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, 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.

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.



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…

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. David Miller from on said:

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

  25. Elizabeth on said:

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

  26. Sabrina from on said:

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

  27. John Evans from on said:

    Great,I love it.It very delicious

  28. Abigail from on said:

    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.

  29. Anna from on said:

    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.

  30. Anthony from on said:

    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!

  31. Marny on said:

    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.

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