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Cheesy Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Casserole

This healthy Mexican quinoa casserole is the perfect weeknight dinner – Just mix the ingredients together and throw it into the oven!

quinoa dinner
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With just 5 minutes of prep work, you could even try it out for dinner tonight!

The recipe is super easy to make and is sure to satisfy both meat eaters and vegetarians.

High in protein, it’s a meatless meal that’s filled with superfoods such as black beans, quinoa, and red peppers, yet tastes like pure comfort food at the same time ♥.

The best part is that you don’t need to cook the quinoa beforehand, which saves you time and also means fewer dishes to clean.

Serve it in bowls or on plates – the casserole is firm enough to slice into squares.

It also makes a delicious savory breakfast!

cheese quinoa
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I adapted this quinoa casserole from an unlikely source: Banana Bread Quinoa Breakfast Bars.

Proof I do sometimes think about other things besides chocolate and dessert. The recipe takes just three easy steps, which I’ve posted below with accompanying photos.

Step-By-Step Photos:

cropped ingredients

Step One:

Gather all of your ingredients.

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350 F.

quinoa ingredients

Step Two:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Stir together until well-mixed, then spread the quinoa mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

vegan quinoa
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Step Three:

Bake 28 minutes on the oven’s center rack.

Turn off the heat, and let sit in the closed oven to firm up. Serve hot, or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Leftovers can be refrigerated 3-4 days.

black bean casserole
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While I’ve only made this quinoa casserole as listed, please feel free to experiment with other ingredients or spices.

You can try substituting chopped carrots for the corn, zucchini for the bell pepper, white beans or even lentils for the black beans, or perhaps even rice for the quinoa.

Leftover beans? Make these easy Black Bean Burgers

Chocolate Covered Katie Vegan Dinner

With any recipe, whether it be mine or someone else’s, it’s always a good idea to make the recipe exactly as written the first time so you know what it’s supposed to taste like.

Then you can experiment and see how using different ingredients changes the taste and texture of the recipe.

Edible experiments can be a risk, but sometimes that risk pays off big time!

In this particular case, I took a risk by adapting a dessert recipe to make a savory one… and I could not be happier with the results.

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Cheesy Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Casserole

This healthy quinoa casserole is the perfect vegetarian weeknight dinner, and leftovers are great for meal prep.
4.84/5 (55)
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 can black beans, or 1 1/2 cups cooked
  • 1 can corn, or 1 1/2 cups cooked
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned or fresh
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup cheese, such as Daiya vegan, OR nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch pan with parchment paper, and set aside. Drain the beans and corn. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until well-mixed. Spread into the prepared pan, and bake on the center rack 28 minutes. Without opening the oven door even a little, turn off the heat and let the casserole sit in the closed oven for an additional 25 minutes. Remove, and serve. The casserole will firm up more overnight as well – store leftovers covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.
    Instant Pot Version: Add an extra 1/2 cup of water and set it to manual for 8 minutes. Thanks to reader Louise who came up with this version and left a comment to let us know it can be made in an instant pot!
    View Nutrition Facts

Have you made this recipe?

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More Healthy Savory Recipes:

The Best Easy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

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Lentil Soup Recipe

Lentil Soup Recipe

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Cauliflower Mac And Cheese Recipe

Cauliflower Mac And Cheese

Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

Sweet Potato Salad

Veggie Burger Recipe

Veggie Burger Recipe

Blog Update:

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There are some exciting things coming to the blog in the next few months, including a brand new ebook coming out very soon that may or may not be 100% devoted to breakfast recipes! I’ve also hired a full-time media director and updated the FAQ page:

FAQ About Katie

4.84/5 (55)

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Published on September 19, 2016

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117 Comments

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  1. Emily says

    A healthy dinner that takes only a few minutes to prepare, makes very few dirty dishes, and tastes great? What kind of demons do you summon to come up with these things, becuase they can’t be natural!!! 😉 I can’t wait to try this!

  2. Alys says

    I love these kinds of recipes! I live alone and I like to cook something that I can eat for dinner for about 4 nights. I don’t really get sick of things, so this will be a good addition to my regular rotation. And who doesn’t love a casserole??

  3. Whitney says

    Thanks for the new recipe, Katir! Looks wonderful!
    I can’t wait for your next cookbook!!! But, I’m a little confused; I thought you said the next one will contain a savory dish section?
    Well, no biggie. Just curious. I’m still gonna buy it! 😀 Thanks!

