Food/ Main Dishes/ Vegetarian

Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos

I just now realized that with Taco Tuesday being tomorrow, and Cinco de Mayo being Friday, this is a damn good day to post a taco recipe. It likely won’t compete with the margarita round-ups and enchilada recipes circulating the Web since this isn’t the most traditional of taco recipes, but I think some folks have lost sight of what certain traditions mean anyway; so maybe this plant-based twist has a chance after all.

While people in the US are eager to plan their Mexican-themed hooplas, Cinco de Mayo has seemingly taken on a different meaning to them: the celebration of Mexican-American culture (it’s also been mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day which is actually on September 16). While some use this holiday to slam back Coronas with lime and mow down tortilla chips while drunkenly swinging at piñatas (sorry for the finger-wagging, but bros…), Mexico remembers their unlikely victory over the French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862 with military marches, music, parades, and a lot of damn good food. Though anyone from any nationality is welcomed (and encouraged!) to commemorate, consider nixing the sombrero as some sort of funny accessory. Instead, take the opportunity to learn about Mexico’s history and appreciate the celebration for its national unity and patriotism!

Okay. Take this soapbox away.

Now. About these smokey and crispy plant-based tacos that have no relation to Cinco de Mayo…

Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos

Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos | Killing Thyme

My favorite thing about these bad boys is that they’re just as enjoyable in the heat of summer as they are in the dead of winter; the flavors are bright yet warming. They can also be thrown together in a snap! Once your chickpeas are all nice and toasty, game on.

I use an air-fryer to cook my chickpeas because it makes life easier. If you don’t have an air-fryer, definitely plan this a bit in advance so you can take the hour to roast your protein in the oven. It’s worth it, belieeeeeeve me. This taco recipe is actually quite similar to my now famous (thanks, Buzzfeed!) Taco Grain Bowl With Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas. <— I highly recommend giving that a go, too. Bowl meals are ah-mazing; especially when you’re a multi-tasker like me and work through your lunch break.

GARNISHES. You can obviously garnish your tacos with whatever the heck you want, but I like to keep it pretty simple in this recipe because I want the smokey chipotle flavor to be the star. I’ve found that just some Greek yogurt (or sour cream), diced tomatoes, chopped lettuce, julienned radishes, shredded cheddar, and a few smacks of chipotle hot sauce create perfection. Oh, and a spritz of fresh lime juice, obvi.

Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos | Killing Thyme Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos | Killing Thyme

Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme.
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Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos

These smokey plant-based tacos make a vegetarian's Taco Tuesday dreams come true. With crisp and fresh ingredients, these will ensure taco night happens more often.

Author Killing Thyme


  • 4 taco shells I used soft in this recipe; if you prefer hard shells, go for it.


  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle hot sauce more or less to your taste
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/3 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 tsp garlic salt

Toppings (amounts cary to your taste):

  • 4 TBSP greek yogurt or sour cream 1 TBSP per taco
  • A few splashes of chipotle hot sauce
  • 2 cups chopped or shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup julienned radishes
  • 4 TBSP shredded cheddar cheese 1 TBSP per taco
  • Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters



  1. Chickpeas can be cooked in an Actifry/air-fryer for approx. 15-20 minutes. If roasting in the oven, you will want to plan ahead.

Roasting in the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and very lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking oil.

  2. Place the chickpeas on a clean kitchen towel or a few paper towels and gently pat them dry. The dryer, the better.

  3. In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with 1 TBSP olive oil to coat.

  4. Add the chili hot sauce, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Mix thoroughly and ensure chickpeas are evenly coated.

  5. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.

  6. Bake, shaking the pan halfway through baking time, until the chickpeas are crunchy — approx. 50 minutes to 1 hour.

  7. Let them cool for at least one hour. The chickpeas will get crunchier as they cool. (Optional step.)


  1. Lay our your tacos and smear each taco with Greek yogurt or sour cream evenly; hit it with some chipotle hot sauce.

  2. Evenly distribute the chickpeas over the four tacos. You might have some leftover, and that's totally okay. They're fab for snacking.

  3. Top with your preferred garnishes, hit each taco with a squirt of fresh lemon juice, and dig in.

Crispy Chipotle Chickpea Tacos | Killing Thyme — These smokey and spicy tacos are packed with plant-based protein for vegetarian perfection. Fabulous for Taco Tuesday, or any other day your belly wants tacos.

