This vegetarian tater tot casserole is made with smoky Tex-Mex-inspired seasonings, a handful of veggies, and golden tater tots. This hotdish is as nutritious as it is comforting!
Tater tots are the perfect comforting topping in this vegetarian black bean hot dish. I grew up eating tater tot green bean casserole, and black beans are a staple in vegetarian pantries, so it feels only natural to make a tater tot black bean casserole.
Because I already have a creamy tater tot casserole recipe on the blog, I decided to go with more a more Tex-Mex/Mexican-inspired flavor approach for this casserole, similar to my vegetarian taco casserole.
The black beans are seasoned with chipotle peppers, which makes a smoky and cozy base when combined with mushrooms, carrots, and peppers.
This is a veggie-packed meal that makes delicious leftovers. If you're looking for a comforting hotdish to try this fall or winter, this is it!
- Flavors: Smoky, hearty flavors from canned chipotle chili peppers, chili powder, and paprika.
- Ingredients: This is a budget-friendly meal made with canned black beans, a few fresh vegetables, and tater tots.
- Time: This recipe is weeknight-friendly but does require some prep time for chopping vegetables. The casserole can be assembled up to 24 hours in advance.
- Nutritious: Packed with protein from two cans of black beans and dappled with sauteed vegetables, this is a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
- Tater tots: Frozen puffed potatoes make this vegetarian hotdish ultra-comforting. While I opt for the classic tater tot shape, any potato puff works.
- Black beans: Two cans of black beans yield about 3 cups of beans. Feel free to cook your own black beans in the Instant Pot or crock pot instead of using canned beans.
- Chipotle peppers: These come in a small can and are usually labeled "chipotle peppers in adobo sauce". They are dried jalapenos, so they are a little bit spicy but not overwhelmingly so. They can usually be found in the International aisle by enchilada sauce.
- Vegetables: This casserole works with a lot of different vegetables, so feel free to adjust and use what you have on hand. I use two whole carrots, a yellow bell pepper, onion, and white mushrooms.
- Seasonings: Chili powder, oregano, paprika, and a pinch of cinnamon create a warming base reminiscent of black bean soup.
- Shredded cheese: I use shredded sharp cheddar, but Mexican blend cheese is another great option. Make this a vegan tater tot casserole by using an equal amount of your favorite vegan shredded cheese.
- Enchilada sauce: Choose a 10-ounce can of red enchilada sauce. Enchilada sauce is usually available in mild, medium, or hot; choose the spice level that works for you.
How to make
We'll start by making the seasoned black beans. To do this, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with enough oil to coat. Once hot, add the diced onion, pepper, chopped mushrooms, and carrot coins. Sprinkle with salt.
Saute for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and the onions are starting to brown.
Stir in the chopped chipotle chili peppers, tomato paste, and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, to toast the tomato paste and saute the garlic.
Stir in the spices and toast for just 30 seconds. This blooms the spices and enhances their flavor.
Add the drained cans of black beans and enchilada sauce. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes, or while the oven preheats to 400F.
After 10 minutes, transfer the black beans to an 8x8 or similarly sized baking dish. Top with frozen tater tots and a handful of shredded cheese. Note that the tater tots do not need to be thawed before cooking.
Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the tater tots are golden brown. The black bean filling should be bubbling and thickened.
Leftovers: Let the tater tot casserole cool before covering with foil or a lid and transferring to the fridge. Keep for 3 to 4 days.
Freezing: I recommend freezing the casserole before baking it. Let the casserole thaw overnight in the fridge before baking per recipe instructions. Note that thawed tater tots will cook a touch more quickly than frozen tater tots.
Reheating: Reheat individual portions of tater tot casserole in the microwave. To reheat the entire casserole, cover with foil and bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes.
More vegetarian casseroles
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Black Bean Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 8x8-inch baking dish
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral oil
- 8 ounces white mushrooms roughly chopped with stems removed
- 2 whole carrots sliced into coin
- 1 medium orange bell pepper diced
- ½ medium sweet yellow onion diced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic grated (can mince if you don't have a box grater or microplane)
- 2 each roughly chopped chipotle chili peppers from a can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- pinch cinnamon
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
- 32 ounce bag tater tots use ~⅔ of a bag
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with oil. Once hot, add the mushrooms, carrots, pepper, and onion. Sprinkle with salt.
- Saute for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and the onions are starting to brown.
- Stir in the garlic, chopped chipotle chili peppers, and tomato paste. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, to toast the tomato paste and saute the garlic.
- Stir in the chili powder, oregano, paprika, and cinnamon. Toast, stirring frequently, for just 30 seconds to bloom the spices.
- Add the drained cans of black beans and enchilada sauce. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes.
- While the black beans simmer, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Transfer the black beans to a lightly oiled 8x8-inch baking dish. Smooth and flatten the beans into a uniform layer.
- Top with frozen tater tots, about ⅔ of the package. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
- Transfer to the oven to bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes. The casserole is ready when the tater tots are golden, the filling is bubbling, and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Tater tots: Any variety of tater tots or "potato puffs" works. I like to cover the black beans completely with the tater tots in neat rows.
- Vegetables: Feel free to substitute with different vegetables. I recommend keeping the mushrooms, as they add a fair amount of texture to the dish.
- Baking dish: This recipe is written for an 8x8 baking dish, but any similar size works. Note that larger dishes require more tater tots for the topping, while smaller require less.
- Leftovers: Let the tater tot casserole cool before covering with foil or a lid and transferring to the fridge. Keep for 3 to 4 days.
- Freezing: I recommend freezing the casserole before baking the tater tots. Let the casserole thaw overnight in the fridge before baking per recipe instructions. Note that thawed tater tots will cook a touch more quickly than frozen tater tots.