Growing up, the liberal arts college in my hometown would hold an international celebration every year. It was, by far, one of my favorite things to attend. The college had a sizable student population from different countries and this event allowed all those students to showcase items and food from their cultures. When you’re in a rural midwestern town, it can be an eyeopening (and delicious) experience.
These tacos are based on a hazy memory of delicious, spicy tacos. I wasn’t the biggest fan of tacos back then (shocking, I know), but these still tacos still hold. After a bit of research, I found the tacos were most likely a variation on the classic chicken tinga taco which has a base of a spicy chipotle tomato sauce. These white bean tacos are my riff on tinga tacos using canned tomatoes for ease of use.
Chipotle White Bean Tacos
Spicy white bean tacos that uses an easy chipotle tomato sauce to warm the white beans- easily vegan when the cheese is left out!
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano see note
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cooked Great northern beans drained and rinsed if using canned
- 4 to 6 corn tortillas
- Cilantro for serving
- Cotija or feta cheese for serving
- Minced red onion for serving
- Thinly slice onions and garlic. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet and add the onion. Saute for 4 to 6 minutes, until translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes, until garlic is browning. Transfer half the onion mixture to a food processor and add the stewed tomatoes, chipotles, oregano, and salt. Puree until mostly smooth.
- Add the beans to the pan with the remaining onions. Saute over medium heat for a minute or two, just to warm the beans. Stir in the chipotle sauce and continue to cook until the sauce thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Warm the corn tortillas and assemble with a couple spoonfuls of the bean mixture, fresh cilantro, cheese, and minced red onion.
Tips & Tricks: Can't find Mexican oregano? Italian oregano will work.
The bean mixtures makes a little more filling than needed for 4 tacos. You could easily serve one (if not two) more people depending on sides. The leftover beans also make for excellent bean bowls the next day.
I like to buy a can of chipotles in adobo sauce and divide the chipotles into ice cube trays to freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe container and pull out the amount of peppers as needed!
Nutrition: see the information.
White Bean Tacos
The most important component of these tacos is the spicy tomato sauce. If you make that, you can really play with the filling of these tacos. I like the white beans because they soak in the flavor but have less texture than some of the other options. A few ways you can swap in this recipe:
Vegetables: Add your favorite grilled or roasted vegetables to the tacos. These white bean tacos also work well with fresh avocado on top!
Legumes: Swap out white beans for black beans or green/brown lentils. I also like to use sprouted legumes in this recipe.
Non-spicy: These tacos are fairly spicy. If you’re not a fan of spice, drop the chipotles from the sauce and add a teaspoon or two of smoked paprika.
Quesadilla: Spread leftover beans in a quesadilla or add on top of a tostada.
Grain Bowl: use leftover white beans on top of brown rice, quinoa, or your favorite grain for an easy lunch bowl.
While I’ve proclaimed my love for chickpeas over and over again, I find myself turning to the range of white beans when it comes to comfort foods. These beans lend an extra creamy aspect to these dishes that put the recipes over the top. I love the large cannellini bean but the smaller navy beans are great as well.