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Southwest black beans polenta casserole

Southwestern Black Beans Polenta Casserole {Vegetarian, Gluten Free}

  • Author: Lindsay Cotter
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • 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!



  • 3 1/2 cups cooked non-gmo polenta (see notes for cooking instructions if needed) – water to cook polenta
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 6 oz shredded natural cheese (Monterey jack, etc) – Divided. See notes for dairy free.
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1/4  to 1/3 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt – divided
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 23 tbsp coconut flour or other gluten-free flour of choice
  • 23 eggs (Use 3if you prefer more egg like casserole. 2 eggs if you want the polenta to be denser) *See notes for EGG FREE VERSION)
  • 10 ounces chili ready diced tomatoes with green chili added. Or you can add 4 ounces canned green chiles to regular diced tomatoes (canned 10 ounces). See notes.
  • 1315 oz (around 3 cups) organic cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (canned works if not soaking or making from scratch)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Sea salt or kosher salt to taste.
  • Optional garnishes and toppings once cooked – chopped fresh cilantro, avocado slices, sour cream,  jalapeño (if desired)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 9×13 casserole dish and set aside.
  2. In another large pot, cook you polenta according to package instructions.  See notes.
  3. When polenta is almost done cooking, add in butter or oil, and 4 ounces of shredded cheese. Stir until creamy.
  4. Next stir in the minced garlic, onion, salt, chili powder, 2 eggs, and coconut flour with the polenta. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour polenta/cheese/egg mix at the bottom of the casserole dish and pack it evenly into the sides. It should make a nice bottom layer for the casserole. If your polenta is too runny or moist, I suggest baking it first at 350F for 15-20 minutes, then removing and add the rest of your layers to bake again.
  6. After the polenta has been set first in the casserole dish, layer your diced tomatoes with green chili(drained) on top of your polenta. Spread it out evenly.
  7. Next, drain and rinse your black beans.
  8. Place in a bowl. Toss the beans with your spices; cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, and pepper.
  9. Layer the black beans on top of the tomatoes/green chiles peppers mix
  10. Finally, add your remaining shredded cheese evenly on top of beans. Feel free to add more than 2 oz if desired.
  11. Place casserole dish in oven middle row for 30 to 35 minutes until edges start to brown.
  12. Remove and Cover with foil then bake an additional 5 -10 minutes or until center of casserole in baked through and edges are golden.
  13. Broil last minute if you want crispy edges and cheese. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before slicing.
  14. Add any additional seasoning if desired. Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garnish with cilantro (1/2 cup or more).
  15. Optional topping when platting –  avocado slices, sour cream,  jalapeño (if desired).


Notes On polenta – I prefer to cook polenta with less water/broth to make it thicker. This was great for the base of the casserole

  • For cooking polenta, bring 3 1/2 c to 4 cups broth to a boil. Slowly add in 1 1/4 cup polenta, whisking while adding it to pot so it doesn’t clump. Reduce and cover for 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Add salt/pepper to taste. Stir in butter/olive oil if desired.
  • notes on texture – When using this in the casserole, you want it more thick, not creamy. Almost like steel cut oats texture.
  • Notes for polenta – I prefer to cook polenta with less water/broth to make it thicker. This was great for the base of the casserole.
  • Tips for different ways to cook polenta You can also buy the precooked polenta at stores and slice into circles, then layer in casserole.

DAIRY FREE and/or EGG FREE OPTION – Omit cheese and use nutritional yeast to mix with polenta. Or you can use dairy free meltable cheese like DAIYA. Polenta should thicken by itself without the eggs. You can omit the eggs if needed, but if you’re polenta seems to be too runny, then I would mix in an egg replacer or flaxseed to help thicken it. I added the eggs to the cooked polenta because it helps to form a thicker base for the casserole.

  • 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