Southwestern Black Bean Casserole

4.63 from 116 votes

Create your own Mexican restaurant in your house with this delicious meal!

Try this healthy, vegetarian-friendly casserole!

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.

4.63 from 116 votes

Southwestern Black Bean Casserole

Enjoy this delicious casserole with all the Mexican flavors we love.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 1 cup
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex


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


  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 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 for approximately 3 minutes. Add cumin, black pepper, salt, and cilantro; stir to combine.
  • 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.
  • Cover casserole dish with foil, and bake for 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.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 436mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 4g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4
Keywords Kid-Friendly, Vegetarian

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Gale Compton

Gale co-founded SkinnyMs. with a goal to provide women with delicious recipes, fitness routines, and ways to reach their ideal weight. Gale has been featured on the Today Show in which she won a cook off for the best Lasagna. Be sure to search for her winning recipe, Skinny Lasagna Rolls.

Guided by her firm belief in healthy eating and the power of exercise, Gale has written two cookbooks and several fitness ebooks. She earned her Fitness Training Certification from, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association. Gale loves to run with her dog Maggie and has completed numerous half-marathons.

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    1. 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.

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

  1. 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?

    1. 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

  2. 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?

  3. 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?

  4. Pingback: Southwestern Black Bean Casserole | Making It Real
  5. This sounds delicious! We are definitely making it this week! 🙂 One question: do the tortillas get soggy in this dish?

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

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

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

    1. That’s so weird, I barely had enough beans for two layers. It’s in the oven now, hopefully it’ll be enough with only two layers of tortilla!

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  12. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. We enjoyed this a lot. I have a question though. The broth doesn’t cook off so am I supposed to add that liquid into the casserole? In your video it doesn’t look like the broth is being used. Thank you.

  13. 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!

    1. 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! 🙂

  14. 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.

  15. So delicious! I made this in a covered skillet and used a can of diced tomatoes and added green pepper and onions since I didn’t have salsa. Sprinkled diced green onion on top with sour cream. We all loved it and didn’t miss the meat!

  16. me and my sister we really liked it. mom accidentliy put onions in the food.
    this is ZACHARY DAVIS (7 years old)5 stars

    1. Hi Zachary, You may be our youngest reader!!! I’m thrilled both you and your sister enjoyed the Casserole. Onions always add a touch more flavor to just about any recipe. You’ve got a smart mom. 🙂

      Please feel free to leave feedback anytime. Thanks again, Zachary. 🙂

  17. This came out really tasty and looked great, although my tortillas were a bit big for the casserole dish. Next time I’m going to add pepper jack and Colby jack to the cheese, because I can never stick to the amount of cheese as stated in a recipe, and cheddar on its own gets a bit oily. I also might add some sliced black olives into the mix.4 stars

    1. Heather, I like your suggestions and may try the olives next time. I’m so happy you enjoyed my recipe. 🙂

  18. Tasty, but dry. I’ll have to experiment with the amount of liquid. And I’m with Zachary’s mom…I added sautéed onions.

  19. I made it tonight. It was easy and tasty. I used corn tortillas and used 2 per “layer” so I’d have some in each bite.4 stars

  20. I wonder if it would work to use a layer of crispy corn chips or tortilla chips rather than the soft tortillas? I know they would get soft but wondered if anyone has tried that?

    1. Nina, You would need to double the ingredients. If you use a 9×13-inch pan, the cooking time would be the same.

  21. Loved this dish! I did add corn and some bell peppers since I had them left over. Turned out great.5 stars

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