This vegetarian enchilada casserole is loaded with a satisfying tofu and black bean filling. Ready in just under an hour using nutritious ingredients and pantry staples, this recipe is perfect for weeknight dinner and makes great leftovers!
If you're looking for a comforting, nourishing, and pantry-friendly meal, this vegetarian enchilada casserole checks all of those boxes.
Enchilada casserole reminds me of a cross between black bean enchiladas and lasagna because, unlike enchiladas which are rolled up, enchilada casserole uses layers of corn tortillas. Each layer is stacked with corn tortillas, a tofu and black bean filling, and cheese.
Why this recipe works
- Flavors: Because this recipe is all about ease, enchilada sauce and sauteed onions and peppers are the primary seasonings to make this Mexican-inspired meal.
- Easy to customize: This recipe is similar to my sweet potato black bean enchiladas because it is really easy to customize and is great for picky eaters. Feel free to add in extra vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, or zucchini.
- Balanced: Packed with vegetarian protein from tofu and black beans, along with a serving of vegetables, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This is a well-balanced and satisfying meatless meal!
- Good for meal prep: This enchilada casserole makes at least 5 to 6 servings, so it's great to serve a family or a crowd. It works well for meal prep because it reheats well.
- Yellow onion: White or red onion also works.
- Extra-firm tofu: The tofu does not need to be pressed because it is crumbled directly into the pan, like a tofu scramble. Super firm also works.
- Bell pepper: Red bell pepper lends a sweet flavor and pop of color, but any color of bell pepper will do.
- Enchilada sauce: Choose mild, medium, or hot red enchilada sauce based on your spice preferences. Green enchilada sauce does work but I like it better in these sweet potato enchiladas than in this enchilada casserole.
- Green chiles: These add a pop of spice and extra flavor.
- Black beans: Choose "No salt added" black beans or cook your own from dry as one way to control the sodium content. You can also use pinto, kidney, or red beans.
- Spices: Chili powder, cumin, garlic, and salt are used to spice things up a bit. Or just use a tablespoon of taco seasoning.
- Corn tortillas: Use white or yellow 6" corn tortillas. Store extra tortillas in the fridge to have on hand for cauliflower tacos or quick black bean quesadillas.
- Mexican cheese blend: This usually includes cheddar, Colby, and Monterey jack cheeses. You can also shred your own cheese or use a dairy-free Mexican blend cheese to make this recipe vegan.
There are two main steps to making this vegetarian enchilada casserole: making the filling and assembling the casserole layers.
Make the filling
Let's start with making the black bean and tofu filling. This can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
Step 1: Start by heating olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add diced yellow onion and bell pepper. Crumble tofu directly into the pan, as you would with a tofu scramble. Saute until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add black beans, 1 cup of enchilada sauce, green chiles, and spices. Simmer over medium-low for 5 minutes, or until the enchilada sauce is heated through.
Assemble the casserole
Just like with lasagna, the next part of making a vegetarian enchilada casserole is all about the layers.
Cut the tortillas in half to make them easier to layer.
- Spread ½ cup enchilada sauce in a 9x13-inch baking dish or similarly sized dish.
- Layer three tortillas (6 tortilla halves) so that the sauce is mostly covered. Some gaps will remain and that is okay.
- Cover with half of the black bean filling, about 2 and ½ cups.
- Sprinkle evenly with ⅔ cup cheese. Repeat steps 1-4 once more: tortillas, filling, cheese.
- Next, top with 3-4 tortillas (6-8 pieces). At this point I add extra tortillas on top to fill in any gaps. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce over the tortillas, then sprinkle with ⅔ cup shredded cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted.
There are so many ways to customize this casserole.
- Make it vegan/dairy-free by using vegan shredded cheese instead of Mexican-blend cheese.
- Other vegetarian protein options: Swap regular tofu with tofu chorizo, soyrizo, or vegan tempeh taco meat.
- Greens: Add spinach or kale (a good source of iron for vegetarians) when adding the black beans, enchilada sauce, and green chiles.
- Extra veggies: Use up veggies like carrots or squash by sauteing them with the onion and bell pepper. Roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash also go well in enchilada casserole.
- Leftovers: Store leftover enchilada casserole for 3-4 days. Reheat individual slices in the microwave in just about 2 minutes.
- Freezing slices: Enchilada casserole freezes well. I like to separate individual portions into freezer-safe containers for quick meals. The best way to do this is by slicing the casserole once it is completely cooled. I usually do this when it is refrigerator temp for the tidiest slices.
- Freezing the entire casserole: The entire casserole can be frozen once room temp, just make sure to cover it tightly with foil and a lid. Let thaw completely in the fridge before reheating.
- Make ahead: The filling can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. I have not tried prepping the assembled casserole in advance.
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Vegetarian Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 and ½ cups red enchilada sauce (20 ounces)
- 4 ounces diced green chiles drained
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 10 6 inch white corn tortillas sliced in half into half moons
- fresh cilantro, lime and avocado for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add diced yellow onion and bell pepper. Crumble tofu directly into the pan, as you would with a tofu scramble. Sprinkle with salt. Saute until onion is softened, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add black beans, 1 cup enchilada sauce, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Simmer over medium-low for 5 minutes, or until enchilada sauce is heated through. Taste for seasonings.
- To assemble the casserole: Spread ½ cup enchilada sauce in a 9x13 baking dish. Layer three tortillas (6 half moons) so that the sauce is mostly covered. Cover with half of the black bean filling (about 2 and ½ cups). Sprinkle evenly with ⅔ cup cheese. Repeat once more: tortillas, filling, cheese. Top with 3-4 tortillas (6-8 pieces). It's okay if gaps aren't completely covered. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle with ⅔ cup cheese.
- Place the casserole uncovered on the middle oven rack. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy topped with chopped cilantro, avocado and Greek yogurt or sour cream.
- Mexican cheese blend: This is a combination of sharp cheddar, Colby and Monterrey jack cheese.
- Keeps refrigerated for 4-5 days.
- To freeze: Slice the enchilada casserole into individual servings once it is completely cooled. I usually do this when it is refrigerator temp for the tidiest slices. Store in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely in the fridge before reheating in the microwave or oven.