Healthy Tacos

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Healthy Tacos made with seasoned black beans, an easy corn salsa, fresh avocado, and a delicious cilantro “pesto.”  Made with wholesome, good-for-you ingredients, these are the BEST healthy tacos ever! These tacos are vegetarian but trust me, you won’t be missing the meat!

Pair these tacos with an easy Cucumber Salad, roasted Brussels Sprouts, or some cilantro-lime rice.

Overhead image of Healthy Tacos.

The BEST Healthy Tacos Recipe

It’s no secret I’m a taco addict (these Chicken TacosVegetarian TacosAsian Tacos, or Quinoa Tacos give you an idea of my taco affinity). While I’d say most of those taco recipes are pretty healthy (compared to what you’d get at your local restaurants), the recipe today is the healthiest taco recipe I’ve ever shared. Coincidentally, it might just be my favorite!

Saucy spiced black beans, charred corn relish, fresh and creamy avocado, a cilantro “pesto,” and charred corn tortillas. No junk food there, amIright??

Overhead image of the prepped corn and tortillas for Healthy Tacos.

Wait a minute…are tacos healthy to eat?

Typically, an order of restaurant or fast food tacos is loaded with fat and calories WITHOUT the ingredients that will keep you satisfied. This leads to overeating and weight gain. That said, tacos CAN absolutely be healthy to eat, depending on the ingredients you use and how you prepare those ingredients. And the best news? They do not have to be even a little bit bland!

While there are a good amount of taco recipes that are not going to make your trainer thrilled, these tacos hit it out of the park in nutritional stats. Plus, they’re delicious.*

Overhead image of the dressing being made for these Healthy Tacos. So, let’s talk process for these tacos, the healthiest tortillas to use, and what vegetables you can add to these tacos.

Since these tacos are meatless (and you won’t have to wait for marinating and then cooking/grilling meat), they are exceptionally fast to make.

How to make Healthy Tacos:

  • Corn salsa: Start with the corn salsa to let the flavors meld a bit. I like to char the corn on the stovetop (or grill fresh corn on the cob– yum!). Let that cool and then toss with radishes, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, olive oil, and a few seasonings.
  • Black beans: Use the same skillet you used to make the corn salsa! Sauté onion and garlic and then add in some black beans, salsa, and seasonings. Simmer a bit and mash some of the beans as desired.
  • Cilantro “pesto”: Add a few ingredients (cilantro, shallot, garlic, oil, and vinegar) to a blender and pulse to combine. (This mixture is somewhere in between a saucy thick dressing and pesto, but whatever you want to call it, it’s amazing!)
  • Assemble: Char/grill/or warm the tortillas and layer them with the black bean mixture, corn salsa, fresh avocado (or guacamole), and plenty of the cilantro pesto/sauce. Optional: add a sprinkle of cheese, fresh lime, and cilantro. 

Overhead image of cilantro and the corn mix that goes in Healthy Tacos.

With so many types of tortillas available, it pays to read the labels and choose the healthiest ones. And, if you’d prefer to not use tortillas at all, you can serve all these fillings/toppings over rice, quinoa, or another grain as desired. To make this meal lower carb, you could serve it all in a lettuce wrap!

What are the healthiest tortillas?

As far as nutritional stats go, corn tortillas are typically the healthiest, followed by whole-wheat tortillas. In last place for healthy stats, we’ve got plain white-flour tortillas. You can read more about the nutritional breakdown of tortillas here

QUICK TIP

What’s in a word?  Labels are confusing and when you read the term “wheat flour,” that might sound like a good choice. Keep in mind that wheat flour is just plain old white flour. Think about it: white flour is indeed made from wheat, but it has been refined and bleached. The healthy term to look for is “100% whole wheat.” That type of flour contains all the nutrients and is a whole grain health bonanza. 100% whole wheat flour does contain plenty of carbohydrates, but they’re not the empty, simple carbs that are in white flour products.

