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Cheesy Taco Casserole

Cheesy Taco Casserole

With summer drawing to a close, I have been slowly getting back in the mood for more comfort food-type recipes. A cross between nachos and an enchilada bake, this taco casserole certainly fits the bill. Layers of crunchy tortilla chips, a bean-and-veggie filling and cheese are stacked in a baking dish and heated until the cheese is nice and melted throughout. The bottom layers become softer, more along the lines of enchiladas, while the top layer keeps that crunch reminiscent of nachos.

Cheesy Taco Casserole

A mixture of black, pinto and red kidney beans are used to replace the ground beef in the original recipe, along with a few veggies, like onion, green pepper and corn. The result is a protein-packed filling that is the perfect base for the casserole.

You can really play around with this recipe and make it your own. Change it up with different flavors of salsa, use different types of cheese, or add more cayenne and jalapenos to make it spicy. You really can’t go wrong. The same goes for the toppings: Try shredded lettuce, sliced green onions or even guacamole. The possibilities are pretty much endless.

You can also adjust the amount of chips in the recipe. If you add more chips (although you may need a deeper casserole-type dish if you go that route), it will come out more like nachos and be crunchier overall. Or follow it as written and you’ll get a mix of softer textures and crunch.

This post was originally published on September 3, 2014.

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Cheesy Taco Casserole

Cheesy Taco Casserole

A cross between nachos and an enchilada bake, this meatless version of the Food Network’s Beef and Bean Taco Casserole is pure comfort food. And it couldn’t be easier to put together!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste (optional)
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) jarred chunky-style salsa
  • 8 to 9 cups (about 7 ounces) corn tortilla chips
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Assorted toppings such as sliced avocado, sliced green onions, sliced jalapenos, diced tomatoes, plain Greek yogurt. additional salsa, hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or an oil mister. Set aside.
  2. To a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pepper and corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add all of the beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne (if using) and salsa. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Spread half of the tortilla chips evenly in the prepared baking dish. Drop half of the bean mixture in dollops over the chips. Sprinkle evenly with half of the cheddar cheese and half of the pepper jack cheese. Top with the remaining chips, then spoon on the rest of the bean mixture, and finally sprinkle on the remaining cheddar and pepper jack cheeses.
  4. Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is hot throughout, about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with desired toppings.

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59 Comments

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    September 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

    it looks super filling but so delicious and could feed a crowd!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      It definitely feeds a bunch of people! I think it would be great for game day type food too!

  • Reply
    Jacki @ Two Forks One Love
    September 3, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Yum! I made a similar dish called Taco Pie — mine includes ground turkey, but beans could easily be substituted for a vegetarian version.

  • Reply
    Jessica @ Jessica in the Kitchen
    September 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    YUM! I’m so there on the cheesiness!! This is such a great idea Ashley!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      All the cheese, all the time! 🙂 Thanks Jessica!

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    September 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    This looks super delicious and easy to put together!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks Millie! It’s nice and simple – perfect for busy days!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
    September 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Oh yes, Mexican is my favorite too! Especially around football season. It pairs so well with a nice cold beer. This casserole is definitely my kind of meal and I can’t wait to give it a try!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Agreed! I have a feeling this dish will be making an appearance at all our football watching parties! 🙂 And thanks Sarah!

  • Reply
    Christina @ Bake with Christina
    September 4, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Yum I love Mexican food! This casserole looks awesome, thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks Christina! 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle
    September 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Looks good! Good meal for football season

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 5, 2014 at 7:23 am

      Thanks Michelle! Agreed – I think this would be great for game day!

  • Reply
    Jamie
    September 4, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Yummy! I am going to make this recipe this weekend! Question – do you think Fritos would hold up in place of tortilla chips?

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 5, 2014 at 7:22 am

      Sure! I think that should work just fine. Enjoy Jamie!

  • Reply
    Meg @ Beard and Bonnet
    September 5, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I need this so bad! I love everything about this dish.:) Pinning!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 5, 2014 at 7:21 am

      haha thanks Meg! That’s how I am with pretty much all mexican food! 🙂

  • Reply
    Joanne
    September 5, 2014 at 8:43 am

    The.Boy and I had the BEST nachos the other day and these are pretty much them but in big casserole form! Which means I must make them. ASAP.

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Yummm nachos!

