Living the low-cal life can be tough. There’s so much temptation out there! Tacos, for example. Those things clock in at hundreds and hundreds of calories. Plus, the existence of tacos is made even more cruel when you make the decision to become a vegetarian. I was never big on meat, even back in my omnivore days. Tacos were the exception. They were one of my favorite foods. Crunchy, cheesy, zesty…they’re basically a hand-held party. You ever been to a Taco Bell? ‘Nuff said.
After 3 taco-less years, I knew I needed them back in my life. I created the perfect vegetarian version using beans as the protein and incorporating all the proper flavors and fixings a taco requires. I even added some zesty potatoes to really bulk it up. These tacos, I have to say, were possibly better than any ground-beef tacos I’ve had (expect a recipe soon). However, there was still one problem with these tacos, and that was the amount of calories they were packing. They weren’t exactly guilt-free.
Naturally, I whipped up a guilt-free, meat-free way to enjoy tacos. If you’re a meat-eater, DON’T FREAK OUT. You will not miss the meat. And if you’re like my father who just needs to know there’s meat in a dish SOMEWHERE, then you can go half-ground beef, half-black beans. Make sure you use a low-fat ground beef. Or try ground turkey or crumbled turkey bacon. These tacos are flexible.
My black bean tacos are fiesta-worthy. It’s a dish that’s PACKED with flavor. They’re zesty, cheesy, and they clock in at around 240 calories. That’s too good to be true. But it IS true, my friends. They’re also super quick and easy to make, as well as customizable. You may not be able to eat whatever you want 24/7, but that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes, you just need a freakin’ taco. That’s what these babies are for. Eat & bask in the guilt-free glory.
A few tips before you get cooking:
- Like a little spice in your life? Add diced jalapenos to your tacos! You can actually buy black beans with diced jalapenos already in them. I bought them by accident and basically melted my face off because I am a huge baby when it comes to spiciness. But if you like heat, they’re totally for you.
- Add diced tomatoes, onions, or a dollop of fat-free sour cream. Make these tacos your way!
- If you can’t find the pitas I used, you can also use a 60 calorie (or less) whole wheat tortilla like the low-cal high fiber ones by La Tortilla.
- THESE ARE IDEAL FOR VEGETARIANS. They’re hearty, satisfying, and packing around 20 grams of protein!
- Using the pitas is GENIUS. It tastes like a soft tortilla, but there are no open ends, so you can keep all the good stuff inside without worry of it falling out the other end!
- Do you draining, rinsing, chopping, measuring, etc. beforehand.
Guilt-Free Zesty Black Bean Tacos
Recipe by Colleen Bierstine
- 1/2 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp. taco seasoning
- dash onion powder
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 whole wheat pita for about 60 cal (like Joseph’s)
- 2 tbsp. fat-free cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp. sliced black olives
- shredded lettuce
- optional: fat-free sour cream, diced tomatoes, diced onions, jalapenos
- Bring a small skillet to medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add the beans. Stir in taco seasoning, adding water to loosen. You might not use all the water. It should form a sauce-like consistency. If it becomes too pasty for your liking, add more water.
- Add the onion powder and a generous amount of salt. Stir to combine.
- Meanwhile, slice pita in half. Spread open each “pocket.”
- When the beans are hot, remove from heat and turn off stove. Evenly distribute the beans into each pita pocket. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cheese into each.
- Heat in microwave for 15 sec. or until pita is hot and cheese is melted. Sprinkle in lettuce, olives, and any other toppings.
- Eat and Enjoy!
Now, go have a guilt-free Taco Night!