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Tortilla and Black Bean Pie

Tortilla pie as well as its more Americanized cousin which is made using a certain brand of corn chips, is a popular Tex-Mex dish which enjoys a lot of popularity on both sides of the Rio Grande. For many Americans of a certain age, it was this dish, not the offerings of the popular Mexican fast food chains, that were their first introduction to the flavors of Mexican cuisine.

This vegetarian variation on the classic tortilla pie recipe omits the ground beef in favor of seasoned black beans which offer a similar flavor profile to traditional tortilla pie, but in a healthier dish which is just as savory as any other version of the dish you have ever had. The beans are simmered with vegetable broth, onions, peppers, chilies, and spices before being nestled between layers of crunchy tortilla chips.

The whole enchilada (or if you will, tortilla pie) is topped with rich, savory sharp cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack, or both and baked to golden brown perfection. It is a classic casserole which is comfort food for countless Americans in the southwest and elsewhere throughout the country who grew up on tortilla pie. If you have been missing this classic Tex Mex dish, give this vegetarian version a try – you will be surprised by how great it is!

This layered pie features a layer of beans and spicy vegetables, a layer of tortilla chips, more of the first layer and them more tortilla chips. It is finished off with cheese, as is the case with many Mexican and Tex-Mex casserole and pie recipes, and baked in the oven until the cheese melts. The result is something offering a comfort food feel, packed with authentic Mexican ingredients and offering the most incredible flavors and textures. Cut this into squares and serve it your preferred side dishes, perhaps some kind of south of the border inspired salad, a spicy corn salad, or even some grilled asparagus or mushrooms.

Black Bean Tortilla Pie
Summary: This layered pie is rich in beans, cheese and vegetables. It is seasoned with garlic, chilies, cumin and oregano, and also features plenty of crunchy tortilla chips between the layers.
Cuisine: Mexican
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 cups tortilla chips, broken into large pieces
  • 1 can of black beans (15-16 ounces, or about 2 cups of cooked black beans if you want to make your own)
  • ½ cup milk or soymilk
  • 2 egg whites (or equivalent amount of egg replacer)
  • 1 medium white, red or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced (seeds may be removed to reduce the heat level)
  • 8 oz (1 can) green chilies, drained and chopped
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp cumin or chili powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar and/or Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus another 1 tbsp or cooking spray for the baking dish
  1. Start by sautéing the garlic, onions, peppers, green chili, and jalapeno in a little vegetable oil until the garlic and onions turn translucent and the peppers start to become tender. Add the beans, spices, milk or soymilk, egg whites or egg replacer and vegetable broth and cook over medium heat until the broth is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  2. Oil or spray the bottom and sides of a 9? baking dish, then add about a fourth of the tortilla chips at the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of the bean mixture, followed by another layer of chips and so on, finishing with a layer of chips. Top with the cheese and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Allow to rest for a few minutes, slice into squares and serve hot with salsa or lime wedges.
  3. Tortilla pie is something that just about everyone loves; and with this healthier black bean based version, you don’t have to worry so much about what can be an unhealthy, if hearty meal. Of course, this black bean tortilla pie recipe still is not exactly what you would call health food, but it is significantly lighter than the traditional beef-filled variety.
  4. This recipe makes a wonderful dinner accompanied by a green salad; and it is great left over, either cold or reheated. Once you have tried this vegetarian spin on tortilla pie, you will definitely want to make extra to enjoy the next day or as a midnight snack – it is just that good!

Photo Description:

Taco pie is a great solution for busy weekday evenings, when you want to spend minimal time in the kitchen yet still prepare something tasty for your family. Featuring beans, vegetables, spices and tortilla chips, this cheese-topped taco pie can be decorated with tortilla chips like in the photo, or just served with a sprig of cilantro instead. This creamy, cheese pie is sure to fill every belly, and if you are in the mood for Mexican food and comfort food, this dish offers the best of both worlds. It is also easy to put together.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, I'm Christine, and I'm pleased to welcome you to I have endeavored to gather as many delicious South of the border recipes here for you, including Mexican-inspired as well as traditional Mexican, and also some Tex-Mex and Mexican fusion dishes. Food is very important to our family's lives and Mexican food is certainly a favorite around here.

We have everything from appetizers and snacks to soups, drinks, entrées, and much more. You will find everything from mild dishes to super-spicy ones, simple recipes based on fresh ingredients up to more complex ones suitable for a dinner party.

Home cooks just starting out with Mexican cooking tend to be surprised how much of the emphasis is placed on using fresh ingredients and aromatic herbs and spices. Forget the typical ideas about Mexican food being all beans, cheese and beef (that applies a little more to Tex-Mex), take inspiration from authentic Mexican dishes based on fresh ingredients, and inject all your passion into cooking South of the border food, for perfect results every time.

Thanks for visiting,