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ it's a nourishing thing
    September 5, 2014 at 10:36 am

    YUM! This time of year just screams casserole season to me! Will definitely have to give this one a try!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Agreed – I’m starting to really want more comfort foods these days! Soups, casseroles, all of it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather
    September 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    It’s in the oven right now! Can’t wait to eat!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Awesome! Hope you enjoyed Heather!

  • Reply
    Tammy
    October 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    This was so delicious I can’t even tell you! I can’t wait to try this again with some different ingredients!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      October 13, 2014 at 10:56 am

      So happy to hear this Tammy! Thanks for letting us know! 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicolle
    January 1, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I made this recipe for a group and it was delicious. Next time I would probably make it as a taco mix or separate mix and chips as a type of chunky dip. Great flavour!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      January 3, 2015 at 8:46 am

      So glad that you enjoyed it Nicolle!

  • Reply
    Charlie_Sue
    January 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Yum! Thank you for posting! We made this last night and the flavor was spot on and it was just so easy. Next time we make this, and there definitely will be a next time, we will add another half a jar of the salsa. Thanks again.

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      January 14, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      So glad to hear it! (and that you’ll make it again!) 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer @NourishedSimply
    January 14, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Made this recipe this weekend. I loved the recipe. My attempt of course did not look at great as yours.

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      January 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it Jennifer! haha and thank you – I always have to clean everything up for pictures 🙂

  • Reply
    Sam
    February 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Could you make this in a slow cooker? If so what settings and time do you suggest? Sounds delish!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      February 10, 2015 at 7:38 am

      Hey Sam – hmmm we haven’t tested it in a slow cooker so it’s hard to say. My guess is that the filling part would do fine in a slow cooker on low (maybe around 6 to 8 hours?). I’d keep an eye on it though if you try it since I’m not sure!

  • Reply
    Laura
    March 4, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    This was delicious! Both my 4 & 6 year old gobbled it up and my husband went back for generous seconds! Thanks for a great, easy, and quick recipe! Definitely a keeper 🙂

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      March 6, 2015 at 9:31 am

      So happy to hear this Laura! Thanks for letting me know!

  • Reply
    Nicki Escudero
    April 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe, Ashley! It was super-simple to make, and super-tasty! Nicki

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      April 7, 2015 at 9:32 am

      Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Mady
    April 13, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Hi

    This looks really good however it makes a lot. Is it possible to freeze leftovers?

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      April 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      Hey Mady! I wouldn’t freeze it fully assembled (I think the tortilla chips might get a little weird). However, I think the filling portion (with the beans, salsa, veggies, etc.) should freeze just fine! So just assemble a sort of smaller version and then freeze the remaining filling to use another time.

  • Reply
    Helen
    September 27, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Made this today for lunch and everyone love it! Thanks for a great recipe

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      September 28, 2015 at 8:49 am

      So happy to hear it Helen!

  • Reply
    Angie
    September 29, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    This sounds like a good potluck dish that I can easily veganize with non-dairy cheese. Thx for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      October 2, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Thanks Angie – hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    October 29, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I put the recipe into myfitnesspal and it’s telling me it’s 1,320 calls per serving! This doesn’t seem right or is it?

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      November 5, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Hi Stephanie – we don’t calculate calorie counts for our posts as they can vary by different brands of ingredients, weights of fruits and veggies, etc.

  • Reply
    Crystalin
    November 18, 2015 at 9:10 am

    I love Mexican food and as a vegetarian love when I find recipes like this! Thanks so much for posting! I’m going to make this tonight 🙂 I’m obsessed with refined beans so I’m going to mash my pinto beans but I’ll keep the kidney and black beans as is when I make this tonight! Thanks again.

    • Reply
      Crystalin
      November 18, 2015 at 9:11 am

      * refried beans

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      November 21, 2015 at 11:37 am

      Hope you enjoy!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Triz
    March 28, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    This looks delicious, but how far do you think in advance you could make it? Would say, 4-5 hours (baseball practice and gymnastics) be okay, or would the chips get too mushy? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley Jennings
      March 29, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      I would make the filling in advance and have everything else just prepped and ready to go. And then assemble / bake when ready to eat (otherwise I do think it will get mushy if completely assembled / baked in advance!). If you have the filling ready to go it won’t take long at all to assemble and get it in the oven!

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