  4. Cecilia says

    Anyone made this dish at home yet? I’m curious how the quinoa comes out without cooking it first. Thanks!
    Otherwise this dish looks delicious and I already have everything for it in my pantry!

    • Catherine J says

      Hey!! Just took it out of the oven. It probably could have used a stir half way through…because the quinoa on top didn’t open up…but most of it did!! This is super tasty! Can’t wait to see it after it sits over night! Yum!!

      • Julie Dove says

        I haven’t made this yet, but it sounds like the Stirring it sounds like the extra texture of the few pieces that don’t pop might offer a fun texture to the dish. Otherwise, stirring it like Catherine said also sounds like a great idea.

      • Ken says

        It tasted great but the quinoa didn’t open at all and the whole dish was soupy. I’m a novice and couldn’t spell keenwah a month ago. I’ll keep trying.

    • Allison says

      The quinoa in the photo looks uncooked to me. There is not enough liquid in the recipe to get it thoroughly cooked. Seeing as I am not a fan of uncooked quinoa, if I were to make this, I would precook the quinoa in my rice steamer.

      • Julie Dove says

        Reporting back: It might not seem like it, but there IS definitely enough liquid to cook the quinoa through. I made the recipe last night and the quinoa came out soft and fluffy just as if I’d precooked it, except I didn’t have to! 🙂

        • Cecilia says

          I’m here to report back. I made the casserole and it was delicious! A hit with my partner too. The quinoa on top definitely looked crunchy and undercooked when I pulled it out of the oven, but the quinoa on the inside looked all opened up and cooked. I covered it and put it in the fridge overnight to portion out for weekday work lunches and when I microwaved them at work and then ate them I didn’t notice any crunchiness at all.
          So though I had my doubts the short answer is, yes, it works to not cook the quinoa first. 🙂

    • Jo says

      I followed the instructions but used canned tomatoes instead of fresh and only partially drained them. I thought it was going to be too wet but was happy that it didn’t spill over. I am surprised that my quinoa did not cook – I thought it was just the quinoa on top, but when I stirred it the quinoa in the middle wasn’t cooked either… I think next time I will precook it and maybe omit the water and see how that turns out.

    • DiB says

      Yes. I ve made a few times. I now cook quinoa before adding it to the mixture. It s worth having to clean an extra pot. Also, I have omitted quinoa and used brown rice I stead.

  5. wanita says

    I’m in UK, what would be a substitute cheese type for that vegan cheese in the recipe please? (It doesn’t need to be vegan for me) is it a cream cheese type? Maybe a sour cream?

    • Sarah says

      How did you double it? Did you make it in a 13×9 and how long did you cook it for/let it sit in the oven for afterward to let it firm up?

    • Julie Dove says

      As Katie mentioned in the post, you can feel free to experiment with substitutions as long as you are okay with taking a risk, and be sure to report back if you do try substitutions.

    • Sara says

      Nancy, I haven’t tried this yet but maybe the Nomato sauce from the blog “Southern In-Law” could work here? It seems very versatile.

  6. Sherri says

    This sounds fabulous, with all the allergies in this family and all I have to do is chop up carrots to replace the corn! I’m in heaven and can’t wait to try it…..have to go to the store, we are out of black beans.

  7. Hannah says

    We made this last night for dinner and were so excited to have leftovers for breakfast this morning. It was so delicious. My quinoa didn’t come out as tender as I would have liked, but it could just be our oven. Perfect weekly dinner or breakfast casserole with a fried egg added to the top.

  8. Vanessa Williams says

    Hi Katie,
    I”m a TX fan and follower. We have some similar stories, as I’m sure you here often. I wanted to thank you today for sharing and let you know what it means to so many. I don’t often get to try each of your recipes, but those I am able to make are always so good. Today I’m thanking you because money that was supposed to come in didn’t. We used pretty much our last basics for last nights meak, which turned out horribly gross. Leaving no left overs for today. We weren’t concerned since money was supposed to come in, no biggie right.? This morning, no money in our account meant no grocery shopping for much needed necessaties. Reading my email, I see your latest blog. Reading the list of ingredients…I have just enough (or at least most of enough) of most ingredients to make this! I’m so thankful. God has once again used you to give us a creative way to use what we have. I know I’m not alone in reminding you how God uses your blogs to love on his children. Thank you for being consistent. In sharing and creating. Keep it up! Thank you!

