If you're looking for a different and delicious twist on tacos that's slightly healthier than the norm, here's your recipe! I mean, yes, the tacos are still fried in oil -- but they're loaded with black beans and spinach, so I'm of the opinion that all of the good proteins and vitamins in those ingredients outweigh the whole "fried" thing.
I'll be honest: These tacos took a bit of work; they're not nearly as easy to put together as they look. Obviously combining the ingredients was a cinch, but frying them was challenging. The filling wanted to come out when the tacos were flipped, and they had to be fried in batches, meaning that the oil temperature had to be regulated. It was all a little messy, but the delicious result was completely worth it. (If you don't want to mess with it, you could always use hard taco shells, but the flavor of the fresh tortillas is really so much better.)
These tacos are endlessly adaptable, and I have a feeling once I get the method down, I'll find them really simple too. Joe and I both really enjoyed them, so I'll definitely be making them again!
Crunchy Black Bean and Spinach Tacos
adapted from Endless Simmer
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Half of a red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups pepper-jack cheese
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
8 corn tortillas
Salsa, sour cream, avocado, etc. for serving
1. In a small saucepan, heat one tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in black beans, cumin, chili powder, and spinach leaves and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened and the spinach is wilted. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. Mash lightly with a fork or potato masher.
2. In a large, non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil (more, if needed to coat the pan) and heat over medium-high heat.
3. Add one corn tortilla at a time and let each get hot in the oil for a few seconds. Then add about 1/4 cup of the bean filling to one half of the tortilla. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese.
4. Using a spatula, carefully fold the tortilla over so it forms a shell. Press down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape.
5. As the first tortilla cooks, move it to the side and do a second one. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to get 2 or 3 tacos at once. When flipping the taco to cook on the other side, use a spatula and flip the taco toward the fold so the filling doesn’t fall out.
6. Cook each taco about 3 minutes per side, or until they're nicely browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve with desired taco toppings.