black bean tacos with zucchini salsa

It’s funny when inspiration strikes, or where a good idea finds you…The other day I was sitting at the Discount Tire store, waiting on my car…bored out of my mind. Just me and my phone. After every last email had been replied to and every last tweet read, I went to my go-to time-passing app, Epicurious. They aren’t paying me to write this, but I love this app. It saves me every time… dentist offices, bad movies, you name it…

I stopped on this zucchini salsa recipe which completely intrigued me. How could zucchini possibly become a replacement for tomatillos? I don’t know, but I was convinced enough to give it a try (with a few tweaks).

The base of the salsa is zucchini, onions, cilantro and lime juice…I mixed in some chopped avocado and it became something special.

The salsa is on the tangy side, so I cooked up my black beans in a salty smokey way to counterbalance… cumin, coriander, paprika & some cayenne. I have swiss chard growing like crazy in my garden, and I had one leek… so I did a little green-saute to continue the green theme of this taco.

With the leftovers (you might actually want to make extra salsa so you have some leftover), I made breakfast tacos the next morning. Same stuff… add eggs.

serves 3

6 tortillas
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese

chard & leek saute
4 or 5 large green chard leaves, chopped, including stems
drizzle of olive oil
1 small clove garlic
1 leek, sliced thin

black beans
1 can (or 1.5 cups) black beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4-1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon corriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinches of salt, to taste

zucchini-avocado salsa: adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2010, Ian Knauer
1 zucchini
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion
zest from 1 lime and juice from 2 limes (unless your first lime was super juicy)
pinch of cayenne or 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 small avocado, diced
salt & pepper, to taste


tortillas: over an open gas flame, or in a skillet, heat each tortilla until a slight char forms. Set aside, keep warm in foil or a towel.

black beans: heat beans in a medium sauce pan, add all other ingredients, simmer for a few minutes on low. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Remove from heat, set aside, cover to keep warm

chard & leeks: in a small skillet, saute with olive oil, garlic and a pinch of salt until just wilted (1-2 mins). Set aside.

zucchini-avocado salsa: Mix all ingredients (except avocado) in a food processor. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking – salt, lime, sweetness… chop avocado and mix in. Taste and adjust again.

Assemble tacos with cotija cheese (or omit if vegan). Best served with margaritas.

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Bev Weidner from on said:

    Holy yeah this is totes up my alley. I’m dying!

  2. Since moving to the Netherlands, I’ve missed Mexican food TERRIBLY — this is exactly the sort of simple, fresh fix that helps get me out of my self-pity. (:

  3. ileana from on said:

    These tacos and those tortillas look fantastic. Loving the extra pictures on this post!

  4. Kelly from on said:

    These tacos look amazing! I have to admit, I eat black bean tacos several times a week – it’s my quick and easy meal that I don’t ever get tired of. I really love the idea of using chard, and adding raw zucchini to the guacamole/salsa is a great idea.

  5. cassie from on said:

    I would love to munch on these for lunch today. LOVE it!

  6. Julia from on said:

    We got our tires from Discount Tires too, funny!
    These look wonderful! SO flavorful and fresh.

  7. Sara from on said:

    So simply perfect. Love a good veggie taco and what a perfect spot for some eggs too!

  8. alison from on said:

    These look amazing! My mouth is watering. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Eileen from on said:

    Hmm, intriguing! I actually have some zucchini kicking around at home, and no plan for using them–I guess I’d better go find an avocado!

  10. Mena from menamtz on said:

    Me mueeeeero quiero comer toooodo lo que preparas ya!!!! y estos tacos esta noche estaran seguro en la mesa de mi casa.

    Saludos desde Venezuela.

    I just love the picts, the idea and all the green!

  11. JenB on said:

    what should I substitute for cotija cheese if it’s not available where I live? thanks, can’t wait to make this… hopefully tomorrow :)

    • jeanine from on said:

      Ricotta salata or feta… or really any cheese you like on tacos… shredded jack or mozzarella would be fine too.

  12. I am so so smitten with this recipe, Jeanine! Zucchini salsa… genius.

  13. Courtney Jones from on said:

    What a delicious looking plate! Mexican food is something I crave constantly. Cumin, lime, and avocado could sustain me for life! *hah* Cannot wait to try the salsa. Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Marie from on said:

    Oh these tacos look absolutely irresistible! And I absolutely love the idea of putting an egg on it the next morning. Definitely added to my “to-make” list, I can’t wait to enjoy them at home!
    P.S. Who needs meat when vegetarian looks so good?

  15. Yum! This looks so delicious. We’ve been on a taco kick lately, gotta put this one into rotation.

  16. ChaCha on said:

    Just made these for lunch today. Only substitution was crumbled queso fresco instead of cotija. Absolutely delicious!!

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks for sharing!

  17. Nicole Franzen from on said:

    um yes, I will be trying this! love tacos and the idea of doing a hearty flavorful black bean in substitute for meat. We eat tons of black beans, avocado etc in our house. nom.

  18. rachel from on said:

    This looks wonderful! That app has also saved me from twiddling my thumbs and twirling my hair many a time. Can’t wait to give this a try! Gorgeous photos by the way. Love your blog!

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks rachel!

  19. Carrie from on said:

    Just made this for dinner – so delicious! I used a whole jalapeno for the salsa and used feta because I couldn’t find cojita at the store. The flavors are awesome, I will definitely make this again :)

    • jeanine from on said:

      Thanks for sharing Carrie! Glad you liked it…

  20. Annabel on said:

    What can I use as a substitute for the chard?

    • jeanine from on said:

      any greens you like… sauteed spinach or kale… or uncooked mixed salad greens, or (also uncooked or only slightly wilted) arugula. Whatever you like or have easily available to you! Or you can skip them altogether…

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  22. Cassie on said:

    I made this salsa last night to save me time on tonight’s dinner and my husband wouldn’t stop “taste testing” for me…he suggested we skip dinner and just snack on salsa. Can’t wait to try the whole shebang tonight!

  23. Amy on said:

    Just got done making these. Delish! We didn’t have avocado on hand so we used 1/2 peach instead. We added a red pepper and a tomatillo. Thank you.

  24. Gene Cox on said:

    I was looking for something a little unusual for brunch today and tried these. They were really good. Somehow they matched the gloomy grey weather outside, making it a better day.

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  27. David Miller from on said:

    Oh! I can imagine how summery the flavors in this must be!

  28. Elizabeth on said:

    I made these tonight and served with an ear of corn per person. How delicious it is! Thank you so much.

  29. Sabrina from on said:

    I’m in love with your website! Amazing pictures make me feel so hungry.

  30. John Evans from on said:

    Great,I love it.It very delicious

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