the chicken in a stir-fry.  One can add enough vegetables to create whatever flavor and texture one desires.  Other times, though, present a more challenging quandary.  Tough to prepare turkey chili without the turkey.  But, I believe there’s always a solution, if one is willing to ponder long enough to find it.

In wanting some healthy tacos, I also wanted to satisfy two big goals.  One, the healthy recipe had to be easy to prepare.  This, to me, meant a prep and cook time of less than twenty minutes.  Given that I was going to start making dinner at 5:30pm, I had to be ready to serve by 6:00pm or I risked a possible rebellion in my home.  The natives would simply not stand for any delays.  And, two, besides a healthy and easy recipe, they had to be tasty.  While I may not be the pickiest eater, I do have to consider the taste buds of my four and five year-olds.  Their palates are untrusting.  If something looks weird or different, I risk total rejection of the meal.  The Boy is probably more open-minded than The Girl, but better to err on the side of keeping everyone happy.  Besides, dinner is more fun if everyone likes what they are eating!

Healthy Tacos

So, with all that in mind, I set about making some healthy (and easy) black bean tacos.  I have made these before, but recently I came across a random recipe that was totally unrelated to black beans, being healthy, easy cooking, and tacos.  I can’t recall what it was or where I found it, but I remembered reading how the author infused the rice with a lime flavor and thinking, “That sounds delicious.  I’ll have to try that.”  Of course, I totally forgot about it until planning for these black bean tacos.  Of course, I wasn’t using rice; I was going to use quinoa.  Would lime-infused quinoa work?  Would the natives be happy?  Who knows but, lime-infused quinoa, combined with veggies and black beans seemed like a certain winner.  (Not to spoil the story, but it was!)  So, here you go and I hope you enjoy these as much as my family and I did!

IngredientsHealthy Taco Recipe

  • Quinoa
  • 3-4 Limes, for zest and juice (and garnishment, if one is so inclined…)
  • 0.5-0.75 Cup of Vegetable Broth
  • Black Beans, rinsed (I prefer the low-sodium or, even better, no salt added variety)
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Green Onions
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Tortillas
  • Olive Oil


1.  Most quinoa recipes call for two cups of water.  I replaced one of those cups with a little more than 1/3 cup (but less than 1/2 cup) of lime juice and the remainder of that cup with the vegetable broth.  Mix that with the other cup of water, bring to boil, and begin to prepare the quinoa according to the directions.  One addition though, about halfway through the typical fifteen minute simmering process, dump in your lime zest and stir.  I used about three large “pinches” (maybe 2-3 teaspoons) but I would err on the side of less as you don’t want the lime flavor to overwhelm everything else; easier to squeeze a lime wedge on an open taco.

Healthy Taco Recipe2.  While the quinoa is simmering, begin to cut your veggies.  For this recipe, I sliced two red and two green peppers and left them raw.  My kids love them and they add a great contrast in both texture and flavor to the quinoa and black bean mixture.  I also sliced about five radishes and I sliced them as thinly as I could without risking the loss of some skin.  I find radishes to be almost tasteless but nicely crunchy and a great visual add to the finished product!  I also chopped about one cup of fresh cilantro and one cup of green onions and set them aside with the other chopped/sliced veggies.

3.  About halfway through the quinoa preparation time, put about 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan, heat to medium, and add the black beans.  Once added, stir to evenly coat and mix the beans and oil.  I heated the beans until the quinoa was finished, about ten minutes.  Most of the beans had begun to “split” from heating and I greatly preferred this heating method to the microwave for sure.

4.  Just before the quinoa is finished, slice the avocado.  I waited until the very end to minimize any browning that might occur on the exposed parts of the avocado slices.  Just like the radishes, I sliced mine as thinly as I could.  Ideally, you have timed everything well and the quinoa is done, the black beans are ready, and your people are drooling!

5.  Slightly heat the tortillas (if you prefer) either in the over, on the stove, or in the microwave, assemble some tacos from your ingredients, serve, and enjoy!  I know we did!

Thanks for reading and please leave any comments, questions, or suggestions below!

Black Bean Tacos

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