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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC


Mesquite Red Bean Tacos


A zesty, bright red bean chili is tasty and has some kick, but it really comes to life wrapped up in fragrant fresh mesquite-masa tacos. Fun and easy to make and once you do, you will never be happy with brittle, tasteless commercial taco shells. Don’t wait until summer for a fiesta. These finger-linking tacos make any meal a celebration!  


Prep time 90 minutes      Cooking time 1 hour     Serves 4-5




Red Beans

1pound dried small red beans (or 3 cans of small red beans, preferably no-sodium)


1 dried ancho chile and one dried chipotle chile

1 Spanish onion, peeled, studded with a few cloves, sliced in wedges

4 cloves garlic

1 large carrot, cut in 1” lengths

2 stalks celery, cut in 1” lengths



1 medium-large red onion, diced

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

5 cloves garlic, minced

Splash of veggie broth (no sodium) or lager beer to deglaze

1 28-oz can or jar of whole San Marzano tomatoes (a.k.a. pomodori pelati)

1 ½ pounds mini bell peppers, roasted

1 serrano chile pepper, roasted

1 jalapeno chile pepper, roasted

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika or to taste

1 Tablespoon oil-free chipotles en adobo sauce (optional, and if you like the heat)

Juice of 1 lime

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2-3 Tablespoons of aka (red) miso, or to taste 1


12 masa-mesquite tortillas

1 banana or plantain to shape tacos



Sliced scallion

Sliced avocado

Cilantro leaves

Fresh salsa

Dollop of soy “sour cream” made from strained soy yogurt


1. Miso is a good salt alternative that helps to lower heart rate and does not raise blood pressure (,%2C%20including%20salt%2Dsensitive%20hypertension).





Rinse and soak dried beans overnight. Alternatively, add rinsed beans to a pot. Cover with water. Boil for two minutes, then cover the pot and steep for 45 minutes to an hour or until the beans sink.


Drain. Return beans to the pot and cover with water.  Add the dried chiles and aromatic veggies. Simmer on low until tender but intact and not mushy, usually 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the age of the beans.


Prep the Peppers and Green Chiles

On a grill or over a burner on the range, lightly char the mini peppers, serrano and jalapeño on all sides. As you do, they will soften and begin to collapse. Cut crudely in half-inch slices.



Dry sauté onions and oregano in a large stainless skillet until lightly caramelized.  Deglaze the pan.  Add the garlic, and the tomatoes and sauce, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon.  Simmer for five minutes.


Add the red beans and roasted peppers, stirring gently to combine.  Add smoked paprika and chipotles en adobo, if you like.  Cook for another 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.  Stir in the lime juice and black pepper.  


Remove the skillet from the heat. Dissolve the miso in a little water and add to the pan, stirring lightly to combine. Taste to correct any seasonings as you like.


Build the Tacos

Follow my recipe to mix and cook a batch of masa-mesquite tortillas.  As each tortilla comes off the skillet, wrap it around a banana or plantain to mold it into a U-shape. Place it in a very large bowl or basket, lined with a clean kitchen towel, and keep it well covered to allow the steam to soften them up.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.


Mound each warm taco with hot chili and garnish as you like!

Mesquite Red Bean Tacos

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