Smoky Beans & Greens Tacos with Aji Verde

18 reviews / 5 average

These tacos are just one long love letter to FLAVOR. ♡

Smoky chipotle black beans, sautéed with kale and garlic and spices, tucked into charred corn tortillas, topped with fresh, crisp sweet corn cut right off the cob, and smothered with too much (and yet never enough) aji verde.

As of lately I have been affectionately calling these guys “beans and greens tacos”, and OH MY GOODNESS, they are just so delightful. They appear humble with the black bean / kale vibes and a cutesy little name, but seriously, don’t sleep on these. They are a top summer recipe for me this year.

Smoky beans and greens tacos in a circular pattern on a plate and topped with Aji Verde sauce and corn.

Over the last few weeks these have been repeatedly served to myself, my husband, my toddler, and a random sampling of friends who happened to be over at dinnertime. Everyone has given them two thumbs up, and more importantly, everyone has confirmed what we all know in our hearts: that the real star here is the aji verde.

You Need To Know About Aji Verde

Aji verde is a spicy Peruvian green sauce, and it came into my life last year when I made it as a little drizzley drizzle for this plantain stew (um, incredible). Now here we are in the summer, when stew is out and tacos are in, so I’m revisiting the beloved aji verde for these beans and greens tacos. Because what’s a taco without a good sauce? Sad. That’s what it is. And we don’t do sad tacos. Enter: more aji verde.

Close-up of Smoky Beans and Green tacos on a plate with corn and Aji verde sauce drizzled on top.

What To Pile On Top Of These Tacos

As with all tacos, please, by all means, go big with your toppings. You know I will approve of the more-is-more mentality here. For one, I can confirm that avocado is killer. Slaw or some kind of pico would be excellent. Pickled red onions would truly make the angels sing. And the sweet corn that I generously scooped all over my tacos was a peppy nod to summer and all things sweet, fresh, and a little bit crunchy.

But really, all you NEED need for the base of these are:

  • Chipotle black bean and kale mixture (pictured in the pan below, looking spicy, mysterious, and delicious)
  • Aji verde x10
Smoky black bean filling with greens being stirred around in a pan with a wooden spoon.

Holy smoke show, these were so good. Three cheers for vegetarian tacos that you can look forward to eating and feel proud to serve to friends (aka self). YUM.

Smoky beans and greens tacos on a plate with corn and aji verde sauce being drizzled on top with a metal spoon.

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Smoky Beans and Greens Tacos: FAQs

I want to make my own enchilada sauce. Would that work here?

Absolutely! This is the best homemade enchilada sauce and is ready for you in 5 minutes. Seriously!

Is there a way to make this vegan?

Good news! It’s super easy to vegan-ize this recipe. Just swap out the regular mayo for a vegan mayo here.

Are these tacos spicy?

The tacos themselves have a lot of flavor, but they aren’t really spicy. The Aji Verde sauce on the other hand has some heat and punch to it, so if you don’t love spicy food, it’s probably best to limit how much green sauce goes on top of your tacos.


Source notes: Aji verde is a Peruvian green sauce. I based this version off the recipe from A Cozy Kitchen, which is my all-time go-to for this amazing, punchy, fiesty green sauce (with a few swaps based on what I usually have in my fridge). So yummy!

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Smoky Beans and Greens Tacos with Aji Verde


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Three cheers for summertime eating! Smoky black beans, sautéed with kale and garlic and spices, tucked into charred corn tortillas, and topped with the best feisty, punchy green sauce – Aji Verde! 


Ingredients

Units Scale

Smoky Beans and Greens

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 23 cups shredded kale (no stems, please)
  • one 14-ounce can black beans
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce (I like this one)
  • 1 chipotle pepper, minced (or a sprinkle of ground dried chipotle spice)
  • salt to taste

Aji Verde

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 ounces of queso fresco (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, with seeds and ribs to keep it spicy (remove for a mild version)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of salt (to taste)

Taco Extras

  • tortillas
  • fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob
  • anything else you like on your tacos

Instructions

  1. Make the aji verde: Blend aji verde sauce ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Cook the beans and greens: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add kale; sauté for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add beans, enchilada sauce, and chipotle. Season with salt. Simmer until the kale is very well-cooked and everything has taken on a roasty-tomato-chipotle kind of of vibe.
  3. Serve: Fill each tortilla with beans and greens, corn, and a heavy drizzle of aji verde sauce. Top with whatever else makes your heart happy. Mwah. So good.
  • Category: Tacos
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Peruvian-Inspired

Keywords: black bean tacos, taco recipe, vegetarian tacos

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64 Comments

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Franny! We place the tortillas straight on the burner of a gas stove to char them. If you don’t have a gas stove, you can place them in a skillet or pan on the stove with a bit of oil over high heat for 1-2 minutes per side.

