Cheesy Black Bean Lasagna

So I take it from the response on Friday’s post that pressure cookers are back, baby. Holy moly! I loved reading all of the comments. I learned so much and it’s made me excited to share some pressure cooker adventuring (like the dulce de leche I made on Saturday). I’ll try to post a few pressure cooker recipes each month (not to replace what I’m already posting but in addition to – shall we say Thursdays? Sure!) and update you when I’ve made a recipe from my site in the ol’ pressure cooker.

But today, let’s talk about this lasagna recipe. Not pressure cooker friendly (I don’t know, I suppose you could get all crazy and try it; at the very least you could get your black beans ready in a jiffy with the pressure cooker if using dried), this black bean lasagna has been a long time family favorite. I remember making it all the time for Brian’s sister, Amy, and her husband, David, when we lived in Northern Utah almost a decade ago and they had just moved there from Oregon. They were our dinner pals and I loved making food for them since my kids were all four years and younger and I was in those years of dinner time = food being thrown constantly on the floor while little Houdinis figured out how to unbuckle their high chairs/boosters. Feeding real, live adults was a pleasure (as long as they were ok eating amid the aforementioned chaos).

Cheesy Black Bean Lasagna

I’m pretty sure this cheesy black bean lasagna is still Brian’s favorite lasagna variation which is quite impressive since although he enjoys a meatless meal now and again, I don’t think he’s ever actually requested one besides this. He asks for black bean lasagna quite a bit, especially if we’ve been on a long run of bad dinner experiments. Those are never the best of times.

While it doesn’t necessarily fit into any specific food category (not really all Mexican, certainly not 100% Italian), it’s a beautiful mess of smoky flavors, tender beans and lots of saucy goodness. Hearty, simple, and delicious. Oh, and don’t forget cheesy. Yum!

What To ServeMexican Tomato and Corn Salad or Corn on the Cob or simple roasted vegetables, like broccoli (if in season)
Fresh fruit
Humongous green salad (thrown together or this delicious Caesar Salad)

One Year Ago: Whole Grain Honey Bran Muffins
Two Years Ago: Skillet Butternut Squash, Sausage and Penne Pasta
Three Years Ago: Baked Tilapia with Ginger and Cilantro

Cheesy Black Bean Lasagna

Yield: Serves 6-8

Cheesy Black Bean Lasagna

You can use either crushed or diced tomatoes - a lot will depend on how you want the texture of the finished lasagna to be (you could even use a 15-ounce can of each). Same with ricotta or cottage cheese. I've made this with both and when I use cottage cheese, I like to drain any excess liquid and lightly blend it (not to smithereens - just a few short pulses).

If you don't have no-boil lasagna noodles on hand (I prefer the Barilla brand or the whole wheat ones at Target), you can use normal noodles but boil them several minutes short of al dente and pat dry before using.


  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 can (6-ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cans (15-ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 28 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes (see note above)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cups (about 15 ounces) ricotta cheese or cottage cheese (see note above)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (depending on the flavor you want)
  • 3 cups (about 12 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 9-12 no-boil lasagna noodles (enough for 3 layers)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the onions start to turn translucent.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and mix until the ingredients come together. Add the beans, crushed or diced tomatoes, and broth. Using the back of a spoon or a potato masher, lightly mash the beans. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta or cottage cheese, parsley or cilantro, and 2 cups of the cheese.
  5. Spread about 1/2 cup or so of the sauce mixture on the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer three noodles, 1/3 of the sauce mixture followed by 1/3 of the cheese mixture (just dollop it in spoonfuls, it doesn't need to be a completely even layer). Repeat two more times. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese on top.
  6. Cover with lightly greased foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until the edges are bubbling and the lasagna is heated through. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: adapted over the years from my Aunt Marilyn by way of my old recipe binders

33 Responses to Cheesy Black Bean Lasagna

  1. […] Cheesy Black Bean Lasagna | Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  2. Caroline says:

    Excited to have this on our menu this week! I am using crushed tomatoes…do I need to drain any liquid from them beforehand? Thanks!

  3. Alisha says:

    Big hit with everyone. Thanks Mel!

