Spicy Black Bean Mexican Casserole

Mexican Black Bean Casserole

I had planned on posting something entirely different today.

Something light and luscious and spring fresh.  Something downright inspiring.

But with the second coming of winter, the temperatures hovering around minus 2 last night, and a flat tire to cap off an unusually bizarre (read bad) day yesterday, I just couldn’t put it out there.  I wasn’t feeling it.  I hope you can forgive me.

Instead, I’m featuring one of our family favourite comfort foods.  A satisfying, delicious and healthy meal that will warm the cockles of your heart!

This is a great weeknight dish that you will almost certainly be able to assemble with whatever ingredients you already have on hand. Unless you’re feeding the entire neighbourhood, it will create lots of leftovers and is quick to prepare too – particularly if you have a rice cooker (wink).

Now, a note to my Spanish speaking friends, can you suggest a sexier name than ‘casserole’ for this dish?  Not that there’s anything wrong with the word casserole – I mean, I think it’s probably the most accurate description in this case – it’s just that I’ve never found it to be particularly…. captivating.  There, I said it.  I sniffed around a bit last night but couldn’t seem to find the right translation.  Any thoughts?

Spicy Black Bean Mexican Casserole

  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp sweet chili powder or other chili, as desired
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, thoroughly rinsed if using canned
  • 2 green bell peppers (or other vegetable), chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced green or Kalamata olives
  • 2 cups of your favourite salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or other cheese


Heat oven to 375 F.
Sauté onion in a large skillet with some olive oil.  Add chili powder to onion while it is cooking, stirring to coat.  Once translucent, remove onions from skillet, setting them aside in a small bowl.  Place black beans, green pepper and olives in the same skillet used for the onion.  Add 3/4 cup of salsa to the beans mixture and stir to integrate over low heat.

Meanwhile, spread brown rice out along base of an oven safe casserole dish such that it forms the bottom layer. Top rice with remaining 1 + 1/4 cup of salsa to form second layer.  Spread onion mixture over salsa.  Add black bean/bell pepper/olive mixture over onions and top with shredded cheese.

Place casserole in oven uncovered and allow it to cook for approximately 30-45 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown along the edges.

Remove casserole from oven and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving (I cut my piece too soon and got the droops).

I hope you enjoy this warming vegetarian meal as much as we do.

Mexican Black Bean Casserole_1
I’ll be back on Sunday with that light and luscious spring meal (as long as there’s no snow on the ground!).
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  1. Sprint2theTable says

    Haha – I’m eating almost that exact combo right now. I love Mexiacan. :)

    Hope it warms up for you soon!

  2. Sallybr2008 says

    I don’t mind at all, we also got hit by some cold nights, although my definition of cold is not quite exactly the same as yours…. (sigh)

    loved this recipe!

  3. Lbergeron says

    Looks delicious Kelly! I look forwad to trying it. Sorry – can’t help you with a better casserol name eventhough I am just back from Mexico!

  4. says

    Kelly, for me it’s definitely a gratin! (In French of course, and I’m sorry I’m not Mexican so I shouldn’t really interfere…).
    Whatever the name, your dish looks gorgeous and perfect for our cold weather too (although here the “very cold April” means 10°C, not minus 2… one gets easily used to warmer part of Europe ;-) ) I’m sure adding some ground chicken or turkey would do no harm… (I’m a notorious carnivore, I can’t help it).

  5. says

    Hehe, you’re right, casserole isn’t the sexiest of words…but then neither is enchilada :) This sounds awesome! I’m on a mexican kick lately. Wait til you see what I cooked up for dinner tonight ;)

  6. says

    If it were that cold here I would definitely be making serious comfort food like this! What a dish! Love the brown rice on the bottom and then black beans and everything – delicious! Now I wish it would get cold here – NOT! :)

  7. Kristy says

    Love your pot! And so sorry that you had a flat tire on a bad day. You know I can relate. ;) I think this casserole looks like the perfect way to comfort yourself though. You know I will be making this one. I have not doubt it will be a family favorite here too. Here’s to warmer days ahead!

  8. ping kay says

    Hi Kelly! So glad to be visiting again. I sure have missed quite a lot, haven’t I? Anyway, this here’s a recipe for us Asians …. rice cooker! (Wink back) :D

  9. Lisa says

    Wow, 2 minus that is cold! I know we are getting a cold front too. Tomorrow is my bake sale and now the rain possible my turn into snow shower’s. Ugh, now I’m going to be stuck with all these baked goods!
    This casserole looks terrific. I make a bean dip that is similar to this and we serve it with rice, tortilla’s and lot’s of salsa!

