Easy Crispy Vegan Tacos with Queso Dipping Sauce

By Alexandra Caspero on January 24, 2022
You've gotta try these simple tacos! Perfect for weeknight dinners. A must-save if you love tacos.
Makes 12 tacos

Crispy Vegan Tacos with a 4-Ingredient Queso Dipping Sauce. A healthy, satisfying plant-based meal with both stove-top and air-fryer directions.

If you need any proof about how addictive these crispy vegan tacos are– my husband has requested them three times in the last week. 

Stuffed with a meaty, spiced filling and quickly pan-fried (or cooked in the air fryer!) and served with a simple cashew queso dipping sauce, this is one recipe that you will turn to over and over again. 

Ingredients for these crispy vegan beef and black bean tacos:

As a weeknight friendly option, these tacos come together very quickly using only a handful of ingredients:

    • 1 Package of Hungry Planet Beef
    • Taco Seasoning 
    • Black Beans
    • Salsa or fresh pico de gallo 
    • Small tortillas of choice: I used flour tortillas but corn tortillas are a great gluten-free option 

Crispy Vegan Tacos

If you aren’t familiar with Hungry Planet, they are a chef-crafted plant-based meat company based right here in St. Louis! They offer premium plant-based meats that prepare, cook and taste like conventional meat– but healthier and more sustainable. 

I’m using their plant-based ground beef in these crispy beef taco recipe– a complete dup for regular beef & bean tacos. In addition to offering delicious products, I love that Hungry Planet’s mission aligns with mine: offering products that are better for you and better for the planet. 

Packed with protein and fiber, with fewer calories and less fat (zero grams saturated) than conventional and competitor meats, it’s the healthful way to be kinder to our planet.

Tacos using Hungry Planet Plant-Based Beef

Queso Dipping Sauce

To make these tacos more gourmet, we’re serving them with a simple 4-ingredient queso dipping sauce. You know I love my queso dips– my vegan chili cheese dip is one of the most popular recipes on my website and my simple queso dip is a staple with my husband for football Sunday. 

This queso dip is adapted from Pinch of Yum and if you like cashew-based quesos, then you are going to love this simple dip. Here’s what you need:

Do you need to soak cashews first?

Raw cashews blend easier if they are soaked ahead of time, but I don’t always have the time to do so before I want to use them. For a quick soak method, cover the cashews in boiling water for 10 minutes to just soften before blending.

You can also just throw the cashews right into your blender if you’ve got a high powered option like a Blendtec or VitaMix. I’m currently using both a Kitchen Aid and Nutribullet model and both can handle raw cashews without soaking, you’ll just need to stop often to scrap down the sides and let it run for a full 2-4 minutes.

For less heat, I recommend mild canned green chiles and use those when I’m serving this to my kiddos. 

Crispy Vegan Taco Meat

Vegan Bean Tacos with Queso Dip

Instructions

Make The Filling

Start by sautéing the plant-based ground beef from Hungry Planet with 1 teaspoon taco seasoning until browned and cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break apart the mixture so it resembles ground beef. 

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 

Place rinsed and drained black beans along with 1/4 cup salsa and 2 teaspoons taco seasoning in the base of a food processor and blend until somewhat creamy, but with a few beans still visible for texture. 

Stir into the beef mixture until well combined. 

Black Bean Filling for Tacos

Assemble the Tacos

Place a small scoop of the beef and black bean mixture into a small 4 or 6 inch tortilla (I used the street taco size for this recipe) and press in half, creating a half moon shape. If you are using corn tortillas, you’ll need to warm them first before folding so they don’t break. 

The bean and beef mixture should be sticky enough that you can fold the tortilla in half and have it hold its shape. Avoid overfilling so the mixture doesn’t ooze out when frying or when you take that first bite!

Beef and Bean Tacos

Prepare The Queso Dipping Sauce

While the tacos are cooking, place the cashews, water, green chiles, another teaspoon of taco seasoning and nutritional yeast in the base of a blender and puree until very creamy and smooth. 

As mentioned above, depending on the strength of your blender, this may take a few minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt if your taco seasoning isn’t salted. 

The queso dip will thicken as it sits. For any leftover queso, reblend it until creamy and smooth again with a tablespoon or two of water or warm on the stove with a small amount of liquid until desired texture and temperature is reached. 

Crispy Vegan Beef and Bean Tacos

Stove Top Cooking Directions

To pan fry, bring a layer of neutral oil to a shimmer in a heavy-duty large skillet like a cast-iron or stainless steel. 

Once the oil is hot, place the prepared taco into the oil and pan fry for 2-3 minutes per side until golden and crispy. 

Remove and let drain on a paper towel until you’ve finished with all of the tacos. 

