To me, an obvious healthy food enthusiast, there is nothing better than making a healthy dinner with fresh vegetables and herbs on a summer day.


And this Skinny Tex Mex Bean Quinoa Casserole is perfect for that. The flavours scream summer to me: black beans, corn, bell peppers, cilantro, scallions and coconut milk.

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A hybrid of modern Mexican and Thai cuisines. Makes a perfect easy, healthy, vegetarian and gluten free dinner!


Quinoa is a new rice and frankly we rarely make brown rice at my house in summer. Just 1 cup of cooked quinoa delivers 8.14 g of protein, only 3.4 g of fat and 5 g of fiber. As well as iron, calcium and potassium. And it’s gluten free and affordable organic (most times) whole grain. Run to the store!


Coconut oil is perfect for sauteeing veggies for this casserole. Just FYI a pinch of salt totally neutralizes the coconut taste, although it’s totally unnecessary for this dish as it’s really cilantro coconuty on its own.:)

I love the ease of cooking with coconut oil in summer, can you tell?! I always buy 2 L container of organic coconut oil at Costco and refill the glass jar using an ice cream scoop as necessary. Store in a cool dark place.


I used shredded Kraft Tex Mex cheese. It’s a blend of cheddar, mozzarella and Monterey Jack with jalapeno peppers. Feel free to shred your own cheddar and mozzarella cheese and add just a bit extra diced jalapenos. I also noticed Kraft has a light version of the mix but my grocery store doesn’t carry it.


Combining veggies and quinoa with light coconut milk, fresh herbs and cheese creates a delicious casserole that really stands out from any traditional casseroles you are used too. And it’s healthy too!


As all ingredients are already cooked you just need to put it in the oven for the ingredients to “marry” each other. Just until the cheese melts and bubbles, for about 30 minutes.


Garnishing with fresh herbs really helps to bring out the flavours of the casserole. It tastes even better the next day and is great for freezing. Enjoy!

Skinny Tex Mex Bean Quinoa Casserole

Skinny Tex Mex Bean Quinoa Casserole


  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 12 oz can of corn, drained (fresh or frozen corn is fine)
  • 3 any colour medium-large bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup (for garnish) cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup (for garnish) green onions, chopped
  • 1.5 cup plus 0.5 cup Tex Mex cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk, light
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Cook quinoa as per package instructions and undercook by 4 minutes. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and get 8 x 11 baking dish ready. Set aside.
  3. Preheat large skillet on medium heat and add coconut oil. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds mixing often. Add corn, bell peppers, jalapeno pepper and cumin. Mix and sautee undisturbed for 3 minutes, mix and sautee for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with quinoa.
  4. To a bowl with quinoa and sauteed vegetables, add black beans, 3/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup green onions, 1.5 cup cheese, coconut milk and salt. Mix enough to combine all ingredients.
  5. Transfer the mixture to 8 x 11 baking dish, sprinkle with remaining 0.5 cup cheese and bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with remaining cilantro and green onions, and serve warm. No need to let the casserole to cool down.
  6. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
    Freezing Instructions: a) Do not bake at all. Just freeze assembled in a baking dish. Bake frozen 15 minutes longer than the original recipe calls for. b) Under bake by 15 minutes and freeze cooled. Reheat in the oven at 375 for 15 mins (whole, assembled). c)Bake, cut, freeze in individual portions and then defrost in a microwave.

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 8 cups

Amount Per Serving = 1 cup:
Calories: 271.0
Total Fat: 9.9 g
Cholesterol: 7.6 mg
Sodium: 318.3 mg
Total Carbs: 39.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
Sugars: 4.3 g
Protein: 10.7 g
WW Points+: 7

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45 Responses to “Skinny Tex Mex Bean Quinoa Casserole”

  1. erin

    when you freeze, how do you reheat? Looking to make something for a friend that just had a baby that she can easily reheat for dinner. Looking to send over one larger portion.

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Erin,

      You have 3 options:
      1. Do not bake at all. Just freeze assembled in a baking dish. Tell your friend to bake it from frozen 15 minutes longer than the original recipe calls for.
      2. Under bake by 15 minutes and freeze cooled. Then she can reheat it in the oven at 375 for 15 mins (whole, assembled).
      3. Bake, cut, freeze in individual portions and then your friend can just defrost in a microwave.
      That’s what I used to do when I had babies.:) And my friends used to make me casseroles too. Funny.:) Hope this helps.:)

  2. Nicole Sollitt

    What a great dish. There was tons of leftovers and it warms up very nicely! Thanks so much

  3. Monica

    I’ve been craving everything Tex Mex lately, so this looks DELICIOUS. On the menu for tonight! I also just discovered your blog in the past 20 minutes and I think I’ve saved 10 recipes already!

  4. Janne

    I don’t care for coconut milk. Is there something I could use to replace that with similar consistency and somewhat healthy

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Try chicken broth or tomato sauce if you like it better and think it’s healthier.

