Looking for a quick and simple recipe that can help you to have a healthy and tasty vegan meal on the table in as little as 15 minutes? Kidney bean tacos are your friend, amigo.
By mashing some of the beans in the pan, you'll have a thicker filling that's full of flavour and good stuff. And while this recipe is designed for tacos, there's nothing stopping you from simply serving with rice or spreading on toast. That happened.
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Why you'll love it
- It can be ready in 15 minutes
- It relies on store-cupboard ingredients
- You need just one pan to cook the filling
- It's low in fat and high in fibre and plant-based protein
Recipe testing notes
- Garlic and whole spices: These take a similar time to soften/release their flavour, so it makes sense to throw them all in the pan together.
- Mashing the beans: This helps to thicken the mix and bind it all together (just like in this kidney bean curry). I like to mash around half of the beans and keep the others whole, adding a little extra water to the pan if it's looking too dry.
- Leftovers: When stored in the fridge, the mix will become even thicker and makes a good filling for sandwiches or wraps.
Which spices go in the filling?
I've gone with whole cumin seeds and fennel seeds, but you could just use cumin seeds or replace both with ground cumin. These are then joined by sage, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika.
What you'll need
To make these kidney bean tacos, you'll need:
- Tinned kidney beans that have been drained and rinsed
- Tinned tomatoes to provide a base for the filling
- Garlic because garlic goes in pretty much everything
- Spices (also listed in the section above)
- Nutritional yeast for added depth of flavour
- Lime and coriander to serve (optional but recommended!)
How to make kidney bean tacos
Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat and add the garlic, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds.
Season with salt and pepper, stir, and fry gently for a couple of minutes until the garlic has softened and the spices are fragrant.
Add the drained kidney beans, tinned tomatoes, sage, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutritional yeast.
Mix well and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring now and then.
After 5-6 minutes, use a potato masher to mash roughly half of the mix in the pan while leaving some of the beans whole.
Add a splash of water if necessary to loosen up the mix.
Stir and cook for another couple of minutes. The mashed beans will thicken the mix, so reduce the heat and add small amounts of extra water if it starts to stick in the pan.
After a couple of minutes, stir in the chopped fresh coriander. Season to taste and serve.
Here are a few of my favourite toppings to add:
Yes, you could use pretty much any variety of tinned beans in water that have been drained and rinsed. My recipe for jackfruit tacos is similar to this one and uses black beans.
If using dried beans, you'll want to make sure these have been prepared in advance before using here (i.e. soaked and cooked). See my guide to pulses for more info.
The filling itself is gluten-free, however you'll need to use tacos or tortillas that are certified or labelled as such. You'll want to make sure that any additional sides are also GF.
Once cool, store the cooked kidney bean mix in the fridge for up to four days.
You can freeze the filling for several months before defrosting and reheating thoroughly.
Variations and tips for kidney bean tacos
- Whole spices: If you don't have cumin or fennel seeds, you could use one teaspoon of ground cumin to replace the two teaspoons of whole spices. You could also try a spice blend such as homemade Cajun seasoning.
- Tortillas: Your total number of tacos will vary depending on the size of the tortillas and how much of the filling you put in each. For me, this recipe was enough for approx. 10 small flour tortillas (to feed at least three people depending on any sides).
- Other additions: Ingredients such as fried onions, peppers, greens, courgette, or mushrooms would all be good additions.
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More vegan recipe ideas
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You can also check out my full list of quick vegan dinner recipes.
15-Minute Kidney Bean Tacos
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (see notes for easy spice substitutes)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (see notes)
- 2x 14 oz (400 g) tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1x 14 oz (400 g) tin tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
- Small handful fresh coriander (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 10 small flour or corn tortillas (see notes)
- Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat and add the garlic, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and fry gently for a couple of minutes until the garlic has softened and the spices are fragrant.
- Add the drained kidney beans, tinned tomatoes, sage, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutritional yeast. Mix well and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring now and then.
- After 5-6 minutes, use a potato masher to mash roughly half of the mix in the pan while leaving some of the beans whole. Add a splash of water if necessary to loosen up the mix.
- Stir and cook for another couple of minutes. The mashed beans will thicken the mix, so reduce the heat and add small amounts of extra water if it starts to stick in the pan.
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