Smoky Beans & Greens Tacos with Aji Verde

Smoky beans and greens tacos tucked together in a pan and topped with corn and Aji Verde sauce.

These tacos are just one long love letter to FLAVOR. ♡

Smoky chipotle black beans, sautéed with kale and garlic and spices, tucked into charred corn tortillas, topped with fresh, crisp sweet corn cut right off the cob, and smothered with too much (and yet never enough) aji verde.

As of lately I have been affectionately calling these guys “beans and greens tacos”, and OH MY GOODNESS, they are just so delightful. They appear humble with the black bean / kale vibes and a cutesy little name, but seriously, don’t sleep on these. They are a top summer recipe for me this year.

Smoky beans and greens tacos in a circular pattern on a plate and topped with Aji Verde sauce and corn.

Over the last few weeks these have been repeatedly served to myself, my husband, my toddler, and a random sampling of friends who happened to be over at dinnertime. Everyone has given them two thumbs up, and more importantly, everyone has confirmed what we all know in our hearts: that the real star here is the aji verde.

You Need To Know About Aji Verde

Aji verde is a spicy Peruvian green sauce, and it came into my life last year when I made it as a little drizzley drizzle for this plantain stew (um, incredible). Now here we are in the summer, when stew is out and tacos are in, so I’m revisiting the beloved aji verde for these beans and greens tacos. Because what’s a taco without a good sauce? Sad. That’s what it is. And we don’t do sad tacos. Enter: more aji verde.

Close-up of Smoky Beans and Green tacos on a plate with corn and Aji verde sauce drizzled on top.

What To Pile On Top Of These Tacos

As with all tacos, please, by all means, go big with your toppings. You know I will approve of the more-is-more mentality here. For one, I can confirm that avocado is killer. Slaw or some kind of pico would be excellent. Pickled red onions would truly make the angels sing. And the sweet corn that I generously scooped all over my tacos was a peppy nod to summer and all things sweet, fresh, and a little bit crunchy.

But really, all you NEED need for the base of these are:

  • Chipotle black bean and kale mixture (pictured in the pan below, looking spicy, mysterious, and delicious)
  • Aji verde x10
Smoky black bean filling with greens being stirred around in a pan with a wooden spoon.

Holy smoke show, these were so good. Three cheers for vegetarian tacos that you can look forward to eating and feel proud to serve to friends (aka self). YUM.

Smoky beans and greens tacos on a plate with corn and aji verde sauce being drizzled on top with a metal spoon.

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Smoky Beans and Greens Tacos: FAQs

I want to make my own enchilada sauce. Would that work here?

Absolutely! This is the best homemade enchilada sauce and is ready for you in 5 minutes. Seriously!

Is there a way to make this vegan?

Good news! It’s super easy to vegan-ize this recipe. Just swap out the regular mayo for a vegan mayo here.

Are these tacos spicy?

The tacos themselves have a lot of flavor, but they aren’t really spicy. The Aji Verde sauce on the other hand has some heat and punch to it, so if you don’t love spicy food, it’s probably best to limit how much green sauce goes on top of your tacos.

Source notes: Aji verde is a Peruvian green sauce. I based this version off the recipe from A Cozy Kitchen, which is my all-time go-to for this amazing, punchy, fiesty green sauce (with a few swaps based on what I usually have in my fridge). So yummy!


Smoky Beans and Greens Tacos with Aji Verde

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Three cheers for summertime eating! Smoky black beans, sautéed with kale and garlic and spices, tucked into charred corn tortillas, and topped with the best feisty, punchy green sauce – Aji Verde! 



Smoky Beans and Greens

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 23 cups shredded kale (no stems, please)
  • one 14-ounce can black beans
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce (I like this one)
  • 1 chipotle pepper, minced (or a sprinkle of ground dried chipotle spice)
  • salt to taste

Aji Verde

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 ounces of queso fresco (optional)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, with seeds and ribs to keep it spicy (remove for a mild version)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of salt (to taste)

Taco Extras

  • tortillas
  • fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob (frozen corn works too – just sauté in a hot pan for a few minutes or cook in microwave)
  • anything else you like on your tacos


  1. Make the aji verde: Blend aji verde sauce ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Cook the beans and greens: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add kale; sauté for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add beans, enchilada sauce, and chipotle. Season with salt. Simmer until the kale is very well-cooked and everything has taken on a roasty-tomato-chipotle kind of of vibe.
  3. Serve: Fill each tortilla with beans and greens, corn, and a heavy drizzle of aji verde sauce. Top with whatever else makes your heart happy. Mwah. So good.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Tacos
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Peruvian-Inspired

Keywords: black bean tacos, taco recipe, vegetarian tacos

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