This cheesy black bean quinoa bake is an easy, healthy and hearty comfort food to get you through winter! It's loaded with veggies, quinoa, black beans, and cheese for the ultimate protein and fiber packed dish. We republished this post in 2021 to improve the post's content, but the same tasty recipe remains!
The best way to describe this cheesy black bean quinoa bake is with those three little words... Healthy. Comfort. Food. Okay, and a fourth: YUM!
Let's dig right into this.
The flavors in this beauty are inspired by an enchilada recipe my mom has made for longer than I've been alive! She makes a white sauce flavored with Monterey jack and coriander, and my whole family goes crazy for it. Come to think of it, I'm way overdue for sharing that recipe with you... but for now, it's cheesy black bean quinoa bake time.
- Olive oil
- Bell peppers (any kind)
- Grape Tomatoes
- Black beans
- Monterey Jack (or Pepper Jack for a little something spicy) cheese
- Small can of green chiles
- Cumin, coriander, salt
Oh, and if everyone you're cooking for can handle some heat, fresh jalapeños are delicious in this dish!
How to Make this Quinoa Bake
Basically all this casserole comes down to is sautéing a few veggies and combining them with cooked quinoa, black beans, cheese, and spices. Top that off with some cilantro and a squeeze of lime and call it a heck of a weeknight meal.
Here's the rundown. First, you'll prep by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spraying a 9x5-inch baking dish with nonstick spray (such as olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil). Then, you'll get your quinoa cooking on the stove while you lightly sauté the onions, peppers, and grape tomatoes in some olive oil and salt to bring out their flavors. Shortcut Tip: If you have two cups of leftover cooked quinoa, that's perfect for adding to this dish and skipping over the quinoa-cooking step!
Once the quinoa and veggies are ready, combine them in a large bowl with the black beans, green chiles, most of the cheese (we'll reserve some for topping the bake), and all of the spices. You'll stir everything together to get an evenly combined mixture that you'll spread evenly into the pan and top with the remaining cheese.
Finally, bake that up for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and tomatoes are bursty. Top off the whole then with lime and cilantro, and you're ready to eat!
What You'll Love
Just some of my favorite qualities about this cheesy black bean quinoa bake that I think you'll love, too:
- It's super easy.
- You'll have leftovers, unless you make it for a crowd -- it's perfect for that too!
- It's super cheesy.
- There are many ingredient swaps you can make (so you might not have to run to the store)
- It's kid-friendly. Especially because of the cheese. But maybe leave out the jalapeño 😉
- It's vegetarian.
- The burst-y grape tomatoes.
- The coriander (seriously, I think it makes the dish).
Some Substitutions & Adjustments
- Quinoa for another grain. Exchanging quinoa for another grain you have on hand is totally acceptable and highly encouraged. Variety keeps your meals interesting! Consider trying brown rice, farro, or barley. Even pasta would rock this dish.
- Monterey Jack for Pepper Jack. They're both absolutely delicious.
- Omit the green chiles. Say you have EVERY ingredient but are just missing the canned diced green chiles. It's totally fine if you omit this ingredient -- it'll be just as tasty. Promise 🙂
- Diced tomatoes for grape tomatoes. I love the way grape tomatoes burst when they get roasted in the oven, but suppose the store didn't have any, or they looked gross, or you just prefer to use something else. A can of diced tomatoes would work fine as a substitute! To avoid a watery consistency, I recommend draining them first. After that, just toss them in the bowl with the other ingredients (you can leave them out of the sautéing step, if you want).
- Jalapeños. As I mentioned earlier, fresh jalapeños are an incredible add to any dish!
And that's it! If there are other veggies you think would work, you can totally make it your own -- just try to keep a similar ratio of ingredients. If you're interested, you can read about some health benefits of quinoa, too!
Oh, P.S. You can't go wrong with chips and salsa or guac on the side. Here are a few of my go-to recipes:
- Best guacamole from Love & Lemons
- Crazy good smashed guacamole
- Cookie + Kate's Best Red Salsa Recipe
Cheesy Black Bean Quinoa Bake
This cheesy black bean quinoa bake is an easy, healthy and hearty comfort food to get you through winter! Loaded with onion, peppers, bursting grape tomatoes, beans, and grains -- all balanced out with some good old melted cheese.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner; casserole
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Mexican
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water or broth
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup bell peppers, diced (any color, or a mix)
- 1.5 cups grape tomatoes
- 1 14-oz. can black beans
- 1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- Cilantro and lime, for finishing
- Preheat & Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x5 inch baking with olive oil spray.
- Cook quinoa: Add quinoa and water (or broth) to a pot and cook according to package instructions.
- Sauté veggies: While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium skillet and sauté onion, peppers, and grape tomatoes with a pinch of salt for about seven minutes. Remove from heat. Add veggies to a large a bowl.
- Combine ingredients in a bowl: Once quinoa is done cooking, fluff with a fork and add it to the bowl with the veggies. Then add black beans, green chiles, 1 ½ cups of the cheese (reserve the remaining ½ cup for the top), and spices. Stir to combine.
- Add ingredients to pan: Spread combined ingredients in the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of cheese across the top in an even layer.
- Bake: Bake for 30 minutes or until grape tomatoes have begun to burst and cheese is completely melted.
- Cilantro & lime: Finish the dish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime!
Keywords: cheesy black bean quinoa bake
This was perfect to meal prep for lunches! Simple, yet delicious 🙂 I also garnished with diced avocado to give it an extra flavor kick. Will definitely be making this again!
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it! Also, avocado = ALWAYS a good idea.
This turned out so great! I used only about a half cup of tomatoes, but filled in with about a cup of small diced red potatoes that I cooked with the veggies on the stove and a handful of frozen corn. I added in some smoked paprika and a pinch of chili powder + cayenne in place of the green chiles. Topped with scallions before the top layer of cheese, and this is now in the regular rotation. Great way to use up leftovers on hand (cooked quinoa in the fridge and black beans from my last batch in the freezer).
OMG. Potatoes and corn would be SO tasty... I love all of your adaptations and will definitely be incorporating some next time I make this 🙂 So glad you were able to make and enjoy!