Southwestern Black Bean Casserole

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Our Southwestern Black Bean Casserole is a healthy way to enjoy Mexican food. This tasty casserole isn’t exactly unique. After all, many Mexican recipes contain vegetables and black beans. Where this dish pulls away from the pack is the ingredient choices. Those other Mexican dishes are usually filled with saturated fat and calories, both from the meat and the excess use of cheese and sour cream. Unfortunately, if you’re trying to eat healthy to lose weight, adding those tasty ingredients to your dishes simply isn’t an option. Never fear: You can satisfy all your cravings for Mexican food in a nutritious way with this healthy casserole! Our recipe lets you enjoy all those Mexican flavors without worrying about calories, saturated fat, or unhealthy ingredients.

Not only that, but this dish is super fast and easy to make, too. It’s perfect for those weeks where you need to meal prep and get everything ready in advance. You can assemble the casserole when you have time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it for dinner. Or, go ahead and cook up a big batch on the weekend, cut it into individual portions, and refrigerate or freeze the servings. A quick reheat in the microwave or the oven and you’ll have lunch (or, dinner) ready to go! Even when you make it in advance, this Southwestern Black Bean Casserole tastes so great, you won’t believe it’s actually healthy!

Perfect for Meatless Monday

Legumes are an excellent source of protein and are often eaten in vegetarian diets as an alternative to animal protein. Even if you are not a full-fledged vegetarian, it’s fun to mix things up a little and serve a meatless dish like this on occasion. Your family will love this casserole and will happily abide by your desire to serve vegetarian dishes once or twice a week for dinner.

This vegetarian dish works because it gives you everything you need. It’s full of protein-packed black beans, savory salsa, and flavorful spices like smokey cumin and herbaceous cilantro. Put it all together with heart-healthy whole wheat tortillas and melted cheddar cheese and you definitely won’t miss the meat!

We love it when we find a recipe that allows our readers to enjoy their favorite dishes, but without the fat and calories. Cleaned up versions of popular dishes are great to have in your collection of recipes. Looking for other ideas? Our Skinny Mexican Rice is a perfect side dish for this recipe. You might also enjoy these other healthy side dishes.

Southwestern Black Bean Casserole

healthy casserole

Yield: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1 cup | Calories: 259 | Total Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 436mg | Carbohydrates: 40g | Dietary Fiber: 9g | Sugars: 4g | Protein: 12g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4 |


  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 low-sodium whole-wheat tortillas, optional 6 corn tortillas
  • 12 ounces salsa, no added sugar
  • 1 cup shredded 2% Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Drain beans, and set aside. In the meantime, in a medium skillet, add oil; heat over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add black beans and broth, and continue cooking approximately 3 minutes. Add cumin, black pepper, salt, and cilantro; stir to combine.
  3. Spray the bottom of an 8x8-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Add a tortilla, 1/4 black bean mixture, 1/4 salsa, and 1/4 cheese; continue layering until all ingredients have been used. Top casserole with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  4. Cover casserole dish with foil, and bake approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly. Remove foil, and continue cooking 8–10 minutes. Remove from oven, and garnish with non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream, if desired.

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53 Comments on "Southwestern Black Bean Casserole"

  1. Angel Gainey Eicher  July 28, 2012

    Any idea if using dried (soaked beans) will add cooking time?

    • Skinny Ms.  July 28, 2012

      Angel, I wouldn't recommend using presoaked beans…they won't have enough time to cook while the casserole is in the oven. Feel free to cook your own beans and use in the recipe.

  2. guest  July 28, 2012

    this looks like a great side dish.  What would you serve as the main entree with this?

    • Skinny Ms.  July 28, 2012

      Darcien007, We serve this as the entree. It pairs well with a side of Mexican rice!

  3. Mdsmith  July 28, 2012

    Think this would work the same with corn tortilla's for those of us who are Celiac thus GF?

    • Skinny Ms.  July 28, 2012

      Mdsmith, That's a great idea! Thanks…I'll add the option to the recipe. 🙂

  4. Jennifer Yoder  July 28, 2012

    Would I omit the chicken broth if I want to omit the tortillas?

    • Skinny Ms.  July 29, 2012

      Jennifer, No…just reduce to 1/3 cup.

    • Skinny Ms.  July 30, 2012

      Jennifer, Hmmmmm…have never made this particular recipe w/o the tortillas. Yes, there would be no real need for the broth.

  5. Jennifer R  August 3, 2012

    Do you think this would work well as a prep ahead and then pull it out of the frig, let it warm up and then cook?

    • Skinny Ms.  August 4, 2012

      Jennifer, Do it all the time. We're all so busy, great idea!

  6. Lldeiparine  August 10, 2012

    Made this yesterday. It was easy and tasty.

  7. Vanessa  August 12, 2012

    made this the other night and it was a huge hit!

  8. Stacy  August 12, 2012

    Great recipe that is easy and healthy.

    • Courtney  July 25, 2019

      If I only have one can of black beans, would adding pinto beans be ok? Or would it change the flavor profile too much? Thanks

      • Gale Compton  July 28, 2019

        Courtney, Pinto beans work well too. It does change the flavor but only slightly.

  9. Michellepearson0  August 12, 2012

    YUMMY! Favorite recipe!!

