Ever since our neighborhood taco restaurant went downhill (what CAN we rely on these days?) I’ve been on a mission to create the ultimate Vegetarian Tacos. This recipe is the one!
Spiced cubes of intensely golden-and-crispy-outside, sweet-and-creamy-inside roasted sweet potatoes, a hearty mashed black bean and zucchini filling, and a shower of melty cheese, these filling tacos are here to appease meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.
Tacos are one of our go-to ways to enjoy meatless meals that are satisfying and hearty (this collection of meatless main dish recipes contains dozens more vegetarian meal ideas).
Plant-based proteins like tofu and tempeh are great options to put into tacos instead of meat (check out the reviews on these Tofu Tacos and Tempeh Tacos for proof).
As today’s sweet potato tacos (and Crispy Cauliflower Tacos and Blackened Zucchini Tacos) demonstrate, you can attain serious spice and satisfaction with vegetables and beans.
How to Make The Best Vegetarian Tacos
Here are the keys to making vegetarian tacos with a toothsome taste and texture that won’t leave you asking where’s the meat?
- Roast the Vegetables. Roasting vegetables improves both flavor and texture. The insides become hearty and tender and the outsides crisp. These layers of texture are supremely satisfying.
- Spice It Up. Don’t be shy on the spices. To give vegetarian tacos bold Tex-Mex pizazz, use a blend of the same spices you’d use to season meat (and be liberal!).
- Don’t Forget the Protein. Protein and fiber are critical to keeping you full and happy long after you eat. You can count on the fiber from the vegetables. For protein, include beans (which offer both protein and fiber), and higher protein toppings like Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
- Toppings are Life. In addition to making the tacos pretty, toppings like avocado and Greek yogurt add healthy fats and proteins that make these tasty vegetarian tacos a real-deal meal.
- Zucchini. Blends seamlessly with the black beans and salsa to create a vitamin-packed filling for the tacos.
- Black Beans. Full of fiber and protein, black beans help make the tacos more filling and add a delightful creamy element.
- Sweet Potato. Not only do sweet potatoes make these tacos satisfyingly hearty, but they also add a natural scrumptious sweetness that balances the smoky spices. High in fiber and antioxidants, sweet potatoes are highly nutritious.
- Spices. Chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder are the perfect combo here. These bold spices give the filling a touch of heat and robust flavor.
- Salsa. An instant, zero-work way to perk up our vegetarian taco filling.
- Tortillas. We love to pile all the delicious taco ingredients into a flour or corn tortillas.
- Cheese. Feta, queso fresco, or cheddar cheese are all tasty options for these tacos.
- Toss the potatoes with olive oil and spices. Spread them into an even layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping twice during baking.
- Toast the remaining chili powder and cumin in olive oil in a skillet.
- Add the zucchini.
- Stir in the black beans and salsa.
- Mash it all together. Warm the tortillas.
- Assemble the tacos and DIG IN!
- To Store. Refrigerate taco filling in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. Store leftover tortillas according to package directions.
- To Reheat. Rewarm the black bean/zucchini filling in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or gently in the microwave. Reheat the sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. Freeze taco filling in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Plan Tip
Roast the sweet potatoes up to 1 day in advance and store them in the refrigerator. Chop the zucchini up to 1 day in advance, storing it separately in the refrigerator.
Leftover taco filling would be scrumptious served inside a flour tortilla as a quesadilla or burrito. Or take a note from this Chipotle Bowl, and serve leftovers as a taco bowl over a bed of grains or lettuce.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
The Best Large Skillet
A large, high-quality skillet is essential in any kitchen. This one is even oven-safe.
Whether you are new to eating meatless or have been vegetarian for years, I know you’ll love these smoky, sassy, and satisfying Vegetarian Tacos!
As always, if you try the recipe please comment below to let me know what you think. I adore hearing from you!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes scrubbed and cut into ½-inch to ¾-inch cubes (I leave the peels on, but peel them if you like), about 1 pound
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground chili powder divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin divided
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 medium zucchini ends trimmed and cut into ½-inch dice (leave the skin on)
- 1 (14-ounce) can reduced sodium black beans rinsed and drained
- ½ cup prepared salsa plus additional for serving
- 8 small (6-inch) or 4 medium (8 to 9-inch) corn or flour tortillas
- 3 ounces crumbled feta queso fresco, or shredded cheddar
Additional toppings (optional):
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Plain non-fat Greek yogurt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Toss to combine, ensuring the sweet potatoes are evenly coated with the oil and spices.
Spread the potatoes into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the sweet potatoes for 25 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned, turning them twice throughout to ensure they cook evenly. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1 teaspoon cumin. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, until the spices are very fragrant.
Stir in the zucchini. Let cook until tender but still al dente, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
Stir in the black beans, salsa, and remaining ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.
With the back of a spoon, stir and mash the beans together with the zucchini. Continue cooking until the beans are thick and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t let the beans dry out—if they start to look dry, add in some water as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Warm the tortillas: If you have a gas stove, run the tortillas over an open flame to lightly char. Otherwise, wrap a stack of them in foil and let them warm in the oven while the potatoes roast for 5 minutes. (If you char them, you can also wrap them in foil afterward and pop them in the oven to keep them warm).
To serve, smear a big spoonful of the bean mixture over each tortilla. Pile on a scoop of the sweet potato, cheese, additional salsa, and any other toppings of choice. Enjoy!
- TO STORE: Refrigerate taco filling in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. Store leftover tortillas according to package directions.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm the black bean/zucchini filling in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or gently in the microwave. Reheat the sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze taco filling in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serving: 1(of 4); without additional toppingsCalories: 384kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 16gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 19mgPotassium: 1140mgFiber: 14gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 16859IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 205mgIron: 4mg
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