Hearty legumes, flavorful tomato salsa, cool sour cream, melty cheese, and crunchy corn tortilla shells combine forces in these easy Vegetarian Tacos with Refried Beans. Making tacos at home is not that difficult and this tasty Mexican-inspired Taco Recipe is sure to delight the whole family.
Table of Contents
About Vegetarian Tacos Recipe
Tacos are essentially stuffed wraps from the Mexican cuisine. Hearty corn or flour tortillas are stuffed with various fillings to make a deliciously versatile and super easy snack or meal.
In this vegetarian taco recipe, I use a simple combination of refried beans, mildly spicy salsa, sour cream, and cheese. These ingredients are all prevalent in Mexican cuisine, making my homemade interpretation relatively authentic.
As an added bonus, everyone at home agreed that this was the best-tasting combination of all that I tried.
For these veg taco recipe, I used store-bought crunchy taco shells, which meant that the only real prep I needed to do was make the refried kidney beans. If you have a pressure cooker at home, this process is quite fast. You’ll have dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!
That said, this yummy Mexican treat can easily be adapted to fit your flavor preferences or to use whichever ingredients you have at home. In short, this recipe is an excellent and easy template to get you and your family fed. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Ingredients & Substitutions
You don’t need much to get these vegetarian tacos on the dinner table. Here’s your shopping list:
- Mexican Refried Beans – Refried beans are an ubiquitous dish in Mexican cuisine. While I made mine with kidney beans, you can also make them with pinto beans (which is the most traditional) or black beans. The recipe is quite simple — cook the beans till tender, then mash them with sautéed aromatics and spices. If you’re short on time, you may be able to find pre-made refried beans in the canned aisle.
- Tomato Salsa – Bright and lightly spicy tomato salsa adds lovely freshness to these crunchy, bean-filled shells. Feel free to swap in Guacamole, Mango Salsa, or your own favorite combination!
- Sour cream – If you do not have sour cream, use fresh curd or yogurt instead.
- Taco shells or tortillas – These can be purchased from stores or made at home. You can also swap in your favorite thin flatbread like Roti or Paratha.
- Grated cheese – I suggest using either cheddar cheese, processed cheese, or your favorite melting cheese. You can also omit it if you prefer.
How To Make Vegetarian Taco Recipe
Begin by making the refried beans. For this first you will need to soak the beans in water overnight.
You could also use canned refried beans if you can get it and skip this entire process of making the refried beans.
Pressure Cook Kidney Beans
1. Rinse 1 cup kidney beans a couple of times with water. Soak the beans in enough water to cover them overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
2. The next day, drain all the water. Rinse the kidney beans very well under running water. Then add the beans to a 2-litre stovetop pressure cooker with ¼ teaspoon salt.
3. Pour in 2 cups of cool water.
4. On a medium heat, pressure cook kidney beans for 15 to 18 minutes. Keep in mind that fresh beans cook faster. If the beans are old, then they take a lot of time to cook.
Time Management Tip: While the beans are cooking, you can make the tomato salsa and keep it aside. However, do not add any salt or spices to the salsa, as it will cause the tomatoes and onions release water. Add them to the mix just before you plan on serving the tacos.
5. When the pressure settles down naturally, then open the lid and check the kidney beans. They should be completely cooked and mash easily when you press them. Drain all the water from the beans and keep aside.
Make Refried beans
6. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan. Lower the heat and add ½ teaspoon of finely chopped garlic.
You can add more garlic if you want! Fry the garlic for about 30 seconds, or till its raw aroma goes away. There is no need to brown the garlic.
7. Add ⅓ cup finely chopped onions.
8. Stirring often, sauté the onions on a medium-low flame till they soften and become translucent.
9. When the onions become translucent, then add the cooked kidney beans.
10. Next add ½ to ⅔ cup water or vegetable stock, or add as required.
11. Add salt as per taste and mix well.
12. Let the kidney bean mixture come to a boil on a medium-low heat.
13. With a vegetable masher, mash the beans when the mixture comes to a boil.
Note: At this point, you can stop cooking and allow the beans to cool down a bit and blend everything to a smooth purée with an electric blender.