  10. Julie  September 7, 2012

    I would serve this as a main dish. Any ideas for a side? Spanish rice? What would be in a green salad that would complement it?

    • Skinny Ms.  September 8, 2012

      Julie, Spanish rice would be yummy. I'll send you a quick and easy recipe. 🙂

    • Skinny Ms.  September 8, 2012

      Julie, Email me and I'll give you a good recipe for Mexican Rice.

  11. Moriah S Pulver  September 8, 2012

    it worked great with corn tortillas. you should try it if you haven't already

  12. Skinny Ms.  September 11, 2012

    Moriah, Thanks for the feedback.

  13. Karen  October 4, 2012

    Jennifer, I'd like to make this for a party. I already made it once and it was delicious. Did you try it as a prep ahead? Was it good, or did the tortillas get soggy?

  14. Pingback: Southwestern Black Bean Casserole | Making It Real

  15. Ashley  February 11, 2013

    This sounds delicious! We are definitely making it this week! 🙂 One question: do the tortillas get soggy in this dish?

    • Skinny Ms.  February 11, 2013

      Good question 🙂 They do not, and we know you will love the dish!

      • Jessica  March 20, 2019

        My tortillas taste like noodles. Should it cook longer?

        • Nichole Furlong  March 21, 2019

          Hi Jessica – no do not cook the casserole longer, this should be more lasagna like!

  16. Laura  February 13, 2013

    This has become one of my favorite recipes. It's so fast and easy, and it's hard to believe the ingredients are so healthy, because it is GOOD! Thanks so much!

  17. Amanda  March 12, 2013

    Just made this casserole and it is delicious! Do you think you could freeze individual portions of it after it's cooked? I am the only one in my house who eats mexican food, so I would love to freeze some portions of this casserole for another day.

    • Skinny Ms.  March 13, 2013

      Amanda, Yes, just make sure to let it cool first.

    • SkinnyMs  March 6, 2014

      Yes, casseroles and beans freeze very well, so this should hold up just fine.

  18. Jaclyn Womack  May 13, 2013

    I make something similar and I've found cutting the tortillas into 1 inch wide strips makes service a little easier.

  19. cissy oldner  August 25, 2013

    does this work well frozen?

    • Skinny Ms.  August 26, 2013

      Classy, I’ve never frozen this casserole. You could try freezing after adding to the dish, and thaw before baking. Keep us posted! 🙂

  20. ash  February 1, 2014

    i made this and i really don't think you need 2 cans of beans. i have a ton of beans left over

  21. Rach  March 1, 2016

    This recipe is a winner! Super easy and delicious 🙂

    Here’ my augmented version with added veggies:
    1 can black beans
    1-2 c frozen corn toasted
    1 can mexican tomatoes (used less salsa)
    I also added a sm yellow pepper to onion during saute

    I used a round casserole dish and med size tortillas that fit it almost perfectly, turned out perfect.

  22. Renee  October 26, 2016

    Love your recipes! Do you have a cookbook?

    • Kym Votruba  October 27, 2016

      We’re so happy that you enjoy them, Renee! We do have several cookbooks that we hope you’ll like equally as much.

  23. Emily Jordan  March 21, 2018

    I plan to just prep this, freeze it, and cook it later. Will that work, or do I need to cook it first and then freeze it?

    • Gale Compton  March 21, 2018

      Emily, I recommend prep, freeze, then defrost in the fridge before baking.

  24. Jamie  June 9, 2019

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight. I didn’t have any tortillas so I used the multigrain flatbread that I had. Otherwise, I made it exactly as directed. I saw that it has six servings and after I cut it into 6 pieces I thought this won’t fill me up, but I was wrong-it did. One serving and I was full and I couldn’t even eat the salad I made. My husband and I really liked it and I will be making this recipe again. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Gale Compton  June 10, 2019

      Jamie, YEAH!!! I’m super happy you all enjoyed the recipe. By the end of summer, we will have a way to save all your favorite recipe on the site. 🙂

  25. Mary  June 21, 2019

    Wow. So, so good. I’m on WW and it’s great to find a large, delicious portion that is low in points. Thank you!

    • Nichole Furlong  June 22, 2019

      You’re very welcome, glad you enjoy the recipe!

  26. Sandy Bowling  August 9, 2019

    any idea of length of time to do this in a instant pot??

    • Nichole Furlong  August 10, 2019

      Hi Sandy, we would not recommend this recipe for the Instant Pot. There is not enough liquid in the recipe for the pot to seal correctly.

  27. Lisa  October 1, 2019

    Lots of confusion if we use corn tortillas do we need to leave out the broth?

    • Nichole Furlong  October 6, 2019

      No, the corn tortillas are an option for those who prefer them or for a gluten free option.

  28. Hannah  February 18, 2020

    Would you be able to add shredded chicken to the recipe to make an all around main dish with meat? If so, how would you change the process? Thanks! Looks yummy and excited to try!

    • Gale Compton  February 19, 2020

      Hannah, Definitely! Add shredded chicken to the mixture and layer as instructed. I would add about 1 cup, but that’s
      up to you. Enjoy! 🙂

  29. Karen Havling  August 25, 2020

    I wonder how this would work in a crock-pot? It would be a great addition to work pot-lucks. I may have to give it a try.

    • Gale Compton  August 26, 2020

      Karen, I think it would work well, it just won’t take long to cook in a slow cooker.


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