  9. Mona Sigler says

    Looks amazing. Just wondering, recipe says to prepare pan with parchment but photo with removed chunk does not show parchment paper. I will definitely try it this week! I will use 4% Allegro cheese.

  10. Karin says

    This looks really great, I am going to try it for tea on Friday. Can you please let me know if you drain the beans or add them with their liquid?

    Katie, I love your blog, I have been following it now for a few years; its where I get all my great oatmeal recipes and ideas.
    I also loved your blog about starting a blog, it is something I have always wanted to do and you have made it look so easy, I am still a little nervous about starting tho.

  11. Alpine Pedestrian says

    I just made this. Instead of baking it, I tossed everything but the cheese into the slow cooker for two hours. Plus, I used 2 C of water instead of just 1 C. I prefer my quinoa a little more tender. I sprinkled the grated cheese on top of my bowl of it. Very good!

  12. Rebecca says

    I made this today – it’s very good. It came out a little watery unlike the banana one but maybe that was because I used frozen corn and a full can of crushed tomatoes. Anyways it’s very yummy. I left out the cheese and I substituted Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasonings instead of the chili powder and cumin. Next time I will try it with fire roasted tomatoes and less water. Thanks for another great recipe!

  13. Payal says

    Hi, Its look so good. I love this because its contains my all favorite flavors. I haven’t tried this in home. Today i will try this thanks for sharing this Katie.

  14. Michelle says

    Has anyone tried to make this using a nutritional yeast/cashew-type replacement for the cheese? I can’t get myself to eat daiya or any fake cheeses, so I usually just leave it out. I saw that Katie mentioned using nutritional yeast, and would love to hear if any one has had success with that (not to mention, what/how much they used). Thanks!!

  15. Carolyn says

    I accidently made this without the cheese… still so good, obviously would be even better with the added cheese. Next time I make it, I’ll be sure to add the cheese and I’m thinking it needs a bit more spice for my taste. Thanks for this easy, one pot meal!

  16. Corrie says

    I made it with nutritional yeast. It was soo good! I didn’t drain the beans. A bit watery out of the oven but great flavor! My family loved it!

  17. Cassie says

    There’s nothing worse than having four different bowls to wash after you make something! I love that these giant one-dish recipes are so easy to prepare yet taste amazing. I could have this casserole any time of the day!

  18. Debbie says

    I made this not with nutritional yeast but with homemade “cheese” sauce because I really don’t like Daiya. It worked out well! (There is nutritional yeast in the sauce mix however – carrots, potatoes, yeast and seasonings.)

  19. Bobbi Dwyer says

    So, it’s just come out of the oven and I stole a spoonful to cool off & taste. Oh, yummy!
    Changes I made (nothing major) 1 cup of vegetable broth instead of water. Green pepper instead of red (it doesn’t say “red” in the recipe & I didn’t look at the pictures), and 5 slices of Chao “creamy original” vegan cheese (cause that’s what I had) instead of Daiya. Tim’s gonna love it. Thanks!!!

  20. Creek Chubb says

    Didn’t have quinoa, used barley instead. Added 1lb of seasoned ground beef. Did one 1tsb of chili powder and 1tsb of extra hot mexican chili powder and added a 1/4tsb of lime salt. It was delish, also had to cut back on the water added

  21. Laura says

    Hi Katie! I just took this bake out of the oven and it is soo delicious! The ingredients are so wholesome, which I really appreciate 🙂 I made enough for the week and cannot wait to continue to enjoy it. Thank you so much for putting together such a yummy and nutritious recipe. Sending lots of love your way

  22. Lisa Kokx says

    I made this for dinner tonight. I forgot to turn the heat off after 28 minutes so I ended up baking it for 50 minutes before I realized my mistake. It was a little brown around the edges but otherwise turned out great! At least the extra time made it firm up nicely. I’ll definitely make this again.

  23. Aleena says

    Literally made this so many times since you posted this recipe! such a hit at home, there’s never any left overs 🙂 I look forward to even more savory options from you <3

  24. Betty-Ann Augustine says

    I tried this recipe today and it was delicious. I took it to work and shared it with a couple friends who were amazed at the taste….I think it’s the cumin….lol. My only substitute was that I used cream-styled corn for whole kernel corn, which is what I had on hand. And since I had all the other ingredients, I didn’t think it should have mattered too much. The next time I make this dish, I’ll add some cheese on the top, sprinkled with some breadcrumbs for an extra crunch. Thanks for the work you put in. This will be a definite hit with my vegan friends!