We prefer some chunkiness in the beans, so I have not mashed the beans entirely. However, do mash well as this gives a creamy consistency to the refried beans.
14. Add ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder, ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder (or cayenne pepper) and 1 teaspoon cumin powder.
Add cayenne pepper or red chili powder depending on the heat you want in the dish. Feel free to adjust the spices per your preferences.
15. Mix very well. On a low to medium-low heat, continue to stir and simmer beans for 5-6 minutes till the mixture thickens.
You can make refried beans thick or with a slightly liquid and flowing consistency. Add more water if you want to thin them out some.
16. When the refried beans have thickened to the desired consistency, turn off the heat. Keep aside.
Assemble Vegetarian Tacos
17. Remove the taco shells and place them on a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 100° C (210° F) for 2 to 3 minutes.
The ones I used were crispy taco shells. You can make tacos with either crispy or soft shells.
If you are using soft taco shells (example, tortilla or roti) you can warm them in a pan on the stovetop if you don’t want to turn the oven on.
18. Place the taco shells in the oven and heat at 100° C (210° F) for 2 to 3 minutes. This step is optional and can be skipped unless otherwise mentioned on the package.
19. After 2 to 3 minutes, remove the taco shells from the oven.
20. Gather and assemble all the ingredients required for the stuffing – taco shells, sour cream, refried beans, grated cheddar cheese (optional), and tomato salsa.
21. Take the taco shell. If the shells are too thin or papery, then stack 2 taco shells together. Thin shells will break easily with the weight of the stuffings.
22. Pour a few spoons of refried beans in it.
23. Use the back of the spoon to make an even layer.
24. Top with tomato salsa.
25. Now top with 1 to 2 spoons of sour cream. Fresh curd or yogurt can also be used instead of sour cream.
26. Top with some grated cheddar cheese.
27. Make all the vegetarian tacos this way and serve immediately. You can garnish these Mexican tacos with some coriander leaves (cilantro), parsley or avocado slices if you want.
Veg tacos are basically a blank slate for you to paint your flavor preferences onto. Here are some other filling ideas to try:
- Guacamole or sliced avocado
- Different kinds of salsa – salsa verde (made with tomatillos), mango (or other fruit) salsa, pico de gallo, or hot sauce.
- Roasted veggies like peppers & onions, mushrooms, or nopales (prickly pear cactus)
- Pickled Red Onions or pickled jalapeños
- Fresh chopped onion, green onion, and/or coriander (cilantro)
- Thinly sliced radishes
Making vegetarian taco recipe at home is quite easy, but I do have a few notes for you to keep in mind:
- Serve vegetarian tacos as soon as you assemble them. Alternatively, you can also keep the fillings in a separate bowl and let the people make the tacos for themselves.
- Any leftovers should be stored separately. Eat refried beans within 1 to 2 day, and salsa within a day.
- If you are using soft taco shells (e.g. tortillas or roti) you can warm them in a pan on the stovetop if you don’t want to turn the oven on.
In this recipe, I use homemade refried beans, pico de gallo-style salsa, sour cream, and cheddar cheese, but you can feel free to mix and match any ingredients that suit your craving!
Many are, yes! Just be sure to read the ingredient label to see if lard was used in place of shortening. If so, they are not vegan-friendly. In that case, feel free to swap in your favorite thin flatbread instead!
The answer is YES! You can get tortillas that are made of either corn or flour. If you are gluten-free, make sure to reach for corn tortillas. Otherwise, choose what suits your palate!
