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I am about to tell you about my favorite thing to make for lunch. Are you ready? Excited? My favorite lunch to make for myself, something I’ve never made for anyone else (well, my husband once, but more on that soon), is this taco/wrap/whatever you’d like to call it with fresh spinach, mushrooms and black beans. (I sometimes eat the filling without any wrap, which is delicious as well, but you’ll need a fork.) For ease of writing, I will call them tacos, appropriate today since they were in a flour tortilla. They are so good. You get a punch of protein and a good amount of healthy greens in a yummy, filling, (usually) portable package.

So, why make them for lunch and not dinner? Well, the simple answer is that my husband, who is wonderful in too many ways to count, wrinkles his (adorable) nose and pouts whenever I cook with black beans. He picks at his dish infuriatingly and pushes half the food to the side, which is a pet peeve I am trying hard to overcome, but it is a pet peeve. Ugh. It’s the texture, he says, and stands fast by this conviction despite my creative attempts to disguise the beans with other foods he loves: cheese, salsa, pork, sour cream. Nothing works. And so it was a happy day for me when I discovered these tacos. I originally made this recipe from Epicurious but have refined it over the years, for both personal preference and quickness-to-make reasons, and I am sharing with you how I make them now. In my eyes, it is an ideal lunch: protein-rich, made from items I usually have on hand, easily adaptable to be vegan when I am hungry for just veggies (which was the case today) and also easy to make more decadent with the addition of cotija or queso fresco, sour cream and/or roasted peppers.

I have been working diligently to buy more beans in bulk and remember to soak and cook them so they’re available as meal add-ins, for the same reason that canned beans of different kinds are an invaluable pantry staple. I used my very last can of black beans today, and promptly made a note to pick up more, dry this time, so I can have my favorite lunch more often. Knowing I can make this if I have beans in the fridge will be a pretty strong incentive to soak and cook! You should give it a try, too.

Spinach, Mushroom & Black Bean Tacos (serves 1-2)

  • 1 tsp. grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 3 shiitake, button or cremini mushrooms, sliced*
  • 1 large handful of fresh spinach (about a cup?)
  • 1/2 c. cooked black beans
  • splash of fresh lime juice (1/4-1/2 tsp.)
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro to garnish
  • 1-4 tortillas (optional)
  • sour cream, cheese, roasted hot or sweet peppers to garnish (optional)

Warm your tortilla(s) in a toaster or other oven on a very low setting, about 200 degrees. While they warm, make your filling: in a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the green onions and mushrooms. Allow them to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 mins and then add the spinach to the pan and cover. When the spinach is wilted (about 2 mins.), add the beans and lime juice and stir everything together. Heat through, stirring to prevent sticking, then season with salt & pepper. Place your warmed tortilla(s) on a plate (I like one tortilla with lots of filling, but this is enough for up to 4 tacos) and divide the filling as you wish; top with a generous sprinkling of cilantro and any other desired garnishes. Enjoy your lunch, then check the fridge to see if you have enough beans for lunch tomorrow or need to soak and cook more.

*I used shiitake mushrooms today because they were the only mushrooms I had on hand, but I generally use cremini. I guess you could really use any variety you like with equally delicious results.