  25. Debbie says

    I make this over and over – it’s a great casserole for a pot luck or serving mixed company – vegan and non-vegan. When just eating at home (all vegan) we still make this because it’s easy and always turns out great. I follow the recipe with no changes and use Daiya shredded cheddar, which I don’t really like on its own but mixed in this dish it’s actually perfect. (Not canned beans or corn – dry soaked and cooked beans and frozen corn.)

  26. Sue says

    This is an amazing recipe (and I’m not even a fan of quinoa)! I vary it, by adding a can of tomato sauce, reducing the water slightly. I actually make 1.5 x the recipe, so there’s more than enough for another dinner. We top it off with high fat yogurt or sour cream, chopped cilantro, salsa, and serve it with tortilla chips or warm tortillas. My kids love this! This is an excellent dish for potlucks, or as a dinner for new moms (it’s easy to eat with one hand, while nursing 🙂 Thank you.

  27. Eileen says

    This is so good and so easy. I’ve been eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add a little hot sauce plus some green chiles and it’s perfection. And, it’s so quick and simple to make…hooray for one dish meals!

  28. Alyssa says

    I made this last night and it was AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS. And so easy.
    I used a can of Rotel tomatoes instead of 1 cup crushed, and 1 Tbsp taco seasoning instead of 2 tsp chili powder.
    I also sprinkled more cheese on top. So melty and delicious.

    I recommend rinsing the quinoa first. This makes sure it’s fluffy and mine always tastes like stale pantry when i forget the rinse.

  29. Care says

    Just made this exactly as it said, It came out great. Very Tasty. I like how you didn’t have to cook anything first!

  30. Liz Kenyon says

    Loved the ease of prep and the flavor. The Quinoa seems a bit firm despite following the cooking directions exactly. Any suggestions?

  31. Denyse says

    I would presoak the quinoa next time so it sprouts and is more nutrient dense than left uncooked as it doesn’t open.

  32. Liz says

    I’ve made this a bunch of times, often adding or subbing ingredients. It is always fantastic, except the time that I forgot to add the water – oops. I have to go to a party tomorrow night an we are supposed to bring appetizers. Have you got any thoughts about how you might turn these into small portions that would be suitable as appies?

  33. Dawn Steelman says

    Making this in the next day or two and have a question about substituting the nutritional yeast for shredded vegan cheese. The recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded cheese and indicates the same for nutritional yeast… is this the case?

    Thanks!

  34. Louise Chapman says

    I made this in the instant pot. Added extra 1/2 cup of water and set it manual for 8 minutes. Came out excellent!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Thank you so much for reporting that it works in the instant pot! We will definitely make a note in the recipe so other readers with an instant pot can try it. I love mine and keep telling Katie that she needs to get one!

      Jason (media relations)

  35. Sue O'Reilly says

    I made this and substituted the 1 cup crushed tomatoes plus 1 cup water with a 698 ml bottle of passata. Gives it a stronger tomato flavour, but the consistency turned out the same. I also sprinkled some cheese on top and served with avocado – perfect meal. It is as easy as Katie said, one bowl plus one pan and I love that the quinoa does not have to be pre-cooked.

  36. Sara says

    I subbed refried beans for the black beans. It took about twice as long to cook because of the additional liquid, but it’s stoll delicious!

  37. Rosanna says

    I just want to report back about cooking this in the instant pot. Eight minutes seems way too long considering I’ve seen other recipes cook it for 1 minute, with natural pressure release. I followed my instinct and cooked for 5 mins, also with slightly less water, and it still came out a little over cooked – the quinoa at the bottom of the pot was mushy. I would probably just sauté the onion and pepper, then cook the quinoa for one minute and stir in the rest of the ingredients at the end for a fresher flavor. Personally, my family loves the oven version best because the quinoa on top gets all crunchy and it has a better texture throughout the dish.

  38. KP says

    Made this over the weekend exactly as the recipe was written. I used cheddar for the cheese component. The quinoa cooked perfectly (despite it not being precooked) and the flavour was quite good! I made it on Saturday evening and packaged it into air tight containers for lunch Mon-Wed. It’s now Wednesday and it still tastes fresh 4 days later! Yay. Will definitely make this a staple.

  39. Judi says

    So good! I cooked it about 10 minuets longer and everything was more tender. I also top it with salsa, avocado slices (and an over easy egg if you aren’t doing this vegan style) It’s become one of my favorite go to meals for the week. Thanks!