  10. Viviane Bauquet Farre says

    The flavors of this cuisine never fail to excite. The wholesomeness and heartiness never cease to appeal. You’ve rendered this dish beautifully!

  11. says

    I can’t believe you said the ‘s’ word, Kelly. Gross. It’s been really cold in Toronto too and I’m not happy about it. This morning there were light flurries — damn ground hog did lie!
    I love the flavour combos in this dish, Kelly, and the way you served it is absolutely beautiful! I’m on a really low carb, sugar and fat program right now (don’t worry, it is dr. monitored), so I think I’ll take your inspiration and change it up a bit if you don’t mind too much. I just love the spices in this. Wish I had it for lunch today :-)

  12. beyondthepeel says

    Casserole, I know right? Not sexy. I have been whirling that one around for ages and can’t seem to think of a thing. That being said, your casserole looks delicious and perfect after a rough day. I sorry it wasn’t good…Big hugs your way.

  13. says

    Wow, that is chilly – we’ve been been having loads of rain and high winds (I almost lost a sheet off the balcony from the drying rack, lol :D) but nothing as cold as that! What unseasonably bad weather :(

    Hope you’ve sufficiently recovered from your bad day – seems to be the “season” for flat tyres too… my colleague pulled into the parking garage with one the other day as well.

    No worries about “not feeling it” – I always like to see comfort foods. I think you can tell a lot about a family from what their go-to comfort foods are. Yours is telling me that you appreciate tasty, wholesome dishes made with love – unlike some people whose go-to food seems to be burgers or frozen pizza! Looks really great Kelly :)

  14. says

    I recently bought a box of frozen black bean patties as an experiment. They tasted great, so I can only imagine this enchilada dish would put those pre-made patties to shame. The dish looks delicious!

  15. says

    Yum! I love black beans, I love rice and I love cheese. I would eat this whole casserole by myself! Actually I would have to because I’m the only one in my family that likes black beans (I know, they rest of them are crazy!)

  16. inspirededibles says

    Thanks Sally… it’s starting to warm up and the big, beautiful sun has been shining all weekend ;-)

  17. inspirededibles says

    I’ve got the French thing covered but I’m looking for Spanish here ;-)

    I love a concentrated protein too and have no issues on the health side; more the environmental costs that have me changing it up.

    Hope you’re having a gorgeous weekend Sissi! :)

  18. inspirededibles says

    Haha, Canada’s a big place but yes, we’ve been under a chill in Ontario lately – Happily, the sun has been shining big and bright through the weekend – yay!

  19. inspirededibles says

    I don’t know, enchilada has a certain chachacha to it… the tricky part is this casserole does not have bread of any kind so many of the conventional mexican appelations don’t apply… will have to keep working on it :0)

  20. inspirededibles says

    Haha, bad days happen don’t they… I don’t know if it’s an age thing but I find I don’t stay down long…I like to think that’s a good thing :) I hope you and your family enjoy this one if you give it a try Kristy… talk about easy and mould-a-ble ;-)

  21. inspirededibles says

    Welcome Back Ping!! Yay for the rice cooker (made a new one last night with fresh chives and tomato… so delicious!)

  22. inspirededibles says

    Thank you so much Viviane – it’s a family favourite and just so easy to pull together on busy days…

  23. inspirededibles says

    Haha, you had me going there for a moment Eva… I thought maybe I had inadvertently sworn in my post… but you know the ‘s’ word may be just as bad… hee.hee…. thank you for the lovely compliments; I hope you like it if you give it a try! :)

  24. inspirededibles says

    We have a fellow doing some serious construction across the street and the nails were flying… what can you do? sure is inconvenient though – especially when there’s only one driver in town and you’ve got two boys to pick up!

    I hope the sun is shining in France Charles ~ its been beautiful here (finally) this weekend! :)

  25. inspirededibles says

    Thanks so much for dropping by Aylin – I really appreciate your visit – (and I get the extra cheese part!! ;-)

  26. inspirededibles says

    thanks Yummy – this one is so simple, you won’t need the frozen patties! HAve a great day :)

  27. inspirededibles says

    Agreed! Nothing like a warming, cheese melted casserole on a cold day. Thanks Chris ~ I hope you’re having a great day :)

  28. Elioteats says

    I once had a great Cuban like black bean recipe that I have lost. I tried to recreate it last week with little success. I am totally glad to have found this recipe. Thanks for sharing! (Minus 2! Really?)

  29. says

    Ha! I’m completely with you. It was so nice and warm and then suddenly it’s freezing again! Although since I’m way south of you no snow. Love this casserole the mix of ingredients sounds lovely. Especially since you know what a huge Mexican food fan I am.

  30. inspirededibles says

    Thank you so much for letting me know Marly! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe (I love spicy too! ;-).

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