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Southwest black beans polenta casserole in a white baking dish, topped with melted cheese.

Southwestern Black Beans Polenta Casserole {Vegetarian, Gluten Free}

  • Author: Lindsay Cotter
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


Southwest black beans polenta casserole is a gluten-free, vegetarian casserole made with black beans, polenta, peppers, cheese, and more. An easy, healthy, freezer friendly dinner recipe!


Units Scale
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked polenta (see notes for cooking instructions)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter or light olive oil
  • 68 ounces shredded cheese, divided (see notes for dairy free)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely diced*
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can (10 ounces) Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles, drained (see notes for substitutes)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed (22 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/81/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional Garnishes/Toppings- chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, sour cream, sliced jalapeños



Substitutes – If using quick cooking polenta like Delallo’s Instant Polenta (cooks in 3 minutes) follow package instructions. You can also buy precooked polenta in tubes, crumble into a saucepan over low-medium heat and whisk in milk or broth until creamy. Rotel – 4 ounces canned green chiles added to a 10 ounce can of regular diced tomatoes (drained) can be substituted for Rotel. Dairy Free Shredded Cheese may be substituted for regular shredded cheese. Texture and taste will vary.

Cooking Tips  – For cooking coarse ground polenta, bring 3 1/2 to 4 cups of broth to a boil. Slowly add in 1 1/4 cup polenta, whisking while adding it to the pot so it doesn’t clump. Reduce and cover for 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. I prefer to cook polenta with less water/broth to make it thicker. This was great for the base of the casserole. The polenta should be more thick, not creamy. Flavor Tip – Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant before mixing with polenta

Meal Prep – Assemble the casserole (do not bake unless you are parbaking the polenta before adding the toppings), cover and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and thaw overnight. Bake covered at 350 F for 30 minutes or until the casserole is cooked through. If desired, uncover and broil until the edges and cheese are browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 270
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 763.8mg
  • Fat: 8.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.1g
  • Fiber: 6.8g
  • Protein: 14.5g
  • Cholesterol: 68.5mg

Keywords: polenta casserole, southwest black beans, gluten free dinner, vegetarian casserole