Overhead image of the black beans and onion mixture that is the core of these Healthy Tacos.

The healthiest fillings for tacos? Plenty of vegetables and lean proteins!

What vegetables can you put in tacos?

  • For lean protein, beans are a protein-packed healthy choice. Beans provide your body with soluble and insoluble fiber. Both will help you stay fuller for longer.
  • Along with the beans, we add in some salsa, which is packed with vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, and onions to name a few. All of those vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals your body needs.
  • The next vegetables: corn and radishes. Corn is associated with the production of red blood cells in the body and enhancing your energy. Radishes are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
  • The “pesto” is packed with good ingredients:
    • Cilantro supports the health of your heart and helps balance blood sugar levels.
    • Shallots are rich in potassium and other vitamins/minerals.
    • Olive oil is loaded with healthy fats that help protect your body against strokes, heart disease, and weight gain.
*While I have my background in Exercise and Wellness (B.S.), all the content in this post is for informational purposes only. Please consult a doctor or dietician for any specific dietary needs/questions.

Image of Healthy Tacos being picked up to eat.

More Healthy Taco Recipes

  • If you’re looking for healthy tacos with chicken, try this Chicken Tacos recipe.
  • For healthy tacos with ground turkey, try this Turkey Taco Salad. (You can serve the filling in tortillas!)
  • To make healthy tacos with ground beef, use the recipe below, but replace one can of black beans with 1/2 pound of ground beef.
  • For a healthy taco bowl, try these Sweet Potato Taco Bowls (vegetarian) or these Navajo Taco Bowls.
  • For healthy fish tacos, try shrimp instead of breaded/fried fish (like these Shrimp Tacos here).
  • And here are some sweet potato Healthy Vegetarian Tacos.

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Healthy Tacos: Black bean, Corn, & Avocado

5 from 16 votes
Healthy Tacos made with seasoned black beans, an easy corn salsa, fresh avocado, and a delicious cilantro "pesto."  Made with wholesome, good-for-you ingredients, these are the BEST healthy tacos ever! These tacos are vegetarian but trust me, you won't be missing the meat!
Print Recipe

Healthy Tacos: Black bean, Corn, & Avocado

5 from 16 votes
Healthy Tacos made with seasoned black beans, an easy corn salsa, fresh avocado, and a delicious cilantro "pesto."  Made with wholesome, good-for-you ingredients, these are the BEST healthy tacos ever! These tacos are vegetarian but trust me, you won't be missing the meat!
Course Dinner, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword healthy tacos
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 409kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

Overlapping Taco Ingredients

  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 3 fresh limes (3 tablespoons fresh lime juice + 1 teaspoon lime zest, separated)
  • Tortillas (corn, whole wheat, or flour), fresh avocado or guacamole, additional fresh lime and/or cilantro

Corn Topping

  • 2 cups frozen corn (or use fresh corn on the cob)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeño pepper, finely minced

Beans

  • 1 small (2/3rds cup) yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup mild salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Cilantro "Pesto"

  • 1 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves (no need to remove every stem, just cut most the stems off in one cut)
  • 1/2 of 1 small shallot, coarsely chopped (1-2 tablespoons)*
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

Corn Topping

  • Method #1: Use pre-roasted canned corn -- drain and allow to dry. Method #2: Use frozen corn -- Sauté in a preheated large cast-iron skillet (cast iron chars better and won't ruin your pan) 3 to 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until kernels are lightly charred. Avoid stirring too often as this will keep the corn from getting a good roast. Method #3: Grill some fresh corn on the cob and cut it from the cob.
  • When the corn is fully cool, combine it with chopped cilantro, thinly sliced radishes,minced jalapeño pepper, a generous pinch of salt and pepper (add to taste; I add about 1/4 teaspoon each), 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 1 teaspoon lime zest. Stir, adjust seasoning to taste, and let stand to marinate while preparing the rest of the tacos.