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    parrotmom

    Sounds yummy, but what are you doing with the tortillas to char them? Brush with oil and throw on the grill? Something else? I’ve read the recipe twice and can’t find a reference.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      We place the tortillas straight on the burner of a gas stove to char them. If you don’t have a gas stove, you can place them in a skillet or pan on the stove with a bit of oil over high heat for 1-2 minutes per side.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Melodie

    Tasty, super easy, and nutritious. I used a store-bought cilantro-lime ranch dressing instead of the sauce which made this super quick. I used canned corn but I expect it’s even better with fresh corn.






  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Brynna

    I live in an area where I’m unable to source chipotle peppers or ground chipotle spice – any suggestions for alternatives that would give it the same taste? Smoked paprika, maybe?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Beth

      I just made this without any form of chipotle because I didn’t want it to be too spicy for my kids. It was great without it!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    H

    First of all, love the recipes as does my wife. Not going to tell her where they’re coming from as she keeps asking lol.
    I’m not sure I got the quantities right as this made about 5 small tacos from 3 big handfuls of kale and 1 can of drained black beans, is that right?
    Also my aji verde was more mush than a runny sauce so I’m not sure if I used too much cilantro or my food processor is crap. Is a bunch in the US the same as a bunch in the UK?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      We estimated the recipe to serve 2 people (2 tacos each). Feel free to add in more kale if you wanted to increase the number of servings! I’d guess a bunch of cilantro in the US to be about 1 to 1 1/2 cups packed.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Michelle Applestein

    Please don’t get upset…but, this is the best shit! Honestly 💖💖

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Cindy Wright-Jones

    I made this tonight & it was superb! I used your enchilada sauce recipe, some chipotle powder, and our home grown kale! I’m so excited I have leftovers!






  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kathryn

    AMAZING! I wasn’t too sure about this recipe because I don’t like kale but it’s honestly so good! Highly recommend! Also several items are covered by WIC in our state, which is important for our family meals. Thank you!!






  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ron

    Ok! I’ve been waiting two weeks to make this recipe (smoky beans and kale tacos) and did it tonight. And it was worth it. Though there are several moving parts that take a bit of work the final product was better than I had hoped, and I’d hoped a lot! Love the bit of smoky from the chipotle. The hard part was rubbing the kale :-). The flavors were great together and my wife, who doesn’t like cilantro (the soap thing) ate it and loved the tacos. We ate it all! Leftover enchilada sauce for later in the week. Thanks for this one. It’s a keeper.






  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amie

    Made these tonight and they were amazing. I subbed Swiss chard for the kale because the chard at our market was too beautiful to pass up. Collard greens would also be great, since collards and beans are a classic. Otherwise we made the recipe as-written and it’s sure to become a staple meal in our home!

    The Aji verde blew our palates out a bit (and I LOVE spice – if it’s not spicy it’s bland) so maybe I got a particularly hot jalapeño.






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lizi

    These were outstanding! I could drink the sauce! I’ll definitely be making them again and again this summer.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      So glad you’ve found a great summer meal in these tacos! Thanks for the comment!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Christine

    These are delish! I doubled the filling and made it vegan (no cheese, vegan mayo). That sauce is so good! The spice complements the sweetness of the corn and the smokiness of the bean and kale mix. This is a winner!






  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    JB

    Hi … these look sooooo good, I’m excited to try ’em! Quick question … do you cook the corn before you slice it off the cob or is it straight up raw?

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Delicious! I’ve been trying to eat more vegetarian so this was great. Love that it has greens in it. I used beet greens since I had them. Agree the sauce was delicious. I used feta instead of quesa fresco. I halved the sauce recipe and it was more than enough.
    I wouldn’t say this serves four, my husband and I almost ate all of it between us!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Emily A Hiram

      Although we are very full. Maybe it should have been for four! 😂. It was just so tasty!

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Katie

    This dish was delicious, and is definitely my new favorite taco recipe! I omitted the chipotle, jalapeno (because I’m a wuss) and queso fresco and subbed vegan mayo, and it was outstanding. Thanks for a great, easy dinner recipe!!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Glad to hear you were able to make it less spicy and vegan! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Emily L

    Idk why I am surprised by POY recipes anymore. This was amazing and will be going on my rotation. The sauce is so good and I’m going to use the leftovers to make a slaw for chicken tacos. Once again, another stellar recipe.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    lisa

    easy and great recipe! i used a bit more kale than called for and added some yellow pepper too…your magic green sauce would also be an amazing contender for a topping! yum! thank you!! always love your recipes!!






  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    EL

    Made this tonight and it was excellent! I used baby greens from thinning my garden instead of kale and probably added closer to 4-5 cups. I also added two cans of black beans. It was still plenty flavorful and we have extra filling and aji verde as leftovers. Win win!