Black Bean Tacos with Zucchini Salsa

Healthy beans & greens tacos and a creamy avocado-zucchini salsa make a crowd-pleasing spring or summer dinner. Vegan. Gluten-free option.

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, with 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 sauté 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.

Salsa adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2010, Ian Knauer.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Black Bean Tacos with Zucchini Salsa

Serves: 3, 2 tacos each
For the zucchini-avocado salsa:
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • Zest from 1 lime and juice from 2 limes (unless your first lime was super juicy)
  • Pinch cayenne or 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
For the black beans:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can black beans (1½ cups)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ - ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Sea salt
For the chard & leek sauté:
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced thin
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 4 or 5 large green chard leaves, chopped, including stems
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
To assemble:
  • 6 tortillas
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese (optional)
  1. Make the zucchini-avocado salsa: Place the zucchini, cilantro, onion, lime zest and juice, cayenne, honey, and pinches of salt and pepper in a food processor and process to form a sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer the salsa to a bowl and stir in the diced avocado. Taste and adjust again. Set aside.
  2. Make the black beans: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the black beans and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the water, cumin, coriander, paprika, and a pinch of salt, and simmer for a few minutes on low. Taste and adjust seasonings and cover to keep warm.
  3. Make the chard and leek sauté: Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, chard stems, and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook until just wilted. Set aside.
  4. Over an open gas flame or in a skillet, heat each tortilla until a slight char forms. Assemble tacos with the black beans, green sauté, and the zucchini-avocado salsa. Top with the cotija cheese, if using, and serve. Best served with margaritas.




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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Rachel Cantin

    Ok wow, that was so good and fresh!!

  2. Denise

    I’d love to make these! Trying to minimize trips to the store given our current situation… is there a replacement I can use for the leek?

  3. Marny

    These were delicious! We had some extra zucchini salsa left over and my husband is scarfing it down with tortilla chips as we speak. It’s really good on its own! We’ll definitely make this recipe again.

  4. Anthony from

    This looks so delicious, I love your pictures. I’ve save your recipe and will try to make it for my family. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. Anna from

    Your wonderful photos are enough to make everyone’s mouth to water. Indeed, your photos are perfect and your tacos are perfect, too, thanks Jeanine for sharing it.

  6. Abigail from

    The combination of of avocado and black bean wrapped in tacos will create a great taste in mouth. How amazing it is!Thanks Jeanine for sharing.

  7. Sabrina from

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

  8. Elizabeth

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

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

  10. Gene Cox

    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.

  11. Amy

    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.

  12. Cassie

    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!

  13. Annabel

    What can I use as a substitute for the chard?

    • jeanine

      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…

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.