Everybody loves tacos! The spice, the crunch and the easy assembly make them one of the most popular foods around. But now and then, I like to change the shape of my Mexican-inspired cravings. That’s when a cute little “taquito” starts to look really good.

Sometimes called a taco dorado, it’s similar to a flauta. “Taquito” translates to “little taco,” but it’s shaped differently. Basically, it’s a taco filling that’s been placed in a soft corn-tortilla, rolled into a cylinder, then fried. Flautas are often larger, and can be made with flour tortillas as well as corn.

Most restaurants deep-fry their taquitos, and then shower them with shredded cheese and a generous dousing of rich crema. At home, you can bake them and serve with a creamy avocado sauce. To lighten them up a bit without sacrificing any flavor, you can spritz the rolled tacos with a little oil before they are baked. Put out a bottle of hot sauce for the heat seekers.

This simple black-bean filling is made easier with a can of already prepared beans, but you can always cook dried beans, and measure out 1 ½ cups of the prepared ones for the recipe. Then simply sauté an onion, add some garlic, and mash the beans a bit to help hold the filling together. The fresh oregano really adds earthy herbal notes to the dish, but if you want to use dried, just use 1 teaspoon. Chipotle powder gives the beans a smoky kick.

When working with corn tortillas, be sure to warm them properly. It might seem simple enough, but if the tortillas are cold, they will split and tear when you roll them. There are many methods for working with tortillas, but I find that the microwave is convenient. Simply place a small stack of 4 to 6 of them on a small plate and microwave for 20 seconds. That will soften the rounds enough to fill and roll. A spritz with oil and a hot oven will do the rest. You may want to sprinkle some shredded cheese over the hot taquitos after they come out of the oven.


Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of “Big Vegan” and “Plant-Based Meats.” Find her at robinasbell.com.