  40. Annie says

    Has anyone tried this with refried beans instead of black beans? Or maybe in addition to? My daughter loves refried beans and we like quinoa, so trying to combine! Thanks!

  41. Emma says

    Just made this with a few adjustments (mostly to use up what I had on hand)
    Chicken broth > water
    Pace Salsa > crushed tomatos
    Mixed frozen veggies defrosted > canned corn
    Paired it with guacamole and unflavored Greek Yogurt ? one of my new favorite easy meal preps!

  42. Kate Otting says

    I don’t usually comment on recipes I find online, but this one is a real hit with my family. My husband asked for leftovers, topped with an egg, for breakfast. I’m making variations of this each week, by adding different veggies and spices. Thank you for the inspiration!

  43. Amela says

    I had eyed this recipe for some time now but finally got around to it. Didn’t bake it though, I just cooked everything on a normal pot in the stove top, delicious! Even my father who has never like quinoa before liked this! So thank you Katie! <3

  44. Liz says

    This is my go-to for potlucks. Everyone loves it. It’s also great in tortilla shells. I use frozen corn which works fine too.

  45. Sara Thomas says

    I’m looking for recipes that I can make up ahead of time and freeze. Would this recipe work? Should I bake it before freeezing? Thanks

  46. Luc says

    Great recipe. But I have changed a bit of things to make it more tasty (to us). First, instead of crushed tomatoes, I have added a CAN of Rotel, then instead of water, I added a can of enchilada red sauce. Also added, garlic instead of the powder stuff, added a tablespoon of Red pepper and doubled the cooking time. Also, I added cheese to cover the top of the casserole (Ok, it is less healthy but still better than most stuff I cook 😉

  47. Kristen Joy says

    I made this for dinner last night. I am not a cook by any means but I desperately want my husband and I to eat healthier. I thought this sounded easy enough and by golly, it was SO easy! I fixed it exactly as directed (except I didn’t use parchment paper) and it was AMAZING! My husband loved it and had no idea he was eating vegan cheese ? What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him! We mixed in some freshly made guacamole with our helpings and that was the icing on the cake. I will definitely be making this again ?

  48. Lauren says

    I followed this exactly (against my better judgement) – cook 28 mins uncovered followed by 25 minutes with the oven off – and all the quinoa came out raw. Every other no-precook quinoa recipe I’ve made has (1) been at a higher temperature and (2) instructed you to cover the dish. Consider amending the instructions in this post so folks don’t have to read through the comments to figure out what actually works (eg, cook longer, higher temperature, stir).

  49. Amber says

    I made this for my parents, husband and our three picky eaters, everyone liked this! Were not vegan or vegetarian but I do like to cook meatless dinners 2x a week. I’ll be adding this to my recipe book for future use. Thank you!

  50. Danielle says

    Looks delicious! Could I bake this covered to avoid the crunchy quinoa that some have experienced on top? Or would that trap too much moisture and cause a problem? Thanks!

  51. Kristin says

    Made this for dinner tonight, it was super delicious! I used real garlic and fresh corn on the cob. Can’t wait to try more of your non-dessert recipes!

  52. Pat says

    Just made this by the directions and the quinoa was not cooked. I’ve just added more water and put back in the oven in hope that my daughter will still eat it! ext time I would precook the quinoa.

    • Mélina Lopez-Nadeau says

      Me too the quinoa never cooked. So pissed rn. I don’t get how people succeded to do this recipe!!

  53. Jess says

    On my to-make list forever and finally made this week. Doubled and put in 9×13. My quinoa protesting oldest ate it happily. My littlest asked for just the polka dots (quinoa)! The rest of us happily gobbled it up. I ate leftovers a couple times straight from the fridge with s fresh scoop of nutritional yeast bc it’s my fave. Only mods were chicken stock for water and mostly nutritional yeast but s little cheddar mixed in. Would def be good with an egg or maybe make indents and crack an eggs into the wells to cook while it bakes. Yummo! Thanks for the recipe!

  54. Mélina Lopez-Nadeau says

    I really dont get how you could do this prep in 5 mins! Took me AT LEAST 15 minutes, maybe more!!

  55. Gina says

    Made this last night, it is incredible! So easy and tasty! I ate one serving with some vegan queso I made and half an avocado and was stuffed! Looking forward to leftovers today. Thanks Katie for making my transition to plant based eating so enjoyable!

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