Make Ahead

Coconut-Lime Pork Tacos with Black Beans and Avocado

May 20, 2013
16 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Tacos are a recurring weeknight meal for my family. One of our favorite versions is spiced ground pork with lime, pineapple, and black beans, piled high with diced avocado. It was only recently that I thought to add coconut milk to the mix. This one ingredient elevates the dish and plays really well with the other flavors. Similar to pork shoulder or loin braised in milk, simmering the ground pork in coconut milk infuses it with flavor and helps avert the typical dryness that comes with ground meat. This meal can go from kitchen to table in about 20 minutes, perfect for those nights when you don’t have a lot of time but crave (and deserve) an interesting, flavorful meal. Recommended toppings for the tacos include avocado, corn salsa, chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese —EmilyC

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: EmilyC has been charming us with recipes since the beginning -- this one is no different.
WHAT: A speedy taco that is much more than a vehicle for avocado and sour cream.
HOW: Brown the meat, toast your spices, pile everything in a tortilla. Wash down with a margarita.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The care that went into flavoring these tacos is what makes them wonderful. A serious, toasted spice blend gives them another dimension, and the lime and pineapple juices another still. Then everything gets tempered in a cloak of creamy coconut milk. We love tortillas, but we could eat this straight out the pan. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk, stirred (full-fat recommended)
  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice (I keep small cans on hand for this dish)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime
  • 2 cups or one 15 ounce can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Corn or flour tortillas, for serving
  • 1 1 large avocado, diced
  1. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a large pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until they’ve softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pan, and add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and cayenne. Let sizzle in the pan until they’re toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute, then stir well until the onions and garlic are evenly coated with the spices.
  2. Add the ground pork to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up any large chunks of pork and stirring occasionally, until the pork is just cooked through. Season with salt to taste. Remove any excess fat from the pan.
  3. Add the coconut milk; simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened, then stir in the black beans, pineapple juice and 1 tablespoon lime juice and cook for an additional minute or two. Taste and add more lime juice if needed. Adjust the seasoning to taste. You can serve right away, or cover the pan and let the pork gently simmer over low heat.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, divide the ground pork equally among lightly warmed flour tortillas. Serve with lots of avocado and other toppings of your choice.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • whym
  • JanetFL
  • linda
  • Christina D'Antoni
    Christina D'Antoni
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    Lisa Rikard Roll