  5. Jaya

    This was so delicious! I made a few minor changes. Instead
    of sautéing the fixed jalapeño I added it on top after the
    assertive was cooked (I love the crunch and flavor of fresh
    jalapeño). I also squeezed a little fresh lime juice on top of my
    portion once it was plated. Delicious! Thank you for this recipe!
    It’s been added to my dinner rotation!

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Those are great ideas! Because of the kids I do not add much jalapeños and hide them. Glad you liked it.:)

  6. Camille

    I loved this! The only change I made was that I added a can
    of diced tomatoes with green chiles. It was absolutely

  7. Stephanie

    This is a delicious recipe! I don’t eat dairy so I used none dairy cheese and it was perfect. Going to try and add a can of rotel next time.

  8. Anne Anderson

    It looks so good, but would have to come up with some alternatives to coconut oil and milk…any suggestions? Extremely allergic to coconut. Thanks!

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Use olive/grapeseed/avocado (really any) oil instead of coconut oil, and tomato sauce instead of coconut milk.

  9. Aleksandra

    Hi Olena! Just discovered your site last week and we had this added to our menu plan for this week. It was great! I forgot about my quinoa and cooked it through so next time I’ll keep a closer eye! I’m from Winnipeg and from Poland originally. I read your cabbage rolls post and I AGREE!!! The first time I had cabbage rolls here after people RAVING about cabbage rolls (which happens as soon as you tell them where you’re from!) I immediately said, these are NOT cabbage rolls! They were the size of spring rolls and YUP – full of rice!! :) Can’t wait to try yours!

    • Olena

      Heeeey. Nice to meet you! How long you lived in Canada now? Well, it’s like you and me making butter chicken. I’m sure it will taste good but won’t be real Indian food. It’s on my menu btw LOL. Enjoy and let me know how they turn out.

  10. Brenda

    I need a recipe to cook for a group of people, and this sounds great. I was wondering if you have ever tried adding chicken to the recipe or if you think it would work?

  11. Mikhaila

    Hi! This recipe looks great. I however am dairy free. If I leave out the cheese will this dramatically change it? I havent tried dairy free cheese because I’m not a big cheese fan anyway and I don’t know how it will taste. Any suggestions?

    • Olena

      You can skip the cheese but casserole will be more crumbly and not stay together as well. Taste should be tasty anyways.:) Maybe add more green onion or herbs or red pepper flakes for bolder taste.

  12. Foodie

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious. I added some mojo rotisserie chicken I bought from the Publix deli. In addition to the cilantro garnish, I added a few slices of avocado and a spritz of lime. This will be a regular at my place! Also, when cooking the quinoa with 4 mins to spare…is it supposed to be watery like that? I cooked it an extra min or so because I thought that was strange. I’ve never made quinoa before.

    • Olena

      A bit of extra water is find for this casserole. You bake it afterwards anyways and any extra water will be absorbed with other flavours. Glad buoy liked it!:)

  13. Sara

    I found this recipe this morning while browsing freezer-friendly casseroles, since I’ve just moved and need to both stock up my freezer and stick to uncomplicated/fast recipes that won’t be too much hassle. You just convinced a whole bunch of Austrians (and they can be hard to convince) that Tex-mex can be healthy AND tasty. Seriously, congrats 😉 – A grateful Spaniard in Austria

    • Olena

      Haha, you are funny, Sara. Are Austrians like Germans, and like English?:) You are so welcome. I’ve been to Austria many many years ago and have the fondest memories of it. Gorgeous!!!

      • Sara

        They do have a particular aversion to anything that might be spicy and meat free – then again, I work in IT, at a particular company where most guys’ diet seems to exclusively consist on pizza, schnitzel and sausages and “chinese” (namely spring rolls and dumplings) takeaways if and only if the mood strikes 😛 So trust me, this was a HUGE achievement. Also, I’ve been trying some of your recipes in the past days and your zucchini enchilada quiche has become a favourite! 😉 Again, thanks a lot for your ideas, I will most definitely spread the word! <3

        • Olena

          Awe, thank you! I do know exactly what you are talking about. Some guys are just meat and potatoes…period.

  14. Cassie

    Just made this last night and it turned out great! Topped it with a little spicy salsa and am going to have the leftovers tonight for dinner. I am going to link to this tasty clean dinner on my blog! Thanks!!

  15. Candace

    I’m always looking for new recipes to spice up our meatless mondays so I can’t wait to give this a try! Will have to split the recipe up in two 9×9 pans as my 1.5 YO is allergic to dairy and my husband has an aversion to cheese (he’s weird). :) Thanks!!

  16. Michelle

    This looks fantastic! Making it now, but I forgot the cilantro, any suggestions to replace it?

  17. Mary Beth

    This looks great. Any suggestions for a meat or poultry to add to the dish?


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