I think I made history at my dining room table tonight (aka, living room coffee table). When my fiance finished eating dinner, he started taking bites of mine, without even asking! In case you’re wondering, that means it was REALLY good. I used a recipe for black bean tortilla casserole which I got from my friend Mollie. I made a couple modifications, including using less beans, adding more veggies, and baking in four individual casseroles rather than a large baking dish. There’s something about having your own little individual casserole or skillet, like you get at restaurants sometimes, that I just love! So I like to do this at home too. This one is definitely a keeper! The spiciness was delicious, it had great texture with all the vegetables, and the addition of just a little cream cheese made it so creamy without adding much fat or calories. I used sparkpeople.com to calculate the nutritional info. Based on this recipe and 4 servings, each serving has about 540 calories. Now that, I can definitely enjoy!

Update, 10/27/09: Two and a half years later, I’m eating this for dinner and realizing how delicious it really is. So I’m doing it justice and giving you a treat by re-writing the recipe a bit for better flavor and clarity, updating the nutritional information, and linking to a printer-friendly recipe. Enjoy!

Update, 1/7/09: I hate pictures of food on a fork, 99% of the time. About 1% of the time, I think they are done well. This isn’t one of them. But I had to do it – I mean, is there really any good way to capture a casserole on camera? Anyway, I finally updated the pictures here to really reflect how we’re eating (and loving) these. Fork and all, I do actually think these pics do it much more justice than the old one did.

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Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

Yield: 4 servings

* I enjoy spicy food, and even I will admit that I find canned diced tomatoes with green chiles to be on the hot side. If you are sensitive to spicy food, you might want to use regular diced tomatoes (about 20 oz) and some canned, diced, mild green chiles.

** This dish can be prepared in one large casserole dish (8"x8" or 7"x11" would probably work nicely) or individual dishes. I've used both individual tapas pans and small square casserole dishes such as these. Here's a tip: if the tortilla will not fit inside your individual dishes (such as what happens with I use my individual casseroles), cut the tortillas into quarters. For each tortilla layer, place the four quarters in the dish, overlapping, with the corners facing out and the rounded edges facing in. I actually prefer this to making them in my round tapas pans, because layering the quartered tortillas makes for a thicker, seemingly heartier casserole.


1 cup diced onion
2-3, cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced (225 grams)
1 medium summer squash, diced (225 grams)
1 large red bell pepper, diced (225 grams)
freshly ground salt & pepper
1-2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder (or, to taste)
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chiles*
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
8 6" corn tortillas
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick olive oil cooking spray. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes more, stirring. Add zucchini and garlic, and cook for about 8 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Season with salt & pepper, cumin, chili powder, and oregano and stir to coat.

Add the black beans and diced tomatoes with green chiles. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and scatter over the vegetable mixture, and stir until all of it is melted in and nicely combined. Finally, mix in the chopped cilantro. Remove from heat.

Lightly spray your casserole dish or dishes** with nonstick cooking spray. Place some of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of the dish or dishes, and top with four of the tortillas (if using one large dish) or place one tortilla in each individual dish. Top with about 2/3 or the remaining vegetable mixture and half of the shredded cheese. Add another layer of tortillas and the remaining vegetable mixture.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Top the casserole(s) with the remaining cheese and bake for about 5-7 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 436.8*
Total Fat: 14.8 g
Cholesterol: 40.4 mg
Sodium: 1,454.4 mg
Total Carbs: 57.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 13.7 g
Protein: 19.8 g

*One of my observant readers pointed out that I stated 540 calories above. This may have been what I calculated the first time I made this recipe, but since making it a bunch more times I have re-analyzed it based on weights of ingredients (and I’ve updated the ingredient list to reflect that). Also I think the first time I may have used full-fat cheddar cheese, so that probably accounts for some of the difference. Sorry for the confusion, but please keep in mind that the nutritional table shown is accurate, based on ingredient weights and using reduced fat cheese, and 6″ corn tortillas that are about 60 calories each.