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story.lead_photo.caption For The Washington Post/JUSTIN TSUCALAS Chile Lime Black Bean Tacos

Our fellow home cooks are constantly asking us for ideas and recipes to help them put a healthy-ish meal on the table at lightning speed — for those familiar nights when you just don't have time for lots of chopping and extensive prep. We can all relate.

So what's the solution? You can start by packing your shelves and refrigerator with a few staples that are low on effort and big on flavor. In our pantry, canned black beans, limes and a few key condiments and spices are near the top of the list.

This plant-based taco recipe is a lesson in minimalism: You'll be surprised at the amount of flavor achieved from a few humble ingredients in just 20 minutes.

Our favorite trick for cooking black beans is with a little can liquid, spices and a hint of Dijon mustard for complexity. What takes them over the top is a crunchy, tart two-onion quick pickle. And if you like a little kick, put that hot sauce to use.

Smoked paprika brings a noticeable flair to plant-based dishes and is worth the investment. You can find it in the spice aisle in the grocery store.

Chile Lime Black Bean Tacos

2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise (white and green parts)

1 small red onion, thinly sliced, divided use

¼ cup lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 (15.5-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, with the liquid

1 teaspoon chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

6 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 cup chopped romaine lettuce

Hot sauce, such as Cholula (optional)

Combine the green onions and half the red onion slices in a medium bowl. Cover with hot tap water and squeeze them a few times with your hands. Let them stand for about 2 minutes, then drain. Combine the lime juice, the rinsed onions and a pinch of kosher salt in a small jar or liquid measuring cup. Let stand while you make the remainder of the recipe, or for at least 10 minutes.

Heat the olive oil until shimmering in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining red onion and cook without stirring for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the black beans with their liquid, the chile powder, cumin, smoked paprika, Dijon mustard and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt; stir to incorporate. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces to a thick sauce.

We like to add a bit of flavor and lovely char marks while warming our tortillas (not required, but highly recommended). Place a tortilla right on the grate above the flame of a gas burner, then cook on medium heat for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until lightly blackened on the edges. Repeat for all tortillas.

If you don't have a gas range, arrange the tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil for about 1 minute per side.

To assemble the tacos, place some chopped romaine at the center of each tortilla, then add a large spoonful of the black bean mixture. Top with the pickled onions and hot sauce, if using. If desired, you can pour a small splash of the lime juice from the onion pickles onto each taco (but be conservative or you'll have a watery taco).

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 500 calories, 17 g protein, 18 g fat, 71 g carbohydrate (1 g sugar), no cholesterol, 430 mg sodium and 16 g fiber.

Food on 11/06/2019

Print Headline: Quick, easy black bean tacos are healthy, flavorful

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