  4. Marci says:

    How is this as a make ahead? Like if I assembled it a couple days in advance

  5. Amy says:

    I have heard of this, but never had the chance to taste. Maybe this weekend.

  6. Angela says:

    Delicious spin on a meatless lasagna! And we had everything on hand — such a dream to make a meal like this just using stuff from the pantry and freezer. Perfect! So hearty that we didn’t miss the meat. I threw in some shredded zucchini too (drained off the liquids a bit) and it disappeared nicely in the sauce. I’m sure all kinds of veggies could go undercover in this one. 🙂 Thanks Mel!

  7. Joanna says:

    Have you ever made this ahead of time and frozen it? I freeze so many dishes, but wasn’t sure about the texture of the black beans after being frozen.

  8. Kelly says:

    Delicious! Made this last night to rave reviews. Going on regular rotation. Thank you!

  9. Lori says:

    Hey Mel,
    With all those flavors mixed together, does the taste of the black beans get minimized? I would like to try this, but my daughter hates black beans. I know you said your hubby likes it, but what about your kids?

    • Mel says:

      I probably wouldn’t make this for a black bean hater. There are a lot of flavors going on but you can still taste the black beans (but yes, my kids gobble it up).

  10. Michelle Barber says:

    This recipe delivered all the things I needed tonight when I made it for 3 families. Simple, delicious and didn’t require leaving my house or taking away from the grocery budget.

    Another winner and lifesaver Mel!

  11. Sarah says:

    Mel does it again! Made this tonight and it was DELISH! Thank you!

  12. Claire says:

    Just made this tonight and used homemade basil lasagna noodles instead of store bought. It was amazing. Between myself and my three little ones (8,6,3), we ate over half the pan. My girls ate 4 helpings each and told me this better appear on the menu regularly. Thanks for sharing such awesome recipes. That’s two of your recipes we’ve made in the last five days 🙂

  13. Leanna says:

    My sister the vegetarian will love this!

  14. Paige says:

    I never would have thought t o put black beans in my lasagna! I’ll have to try this next time it’s on our dinner menu!


  15. Christy says:

    I’m sitting here laughing to myself how ironic it is you posted a lasagna recipe today when I just made your Classic Lasagna recipe yesterday. (It was delicious by the way. I was so excited …and maybe a little nervous to try something different than my go to. But it definitely joining the rotation to add some variety.)

    If it wasn’t for the other half of that lasagna in my freezer, I would be adding this to my menu plan for next week. But alas, that would be too soon for my husband who is spoiled by variety and would question so much lasagna so often.

    But this is the perfect time of year for it so I say: Bring on more lasagna!

  16. I love the idea of black beans in lasagna! Will be trying this ASAP.

  17. Tanya says:

    I assume you do not drain the tomatoes. Is that right?

  18. Alicia says:

    This looks tasty — I might even add in some diced green chilies because we love a little kick.

    But Thursday posts (on occasion)? That just has me giddy! One of my favorite early morning routines on Mondays and Wednesdays is to jump on your site to see what’s new. Adding another day, with recipes I can use in my pressure cooker? Awesome!!

    • Liz says:

      What Alicia said! – both the green chilies and Thursday = pressure cooker day.

      re Sheila’s comment about ricotta. I think you have a dog Mel – dogs LOVE whey (by product making ricotta) and it is good for them if they can have some dairy. You can give them a bit straight or dilute with water. I used it with my previous dog when he was ill to get him to drink more and lap up some supplements. The whey is also good as the liquid for bread making.

      And after ricotta – fresh mozzarella! It is a few more steps and you need citric acid and rennet but it is wonderful and fun to do.

      • Mel says:

        Great idea about the whey, Liz. We give Maggie extra kefir grains when we have them but I bet she’d love the whey. My Aunt just made homemade mozzarella and it has me excited to try it, too!

  19. Sheila says:

    Reading the flavoring ingredients in this recipe and then coming upon Aunt Marilyn’s name, I sat straight up and re-read the post again. Googling something totally unrelated a few weeks ago, I came across instructions on making your own ricotta cheese. I was quite shocked how easy it sounded and I could use the recommended milk bags from making your homemade yogurt. And it would cut the cost of buying ricotta cheese in half. I’m excited to try this new version of lasagna.

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