Beans

  • In the same skillet used for the corn, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the chopped onion; sauté for 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds. Stir in the drained and rinsed black beans, salsa, chili powder, and cumin. Simmer the mixture for about 5 -10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slightly mash half of the beans if desired--this will thicken the filling. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cilantro "Pesto"

  • Add all the ingredients except the olive oil and pulse in a blender until combined. Once it is well-mixed, add olive oil and pulse a few times quickly until combined. (Overmixing olive oil can create a metallic taste, so it is important to add the olive oil in last.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I use about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.)

Assemble

  • Char/grill/warm tortillas and add a generous amount of the black bean mixture, followed by the corn topping, some fresh avocado (or guacamole), and a spoonful of the pesto. If desired, add cheese, additional chopped cilantro, and fresh lime juice. Enjoy as soon as assembled

Video

Recipe Notes

Go vegan: Skip the cheese, or use a non-dairy variety.
Nutritional information is calculated using small corn tortillas.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 527mg | Potassium: 745mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 525IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 4mg

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Healthy tacos made with seasoned black beans, a corn relish, fresh avocado, and a delicious cilantro pesto; Made with wholesome, good-for-you ingredients, these are the BEST healthy tacos ever! These tacos are vegetarian, but trust me, you won't be missing the meat! via chelseasmessyapron.com #taco #corn #black #bean #vegetarian #veggie #healthy #easy #quick #tacos #cilantro #avocado
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Recipe Rating




38 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    If you’re only concerned with calories, a corn tortilla is your best bet, but whole-wheat tortillas have the least fat. A 6-inch flour tortilla contains 90 calories, 2.4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat and 15.4 grams of carbohydrates. Since whole-wheat tortillas are made to be healthier, they are lower in fat, with 0.4 grams, and higher in protein, with 3 grams, so they are also lower in calories with only 71. The same-sized corn tortilla, however, contains only 52 calories and provides 1.4 grams of protein, 0.7 grams of fat and 10.7 grams of carbohydrates.
    Thanks
    Lizza
    https://mytellthebell.com

  2. 5 stars
    I love all the colors in these tacos. They look so delicious! Can’t wait to try them with some fresh corn on the cob!

  3. Hi Chelsea! These look amazing. I’m wondering if the calories are per taco or total for the entire recipe?

  4. 5 stars
    Family is attempting to move to a more vegetarian based diet. This was our first Meatless Monday meal and RAVE reviews even from the picky one. All agreed that they tasted professionally made. And now expect to eat again next week. I am now planning even more meals from here, even a few with some meat and dairy. So good!!

  5. 5 stars
    This turned out amazing! We had friends over that are vegetarians and I wanted something different than the usual “veggie soup”. The melody of flavors and the presentation made the evening thank you very much for sharing your recipes.

  6. 5 stars
    Perfect!! Switching to PBDiet has been hard finding flavorful food. These were so good!!!
    We made nachos instead of tacos. Definitely will be making these again.

  7. 5 stars
    I just made these tonight and omg amazing! So fresh and flavorful I even packed leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Yum! Now I’m excited to look at other recipes to try ????

    1. So glad you loved these! I love how fresh and flavorful they are too! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    These were AMAZING and SO economical! My fiancé raved at how delicious they were without even needing meat. I had some extra limes so I threw in more juice to everything but otherwise I followed this recipe to a T. Thank you for sharing!

  9. 5 stars
    Oh.my.GOODness! Made these for dinner tonite & they were amazing! My hubby said he would eat these over beef taco’s any day! Thank you for sharing!

  10. 5 stars
    I think this is absolutely amazing. I’m not a great cook, but with directions i guess I’m ok . This knocked it out of the park. 5 star

  11. 5 stars
    Made this recipe several months ago and making it again tonight! These tacos are the best tacos I’ve ever made – they’re to die for! If you haven’t yet, you have to make these!!

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