5 Minute Black Bean Taco Bowls from the Pantry + Freezer

These black bean taco bowls are truly ready in five minutes. They’re vegan if you like, gluten-free, whole food to the max, and largely sourced from your pantry and freezer. A dream come true. 


When using canned beans in salads, I like Goya brand, because the beans tend to be the perfect amount firm-tender. We find a lot of other brands to be a bit mushy.

Black bean taco bowls

I’m loving the back to school, back to life, back to reality routine this year. Compared to the summer, I find I’m:

  • Moving a lot more without trying (thanks, Fitbit, for making me feel like a hero for doing something I’m sure I’ve been doing every fall for years)
  • Getting a lot done
  • Eating a little better, and
  • Reconnecting with local friends and activities in the best possible way.

Dinners, though, get a little tricky at this time of year. Some nights we have multiple sports practices, choir rehearsals, meetings, you name it. We need good, healthy fuel for all these activities, but we don’t have a lot of time to prepare it.

Speaking of choir, am I preaching to it, or what? I know I’m not alone here. So I thought I’d share one of our frequent solutions, which I’ll insist on calling a taco bowl despite the “orange douchebag’s” recent attempt at ruining that term forever. (What? I’m only quoting here.)

Taco bowl just sounds so much more of-the-moment than taco salad, does it not? Taco salad sounds like something my 1980s hairdresser with the perm would have eaten after Jazzercise. Taco bowl sounds like something I can’t refuse.

Yes? Yes. 

5 Minute Black Bean Taco Bowls

These nutritious, colorful taco bowls are infinitely flexible and rely almost solely on pantry and freezer ingredients. They're a big hit with our whole family and have joined frittatas and simple pasta dishes in our heavy rotation on extra-busy weeknights. These ingredients would also make a great school- or take-to-work lunch layered in a thermos or jar. Just squeeze some lime on the avocado, if using, to prevent browning.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Serves Serves 4


  • 1 16-ounce package frozen corn, cooked in the microwave according to package directions and drained
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained*
  • 1 jar sliced Spanish-style olives with pimentos, drained
  • Shredded Romaine lettuce
  • Sliced scallions
  • 1 or 2 ripe avocados, sliced, if available
  • Jar of your favorite salsa
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Shredded sharp cheddar or other cheese, optional
  • Cholula or other hot sauce, optional
  • Lime wedges, optional


  1. We like to put all the ingredients in separate bowls in the middle of the table, stick a spoon or fork in each, and let everyone assemble their own taco bowl. You could make the bowls before serving if it's easier to manage -- just arrange a bit of everything in its own little pile in each bowl.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 416 Total Fat:: 11.2g Carbohydrates:: 67.9g Fiber:: 23.2g Protein:: 19.2g