I'm all for eating more vegetables, but I usually click away from nutrition-focused websites spouting "healthy" recipes. But as I searched for meals with kale and black beans, this recipe for black bean and kale tacos from Delicious Living just kept popping up. It was a fairly straightforward recipe, but with some incredible kale from the farmers' market and some freshly made black beans, I figured I could make it work. My goal was to unhinge the tame recipe by adding stronger flavors and maybe just a bit of lard.
What I ended up with was surprisingly filling and meaty for a meal based on greens and beans. This was achieved largely with that healthy dose of good quality lard. Say what you will—lard is such an easy way of adding a meaty boost to dishes that don't have any actual meat. I always have some hanging around my fridge. If you really don't want rendered pork fat in your meal then geez, I don't know, maybe some duck fat, beef tallow, or chicken schmaltz would work, too.
Anyway, though the lard helps flesh out the dish, the real star here is the kale, which still retains some crunch and texture. I was worried this would just turn to mush after a few minutes because of the black beans, but it luckily didn't. The beans just soak up the flavors, and the jalapeños and hot sauce add the kick.
- 2 tablespoons lard
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 head kale, washed, and tough stems removed, and roughly chopped
- 15 ounces cooked black beans
- 4 ounces queso cotija (or other crumbly Mexican cheese)
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
- 2 to 3 pickled jalapenos, chopped
- Hot sauce
- 8 to 10 corn tortillas
- Salt and pepper
Melt the lard in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent and tender. Add the garlic and cumin, and cook for another minute.
Add the kale to the skillet. Toss the kale to coat in the fat, and then cover the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the top, stir, and check a bit of kale to see if it is done. If it is still tough, add a tablespoon of water, recover, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Dump in the beans, and cook until they are warm. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, warm the tortillas on another skillet set over medium-high heat, about 5-10 minutes a side.
Spoon some of the kale and bean mixture onto a tortilla. Top with a sprinkling of cheese, pickled jalapeños, some cubed avocado, and a dash of hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.