Southwest black beans polenta casserole is a wholesome, gluten-free, vegetarian casserole. This meatless meal is made with southwest black beans, polenta, roasted peppers, and more. Super easy to make ahead, healthy, and it feeds a crowd!
Some days just call for for meatless casseroles. And on this particular day, we’re making it a Black Bean Casserole to make for New Year’s Day brunch or dinner! Why? Because beans symbolize good fortune in the New Year. Ok and in actuality, this is dish is one my favorite Mexican Inspired vegetarian casseroles that’s easy to make and filling! So I updated the photos (from 3 years ago) and added a bit more flavor BLING to the recipe! You’ll be rollin in the coin soon by saving money with this affordable dinner! Haha! You feel me?
Anyways… let’s chat about how this casserole came about!
How to Make an EASY Vegetarian Mexican Casserole
You see, when I first started this blog, um, way too long ago (almost 9 years), I posted a lot of vegetarian (meatless) “Mexican” one pot meals. Even when it wasn’t meatless Monday! Gasp!
These filling casseroles got to be a regular, and my husband didn’t even notice the lack of meat in meals, I kid you not.
Each meatless meal consisted of lots of veggies, either a gluten free grain (sprouted or when tolerated), lentils or beans, and eggs to hold together. To add variety, I mixed up the spices and toppings. Which brings me to this southwest vegetarian casserole with polenta.
- Black beans seasoned with mexican spiced
- Garlic and Onion
- natural cheese, eggs, and a little butter (or oil) – Don’t worry, you can totally skip the cheese and or use dairy free cheese!
- Tomatoes with Green Chiles
- Optional avocado!
You gotta love those handy dandy real food ingredients. They fill up your bellies without costing you a fortune. In fact, organic canned black beans were a BIG staple in our house along with polenta. Hey, we were newlyweds, broke, and l was trying to fuel my husband for his Triathlon career. Cheap HEALTHY, go to gluten-free meals were a must!
So think of this as a LAYERED baked black beans, polenta, and veggies dish with southwest flare! Affordable and yet feeds a crowd! Oh and freezer friendly, thank GOD!
Side note to humor you—> My Kiwi (New Zealander) husband had never really tried southwest seasoned black beans before, let alone polenta. He grew up with beans on toast with baked navy beans, not black beans. And beans with ketchup. Yes, I said ketchup. Although I’d probably eat that any day, too. Haha, I’m a ketchup hoarder. Anyway, I digress.
The other reason I made a ton of vegetarian casseroles (and polenta dishes) was because James often had training buddies come to stay with us and those guys could go to town on food after a long ride, etc. Like WHOA! Having those two staples around, plus some protein was a HUGE lifesaver!
Now, let’s move forward with polenta, for those who may not be familiar (like my husband, haha).
What is polenta?
Polenta (aka stone ground corn) can be used in sweet or savory dishes. We use Bob Redmill’s Organic NON-GMO Polenta. It cooks fast on the stove, instant pot, slow cooker, or rice cooker (my preferred method), and it’s a great “binder” or base in casseroles, scrambles, soups, etc. Very economical.
Same with black beans. If you can tolerate them well, they are a great addition to any dish. They pump of the fiber and protein. Plus soaking black beans for 12 hrs or more before cooking can greatly reduce the phytic acid. Which means better nutrient absorption. Either way, beans can be enjoyed in a gluten-free diet if well tolerated. Thankfully, these days, we are enjoying black beans and lentils again in moderation.
And this vegetarian Southwest Black Beans Polenta Casserole is the perfect way to enjoy gluten-free grains and legumes. I may be bias.
Okay, so now you might be thinking, Um… so…
What are Southwestern black beans (Mexican Style)? And how do you make them?
Oh ya, did I not mention that? Haha. Southwest black beans are just black beans seasoned with southwest spices.Have I said southwest enough yet? You get my point.
Cumin, garlic, chili pepper or powder, onion, and a pinch of cayenne. Yep, those spices, tossed and cooked with beans.
Combine that with your black beans, cooked polenta mixed with egg and cheese, green chiles, tomato, and more spices! Then shove it all in the oven with some cheesy goodness on top (your choice).
Now you’ve got yourself one EPIC southwest black beans polenta casserole. A gluten-free and vegetarian dream!
Serving Suggestions for Southwest Black Beans Polenta Casserole
Friends, this southwest black beans dinner is a “Cotter” staple recipe. Really.
We use it when making potluck dishes, serving family, guests, etc. You can make it ahead of time, freeze it, use it as dinner, brinner, brunch, whatever.
See, VERSATILE! And it feeds a crowd! Meatless MADNESS! haha.
Oh and speaking of versatile, Serious Eats has some more tasty ways to cook polenta! Check it out.
Sometimes these oldie but goodie recipes remind me just how far we’ve come. We spent years living off beans, rice, and eggs. I can’t complain though, it made me expand my way of creating meals. Just as gluten-free eating did. A challenge that brought a lot of good and brought me to this “food blog” career! I’m forever thankful for that.
And there we have it, ending on a corny Cotter moment as well. Le sigh…..
What’s your favorite casserole recipe? Whatcha making for Meatless Monday?
Ever tried southwest black beans before? Toot Toot!
Here’s proof, ohhh and here’s that oldie southwest recipe. Check out my awesome lighting and styling (that’s sarcasm).