Coconut-Lime Pork Tacos with Black Beans and Avocado

May 20, 2013

Test Kitchen-Approved

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 cheeseEmilyC

Food52 Review: 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

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 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
In This Recipe

Directions

  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.

More Great Recipes:
Taco|Mexican|Bean|Coconut|Cumin|Lime Juice|Milk/Cream|Oregano|Paprika|Pork|Pineapple|Avocado

Reviews (186) Questions (0)

186 Reviews

Lisa R. June 11, 2018
I am going to try it with flour tortillas next time.
 
Dara 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!
 
Author Comment
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.
 
Author Comment
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!
 
Author Comment
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!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC September 23, 2016
Wow, this sounds good!! Thanks so much for sharing this variation!
 
Michelle J. 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.
 
Author Comment
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.
 
Author Comment
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.
 
Author Comment
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!
 
Author Comment
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!
 
Author Comment
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!
 
Author Comment
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.
 
Author Comment
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!
 
Phyllis H. May 4, 2015
Wondering if ground beef would work as we don't cook with pork either. I'm the vegetarian in the family so will be trying with tofu or even Quirn crumbles
 
Author Comment
EmilyC May 4, 2015
Hi Phyllis -- How about ground turkey or chicken? I've made these several times with ground turkey and know firsthand that it's a good substitute. Not sure about beef, but it should work ok as well. You might need to be more assertive with the spices if you go the beef route. Report back if you try them!
 
Karen B. February 21, 2015
Loved this! Just the right of amount of "heat" for my husband who is a hot pepper wimp. And it was still spicy enough for me. I made it with the full amount of lime juice and chopped, rather than sliced, the garlic. Served on whole wheat tortillas.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 22, 2015
So glad the tacos were a hit! Thanks for trying them!
 
Sarah E. February 2, 2015
Just made these tonight - delicious! Will definitely make again. <br />Has anyone tried the recipe without pineapple juice, or an alternative?<br />Thanks!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 3, 2015
Great! Glad you liked them. I've made them with just lime juice and they're good that way, too.
 
NotTooSweet August 20, 2014
I made these tonight as a departure from the "same old tacos" we usually have and they were such a big hit! I will be stocking up on little cans of pineapple juice for the inevitable craving we will be getting soon to have these yummy tacos again! Thanks so much for the creative spin on an old favorite.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC August 20, 2014
You're quite welcome -- so glad to hear that you enjoyed them and plan to make them again!
 
Jaxmccaff August 14, 2014
I made these the other night and they were delicious and so easy. I accidentally put in too much coconut milk and had to simmer it down but the flavours still came through nicely. I used ground pork but could see using ground chicken or even crumbled tofu as well. Great recipe!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC August 14, 2014
Thank you -- so glad you liked them! And your accident is exactly the way I've been making them lately -- adding extra coconut milk so that they can lazily simmer away and hold longer on the stove.
 
Susan C. May 12, 2014
Made these the other night-fantastic recipe-husband loved it! Sort of Mexican/Thai fusion and it really worked. I can see why its a favorite-thanks for the recipe!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC May 12, 2014
You're welcome! So glad you tried and liked them!