These Tacos Can Also Be Made In An Air Fryer

For a crispy taco without pan frying, you can make these in the air fryer! Place the assembled tacos into the basket of an air fryer and lightly spray with cooking spray to help them crisp up. 

Cook for 6 minutes at 400 degrees F, until golden brown, flipping once. 

Can you make these in the oven?

I don’t recommend making these in the oven for best results, but to do so place tacos on a lightly greased baking sheet. Alternatively, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat, like a silpat, before placing the tacos on top. This will help reduce any sticking to the baking sheet. 

Lightly spray the outsides of the tacos with cooking spray, then bake for 10-12 minutes in a 400 degree oven, flipping halfway through. 

Crispy Vegan Tacos

Optional Additional Toppings

We love these tacos as is with the queso dipping sauce, but feel free to add in your favorite toppings! Chopped avocado, guacamole and a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro also work. 

How to Reheat the Vegan Beef and Black Bean Tacos

These tacos are best reheated in an oven or air fryer rather than using a microwave. You can also use a dry skillet over medium-low heat to warm through. Warm for 2-4 minutes at 350 degrees F in either the oven or air fryer until they are crispy again and warm throughout. 

Beef and Bean Tacos using Hungry Planet

More Vegan Taco Recipes:

10 Minute Black Bean Tacos
Lentil Tacos
Potato Tacos with Mushrooms and Chimichurri Sauce
Lentil Tacos with Roasted Cauliflower
Instant Pot Lentil Tacos
Tofu Tinga Tacos
Vegan Fish Tacos
Instant Pot Tacos with Lentil Walnut Meat 

If you try this recipe for crispy vegan tacos, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

Print
Crispy Bean Tacos

Easy Crispy Vegan Tacos with Queso Dipping Sauce

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 tacos 1x
  • Category: dinner, healthy, vegan
  • Method: stove top, air fryer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Crispy Vegan Tacos with a 4-Ingredient Queso Dipping Sauce. A healthy, satisfying plant-based meal with both stove-top and air-fryer directions.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 tacos 1x
  • Category: dinner, healthy, vegan
  • Method: stove top, air fryer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 tacos 1x
  • Category: dinner, healthy, vegan
  • Method: stove top, air fryer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • (12 ounce) package Hungry Planet Plant-Based Ground Beef
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for pan frying the tacos
  • (14 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup salsa of choice
  • 4 teaspoons taco seasoning, divided
  • 12 tortillas, 4” or 6” size
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes, then drained.
  • 1/3 cup water
  • (4 ounce) can green chiles, drained
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the beef and cook until browned and cooked through, breaking up into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon. Sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning and stir until well-combined. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Place the beans, salsa and 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning in the base of a food processor and process until mostly creamy and smooth. Add to the beef and stir to combine. Taste, adding salt as needed.
  3. Warm the tortillas in a microwave for ~15 seconds until just soft. This will make them more pliable to fold in half without breaking. If you are using corn tortillas, you may need to warm them for longer. Place a small amount of the filling (about 1-2 tablespoons depending on size) in each tortilla, then fold in half, gently pressing down to seal. The mixture should be soft enough to easily stick together. Continue with the rest of the filling.
  4. Make the cashew queso dip. Place the drained cashews, remaining teaspoon of taco seasoning, green chiles, water and nutritional yeast in the base of a blender and puree until very creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Depending on the power of your blender, this may take a few minutes.
  5. Make the tacos! To pan-fry, heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet until shimmering. To test if the oil is hot enough, sprinkle a drop or two of water onto the oil. If it crackles, it’s ready to go! Add the tacos a few at a time depending on pan size and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. Remove from pan and let drain on a paper towel lined plate as you finish the rest of the tacos. You may need to add more oil depending on how many batches you make.
  6. To Air Fry: Preheat an air fryer to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray both sides of the tacos with cooking spray (or rub with oil) and add the tacos and cook for 6-7 minutes until golden brown, flipping halfway through. Enjoy with warmed queso sauce!

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

The Ultimate Plant-Based Protein Cookbook + Course

(Includes 40+ recipes!)

FREE 7-DAY COURSE + COOKBOOK

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

(3 comments) leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1. Jeff
      January 31, 2022 AT 2:44 pm

      Who knew baking tacos made them so much more delicious?! That hungry planet filling is so satisfying. I love taking these tacos and dipping them straight into the salsa jar!

    2. Dimple
      January 24, 2022 AT 5:16 pm

      Do.you have any suggestions for another nut to use besides cashew? My husband’s stomach is not a huge fan

      1. Alex
        January 24, 2022 AT 5:59 pm

        What about sunflower seeds or blanched almonds? Blanched (skin removed) almonds would be my first choice followed by sunflower seeds!