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Taco Recipe | Vegetarian Tacos
For soaking kidney beans
- ½ cup kidney beans – 100 grams, you can also use pinto beans
- enough water – for soaking
For pressure cooking kidney beans
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
More ingredients for refried beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onions – 40 to 50 grams or 1 medium onion
- ½ teaspoon garlic – finely chopped or 2 to 3 medium-sized peeled garlic cloves
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder (ground black pepper)
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper, add as per your taste buds
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder (ground cumin)
- salt as per taste
- ½ to ⅔ cup water or add as required
For vegetarian tacos fillings
- 12 to 14 taco shells (6 to 8 inches)
- 1 bowl of Tomato Salsa
- ½ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup cheddar cheese – grated or shredded, add as required
Pressure cooking kidney beans
- Rinse the kidney beans a couple of times with water. Soak the beans in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
- Then next day drain all the water. Rinse the kidney beans very well in running water a few times. Transfer the beans to a 2 litre stovetop pressure cooker.
- Also add ¼ teaspoon salt and 2 cups water.
- On a medium heat pressure cook kidney beans for 15 to 18 minutes. Keep in mind that fresh beans cook faster. If the beans are old, then they take a lot of time to cook.
- When the beans are cooking, you can make the tomato salsa and keep aside. However do not add any salt or spices in the salsa as then the tomatoes and onions release water. Add them in the salsa just before you start making the tacos.
- When the pressure settles down on its own or drops naturally in the cooker, then only open the lid and check the kidney beans. They should be completely cooked and mash easily when you press them. Drain all the water from the beans and keep aside.
Making refried beans
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan. Lower the heat and add finely chopped garlic.
- Fry the garlic for some seconds till its raw aroma goes away. There is no need to brown the finely chopped garlic.
- Add finely chopped onions. stirring often sauté onions on a medium-low heat till they become translucent and are softened.
- Next add the cooked kidney beans.
- Also add ½ to ⅔ cup water or add as required. You can also opt to add vegetable stock instead of water.
- Add salt as per taste and mix well.
- Let this kidney bean mixture come to a boil on a medium-low heat.
- With a vegetable masher, mash the beans when the mixture comes to a boil. At this point you can even stop cooking and allow the beans cool down a bit. Then blend everything to a smooth puree with an electric blender.
- Add black pepper powder, dried oregano, red chili powder (or cayenne pepper) and cumin powder.
- Add cayenne pepper or red chili powder depending on the heat you want in the dish. So you can add spices and herbs as per your taste buds. You can always add more or less of each spice and herb.
- Mix very well.
- On a low to medium-low heat continue to stir and simmer beans for 5 to 6 minutes till it thickens. You can make refried beans thick or with a slightly liquid and flowing consistency. Add more water for a slight liquid consistency or if the beans look dry.
- When the refried beans have thickened to the desired consistency then turn off the heat and set it aside
Assembling and making vegetarian tacos
- Remove the taco shells and place them on a baking tray. Preheat oven at 100° C/210° F for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Place the taco shells in the oven and heat at 100° C/210°F for 2 to 3 minutes. This step is optional and can be skipped. Do heat the taco shells as mentioned on the package.
- Gather and assemble all the ingredient required for the stuffing – taco shells, sour cream, refried beans, grated cheddar cheese (optional) and tomato salsa.
- Take the taco shell. If the shells are too thin or papery, then take 2 taco shells. Thin shells will break easily with the weight of the stuffings.
- Pour a few spoons of refried beans on it.
- Top with tomato salsa. You can even make guacamole and add it as a filling.
- Now top with 1 to 2 spoons of sour cream. Fresh curd or yogurt can also be used instead of sour cream.
- Top with some grated cheddar cheese.
- Make all vegetarian tacos this way and serve immediately.
- I have used store brought crispy taco shells. You can even use soft taco shells of tortilla or whole wheat roti.
- You can also opt to cook the beans in an Instant Pot adding water as needed.
- You can even use fresh curd or yogurt instead of sour cream.
- The recipe can be scaled to make for less or more portions easily.
- Feel free to add toppings of your choice like pickled onion or cucumber, avocado slices or guacamole or any sauce or roasted or sautéed veggies that you prefer.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Vegetarian Tacos recipe from the archives, originally published in February 2018 has been updated and republished on February 2023.