If your Taco Tuesday needs a shake-up, this is the recipe for you! These Chickpea Tacos feature a creamy cilantro lime dressing on chickpeas that tastes so good when you wrap it inside a soft tortilla. This recipe happens to be vegan if you use vegan mayonnaise, but more than that, it's delicious!
While I would never judge anyone for a classic crispy beef taco or a soft pulled chicken taco, I think it's fun to shake things up every now and then. Whenever we're trying to be more plant-based and vegan, I make these chickpea tacos. Our favorite Taco Tuesday is with this lighter but still satisfying dinner.
The filling in the tortillas is just as hearty and satisfying as a meat taco, because we're coating the beans in a flavorful sauce. When it comes to tacos, cilantro and lime are king! If you've ever had street tacos, you know that a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, a spoonful of raw diced onion and a squeeze of lime make them excellent. We're going to take those principles and apply it directly to these chickpeas.
How to Make Chickpea Tacos
If you're thinking this filling recipe looks familiar, it's because it is the same as my Chickpea Salad, but shoved in a taco with a smear of mashed avocado! It's even better in a tortilla, just trust me here! You really need the guacamole to make the chickpeas 'stick' inside the tortilla. If you don't like avocado, then use a smear of refried beans instead.
After adding cilantro, lime and raw onion to this dish, the thing that makes it extra special is the creamy mayo. In our case, we're using a vegan mayonnaise, but if you're not concerned about being plant-based, you can use a regular mayo or even sour cream. If you're truly not concerned about using any dairy products, I highly recommend a sprinkling of cotija on top before serving.
- Chickpeas. One 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried very well with a kitchen towel.
- Olive Oil. It doesn't need to be extra virgin, because we are cooking over high heat.
- Oregano. Regular dried oregano is great, but Mexican dried oregano is even better. Crush it in your palms before adding to the recipe.
- Smoked Paprika. One teaspoon of smoked paprika gives this roasted chickpea salad so much smokiness and meatiness. Do not skip this! Look for it in the spice aisle, and be sure the label says 'smoked,' not just regular plain paprika.
- Garlic Powder. One teaspoon of dried garlic granules is a bit easier to use than fresh garlic here. Plus, we'll be roasting it, so dried garlic powder prevents any burning!
- Chili Powder. Chili powder is actually a spice blend, and it's what brings so much taco-flavor to these roasted chickpeas. It contains cumin, oregano, garlic, onion and ground chilies. If you want to skip some steps, you can double the amount of chili powder in this recipe and omit the other dried herbs.
- Mayonnaise. We use vegan mayonnaise to keep this recipe vegan. Our favorite brand is Vegenaise, but you only need 2 tablespoons, so use whatever type of mayo you like. You can use regular mayo or even sour cream, if you're not trying to be vegan.
- Lime. It's really best if the lime juice is fresh here, but since we don't need the lime zest, you may use bottled lime juice, if that's all you have.
- Cilantro. One small bunch of cilantro, clean and finely chopped. This is about ½ cup of finely chopped cilantro. Also, please note that I chop everything--stems and leaves included. Most of the flavor in cilantro is in the stems, so chop the whole plant, just be sure to chop the stems very finely.
- Cayenne Pepper. It's optional, but a small amount of heat and spice is so good in this chickpea salad.
- Fresh Garlic. You can use 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced, or another teaspoon of dried garlic powder, just like we used for the chickpeas.
- Maple Syrup. Just a touch of sweetness (one tablespoon) helps balance the acidic lime and spicy flavors here.
- Red Onion. Don't worry if you're not a big raw red onion fan, because we're going to dice it and soak it in warm water for a few minutes before adding it to the salad.
- Cherry Tomatoes. One cup (about 5 ounces) of cherry tomatoes that you slice in half.
- Avocado. One medium, perfectly ripe avocado. The best way to tell if an avocado is ripe is to give it a gentle squeeze. It should be somewhat soft but still firm. You can also remove the stem button and see if its green underneath.
- Tortillas. My preference for these chickpea tacos is soft corn tortillas. Wrap them in foil, heat them over low heat in the oven. You can also fry them lightly in some oil in a shallow pan to heat them.
First, open your can of chickpeas, drain them, rinse them, and then place them on a clean kitchen towel. Dry your chickpeas very, very well in the towel.
Next, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, and add the chickpeas, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt. Saute until the chickpeas are golden brown and starting to crisp up, about 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat.
Make the dressing: in a serving bowl, add the vegan mayo, lime juice, chopped cilantro, cayenne, garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Whisk this together very well, and set aside.
Add the chopped red onion to a small bowl and cover with warm water. Let soak for 5 minutes, and then drain.
To the bowl with the dressing, add the cherry tomatoes, cooked chickpeas, and soaked red onion. Stir to combine.
In a separate small bowl, mash up the avocado with a heavy pinch of salt. Then, heat the tortillas, and assemble each chickpea taco by smearing a bit with avocado and topping with the chickpea mixture.
What to Serve with Chickpea Tacos:
- Black Beans and Rice is my go-to side dish when it comes to taco Tuesday, because it's easy and quick.
- Refried Black Beans is a creamy side that I nearly always have in my fridge. If anyone dislikes guacamole, try a smear of refried beans in its place.
- Charro Beans are also a great side, if you're okay with even more beans as a side dish for a bean-based meal.
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried very well
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 small bunch of cilantro (~½ cup chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (1 teaspoon powder)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 large avocado
- 8 corn tortillas
- First, make the chickpeas: Rinse and drain the chickpeas very well, and then place them on a clean dry kitchen towel. Rub them dry completely.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chickpeas, salt, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and chili power.
- Sauté the chickpeas until golden brown and starting to crisp up around the edges, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat if they threaten to burn. It’s a good idea to place a splatter screen on top, because they can pop out of the pan as they cook. Turn off the chickpeas under the chickpeas, and let them cool in the pan while you make the dressing.
- In a serving bowl, combine the vegan mayo, lime juice, chopped cilantro, cayenne, garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
- In a small bowl, add the finely diced red onion and cover with warm water. Let soak for 5 minutes, and then drain.
- Add the drained onion, chopped cherry tomatoes, and cooked chickpeas to the serving bowl. Toss together well.
- In a separate small bowl, mash up the avocado with a big pinch of salt.
- Scoop about 2 tablespoons of avocado onto a tortilla, top with chickpeas, and serve with a lime wedge and more cilantro and diced onions for garnish.
Mayonnaise: We use vegan mayonnaise to keep this recipe vegan. Our favorite brand is Vegenaise, but you only need 2 tablespoons, so use whatever type of mayo you like.
Spices: In place of the salt, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder, you can use 1.5 tablespoons of packaged taco seasoning. You can also double the chili powder and omit the other dried spices.
Tortillas: You can serve these with corn or flour tortillas, it's your choice, but be sure to warm them up.
Vegan: Keep this recipe vegan with vegan mayo. If it's not important to be vegan, use regular mayo or even sour cream. Then, top each taco with cotija cheese before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 549Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 610mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 16gSugar: 11gProtein: 14g