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  • Reply
    Justine @
    May 9, 2017 at 8:34 pm Weirdly enough, I've NEVER thought to put chickpeas in a taco! This is such a brilliant recipe -- and nice and light too. I'll likely be giving this a go this spring / summer and will be sure to report back! Gorgeous photos, too lady love!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 17, 2017 at 10:42 am Thanks so much, girl! I don't really know what made me think to put chickpeas in tacos. Back in the winter, we were making Thursdays "Taco Thursday" (in addition to — not instead of — Taco Tuesday, just to be clear ;)). It must have been a case of finding a good protein for my tacos in a pinch, and I happened to have these bad boys on hand. Definitely report back; I'd love to know what you think!
  • Reply
    May 8, 2017 at 12:43 am I love this photo...just so visually appealing. This recipe would be so easy to make vegan and I think that's just what I'm going to do! Pinned too YUM!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 17, 2017 at 10:39 am Thanks so much, Bernice! Yep, this recipe can totally be made vegan. Let me know how it goes, please!
  • Reply
    May 5, 2017 at 2:05 pm Thank you for the history lesson! Literally did not know any of this.... This recipe looks fantastic. Chickpeads with those spices would be amazing! Do you have a preferred soft taco shell? I am constantly disappointed with them, EVEN WHEN I WAS IN MEXICO (sorry, I was quite passionate about this...) and I am at a loss...
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 17, 2017 at 10:38 am Haha, you're welcome ;) I usually get Mission's soft shells. They're always so pillowy and soft, and they seem to stay that way for weeks!
  • Reply
    Lisa [ The Viet Vegan ]
    May 5, 2017 at 1:40 pm Thank you for sharing the background of Cinco de Mayo, TBH I never really post about it because I never knew about it really XD Air frying chickpeas sounds really interesting! Are they crispy all the way through or is it just like crisp on the outside and tender on the inside? I'm so intrigued!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 9, 2017 at 9:17 am Thanks, Lisa! I felt the need to make mention of it simply because I've come across so many round-ups where people were sort of bastardizing Mexican dishes to celebrate the day in the whitest of ways (taco pizzas, buffalo chicken nachos, etc.) and eh, I mean, I know not everyone knows the history of such events but I do believe that as food bloggers, we have a responsibility to at least do our homework and respect a culture's cuisine and celebrations. I received a pitch from a PR company about switching things up for Cinco de Mayo by making spaghetti tacos. SPAGHETTI TACOS. WHUT. Anyway, /endrant. Lol. And UGH air-fried chickpeas forever! The exterior is crispy, and the interior is… kind of? It's not mushy, anyway. When I first heard of crispy chickpeas I thought the whole friggin' thing would be one big crunch and was so excited. After much experimenting though, I've come t learn that it's probably impossible to get the whole center into a crisp because of it's natural texture, but this is as close as I've gotten.
  • Reply
    May 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm First of all, beautiful pictures, Dana!! Next, the flavors of these tacos... Wow! I'm loving everything about them, from the smokey chipotle to the crispy chickpeas. We would sprinkle parsley on top, just like you, cilantro in our place is not really appreciated ;-) . We made fish (haddock) tacos last night, but next time we're making tacos I want to make these, I just adore chickpeas! :-)
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 5, 2017 at 5:03 pm Thank you so much! Haha, I'm you know, us cilantro haters seem few and far between; I felt so much better once I learned that it's a genetic predisposition. At first, I couldn't understand how anyone could eat (let alone enjoy) that damn herb. Once I found out that it tastes different to us folks who have the cilantro-hating gene, it made sense. I'd love to know what it tastes like for everyone else, but hey, parsley it is! Haddock tacos sound fabulous. I need to make some fish tacos soon. I'm excited for you to try these, though! Definitely let me know what you think!
  • Reply
    May 5, 2017 at 10:56 am Yup, this is right up my alley, any day of the week! Love soft tacos, and love chickpeas, so this = winning combo! Tacos are kinda similar to bowl meals, except the bowl is a taco... Yum... Just pile allll the veggies in it! MMmmm!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm Yesssss — though bowl meals are less messy, once you perfect the art of eating a taco, it's a breeze. And I mean, soft taco shells are just so delish, especially when they're fresh and pillowy, ugh.
  • Reply
    May 5, 2017 at 10:53 am I'm always looking for new taco recipes for 'taco tuesday' and I am in love with these! I never even thought of using the Actifry for chickpeas, what a wicked idea! Can't wait to try this out next week!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm I love when I hear about others celebrating Taco Tuesday — my husband and I got for tacos *every* Tuesday. We have an amazing taco joint right by us! Let me know how these turn out for you, k? :)
  • Reply
    The FoodOlic
    May 5, 2017 at 10:04 am Damn girl! This recipe sounds soooo crunchy and good! For the chickpeas... I don't have an air-fryer but I'm sure the oven can do fine too no? or dehydrator better? Oh! and thanks for the short history lesson... I always thought it was their national day... shame on me...
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 5, 2017 at 10:29 am Thanks, Marie! These are hella robust and incredibly nummy. I've never used a dehydrator, but I'd definitely look into dehydrating chickpeas, because that just might work! Otherwise, you can roast them in the oven (instructions are included on the recipe card), it just takes a little longer if you want them crispy. Though I will say, even less crispy, these tacos are still great. And hey, no shame.
  • Reply
    Natalie Browne
    May 5, 2017 at 9:21 am Just as I was mulling over what type of tacos to make tonight, I saw your recipe. I'm going to give these a go tonight. They look delicious and a nice change from my typical Lentil tacos
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      May 5, 2017 at 10:26 am Awesome! Let me know how it goes, Nathalie! I love these gems; they're so smokey and delish.
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