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

192 Reviews

ashley November 8, 2022
I make this all the time! I actually use a boneless pork shoulder and leave it in the crock pot all day and shred it and add it back to the liquid. I make a fresh pineapple salsa to top it and it's SO good.
whym April 17, 2022
This recipe is SO good! I just finished eating the last of my leftovers and even though there are already 190 people singing its praises, I had to add my voice to the choir. If you're on the fence about making it-- do it. It's rich and flavorful, and it pairs so well with some cool avocado and a warm tortilla.
JanetFL January 22, 2022
Hi Emily! Just adding my two cents…again! We love this recipe and have loved it since you first posted it. Thank you…again! I hope all is well with you and your family.
linda January 22, 2022
This is a fabulous recipe, lots of flavor, easy to make & freezes well!
cosmiccook August 1, 2021
On the list for Taco Tuesday this week! Great use for both the fresh pineapple in the fridge AND frozen pineapple juice cubes (a must for cocktails--looking at YOU Chartreuse Swizzle)!
Christina D. February 3, 2020
Just came here to say I make this often and definitely recommend it! Mine comes out a little more liquid-y than I would like, but I just make sure to strain it with a slotted spoon. I like how much the meat itself has going on with the black beans and the tropical flavors. Sliced avocado is really all it needs! Which is much appreciated on a weeknight when I don't feel like prepping toppings.
Lisa R. June 11, 2018
I am going to try it with flour tortillas next time.
Mamasays March 3, 2018
Me and my kids made this together and let me say this, they are amazing! Super easy to make and a joy for the entire family. While the coconut lime flavor combination may seem a little strange at first. As soon as you try it you’ll immediatley change your mind. The flavor dynamic is really quite refreshing in this world where every recipe seems to be a clone of one another. Overall a great recipe!
EmilyC March 30, 2018
Thanks for your lovely comment, Dara, and sorry for just now responding! I'm really glad you liked these! I made them the other night myself (they're always a hit with my kids).
Alexandra M. July 25, 2017
These were amazing! My husband was a big fan, and it is hard to get good praise from my husband. He likes everything, but he only loves a few things! And they were so quick and easy to prepare. Added to the regulars list for me too!
Jennifer N. June 12, 2017
Love these! I got ahead of myself and mixed all the liquids and spices together then marinated diced pork loin for 3 hours. Served with coriander pickled red onions and my husband went crazy for them! Adding them to the regulars list.
EmilyC June 13, 2017
Hooray!! Thanks for trying them and circling back! : )
Donna H. September 24, 2016
Trying these tonight! Is it crazy to be excited for that?
Manny R. September 24, 2016
Only thing that would be crazy would be to not be excited. This dish is fantastic!
Manny R. September 24, 2016
Not sure my grammar was correct but you get this idea!
EmilyC September 25, 2016
Ahh, thank you both! Donna, I hope the dish didn't disappoint!
Jasmin R. September 22, 2016
My husband and I love this dish so much. I cook it every couple of weeks. We live in Brazil where the pineapple, limes, and coconut are especially really good and fresh. I love coconut everything, but have found I don't react well to coconut milk for some reason. I decided to switch it up a little tonight and was really happy with the results. I cut out coconut milk from the recipe altogether and added coconut flavor by heating up the soft tortillas in coconut oil. Instead, I cooked the onions/garlic/salt/pepper and then added 1/4 cup of tequila, reduced it down, and then followed the rest of the recipe as is. I think I added another 1/2 to 1 Tb of pineapple juice at the end with another 1-2 Tb of lime juice. The tequila complements the rest of the flavors so well. It was absolutely delicious!
EmilyC September 23, 2016
Wow, this sounds good!! Thanks so much for sharing this variation!
Michelle July 11, 2016
Great recipe! One thing though, there's chili powder in the ingredients list, but it's nowhere to be found in the actual recipe. I assume it goes in with the rest of the spices, but you might want to edit the recipe for clarity.
EmilyC July 11, 2016
Wow, great catch! I can't edit the recipe since it was a contest finalist, but I'll see if the editors can make that change for me. Thanks Michelle!
Caroline L. July 11, 2016
All set! Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention.
EmilyC July 11, 2016
Thanks Caroline!
Anouk S. May 24, 2016
So tasty! I didn't have any beans at home, so I used lentils, which turned out great too.
EmilyC May 24, 2016
Nice call on adding lentils -- sounds good! Thanks for trying these and reporting back Anouk!
Chastity G. April 15, 2016
I'm fairly new to cooking and my family LOVED these. Easy for an amateur cook and forgiving in the measurements. I browned the pork in the pan and then set it aside, cooking the onion in a bit of the pork fat -- I wasn't sure that (as the recipe is written) I'd be able to remove enough fat for my taste. Other than that, I followed the recipe pretty much exactly and it was a huge winner!
EmilyC April 15, 2016
Great -- I'm glad you and your family enjoyed these! Thanks for trying them and letting me know!
Nancy March 1, 2016
I've made this several times now and I love it each time. I have used ground beef, pork and turkey. They all work great. Was thinking ground beef wouldn't work but it was probably our favorite. I do add extra chile powder and cumin, but just about 2 tsp instead of 1 1/2. I serve over coconut rice, not tortillas. Since I hate having leftover coconut milk, I add more to dish to make it a bit soupier and use the rest to make coconut rice. Use equal amounts of coconut milk & water. I do 2:1 ratio of rice. I spoon the meat mixture over Cocunut rice, top with cheese, avocado and cilantro. Delish! BTW-I freeze leftover pineapple juice in 3 Tbsp increments so I'm ready to make this at any time.
aquarius March 1, 2016
Your rice sounds delicious. Leftover coconut milk does freeze well in a small Tupperware container.
NotTooSweet June 25, 2015
Made this for dinner last night - delicious! As instructed in the recipe, I tasted for salt/spices and did add a bit more of everything, otherwise made just as instructed. I used the leftover coconut milk in smoothies this morning - also delicious! Thanks for another terrific and easy recipe!
EmilyC June 26, 2015
That last step of tasting for salt/spices is key! So glad you tried and liked these!
lindsay June 9, 2015
Made this last night, it was fabulous. Used lettuce wraps instead of tortillas, highly recommended!
EmilyC June 9, 2015
Great idea! Thanks for sharing!
pennyolsen May 6, 2015
How does one know if recipe calls for refrigerated coconut milk or the stuff in the can?
linda May 6, 2015
I used the can and it was great
pennyolsen May 6, 2015
I use refrigerated daily so that's what I'm going to use. Hope it works.
pennyolsen May 6, 2015
BTW thank you Linda.
EmilyC May 6, 2015
Hi Penny -- I've never used refrigerated coconut milk, but I assume it's more watered down than full-fat coconut milk from a can. A few people have reported back that low-fat coconut milk doesn't work nearly as well (also too watery), so I'm not sure if you'll have good luck with the refrigerated variety or not. Hope this helps!
pennyolsen May 6, 2015
I am using refrigerated because that's what I have. I will post my results. Thank you for your response. I don't have use for a partial can......I use refrigerated on my cereal etc. It's delish.
Nancy C. May 4, 2015
Do you have any idea what the carbohydrate count is (cooking for a diabetic)? Many thanks!