Joy of Cooking: Kidney Bean Casserole

Kidney Bean Casserole is my fourth and final Cookbook Challenge recipe from Joy of Cooking. I love casseroles. That’s why this recipe caught my eye. It’s simple to make and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand.

I cut the recipe in half. So here are the ingredients that I used:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked kidney beans, or other bean of your choice (I’ll get to that in a minute!)
  • 14 ounce can of whole tomatoes with juice, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

Let’s start with the beans. I’m not all that crazy about kidney beans. Since the recipe said that I could use the bean of my choosing, I chose Bolita Beans. You may remember that I purchased these when Husband and I were in Colorado. The beans are grown in that area.

Bolita Beans

Bolita beans are a lot like pinto beans. Although they supposedly cook a bit faster. I cooked a little over a cup of dried beans in about 4 cups of water. This would yield more than enough beans for the casserole.

After the beans were cooked and cooled, I sauteed the canola oil and onions over medium heat until they were golden. About 12 minutes.

Onions Sauteing – Not golden yet!

I added the garlic and chili powder and sauteed for another minute. Adding the chili powder to the saute allows it’s flavors to bloom.

I stirred in  2 cups of cooked beans. The recipe called for the beans to be drained, but I like things to be saucy, so I included some of the bean cooking liquid.

Stir in the beans

Then I added the chopped tomato, salt and pepper. Just let that mixture heat through.

Beans, tomatoes, etc.

The next step is to assemble the casserole and layer in the cheese.

Grated Cheese – It doesn’t look like much!

Spray a casserole dish with Pam. Pour in half of the bean mixture, top with half of the cheese. Pour in the remainder of the bean mixture and top with remaining cheese.

Assembled Casserole – Ready to Bake

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the top is browned.

Casserole, bubbly and browned!

I served my Bolita Bean Casserole with a salad. The casserole would be a very nice side dish, but I used it as a vegetarian main course. I also served some warm corn tortillas.



The Verdict? This is one of those instances where the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. This was a knockout and I’m not sure why. The recipe seemed almost hum-drum. I thought it would just be some cheesy beans. But it was so much more than that!

I think that the combination of tomatoes and chili powder is what put this over the top. When I poured the chopped tomatoes into the bean mixture I was surprised by the volume. This was a lot of tomato in relation to the beans. The chili powder gave it an earthy, smoky, depth of flavor.

I was really surprised by this dish. I loved it.

And here is the best part. I ate the leftovers the following day and they tasted even better! It tasted good cold, right out of the refrigerator. It tasted good re-heated.

When I was preparing the casserole, I really thought it would be better if I added more cheese. Not necessary. I thought it would be better if I made it spicier. Don’t bother! I doubt that I would make any changes to this recipe.

I will try it with other types if beans. The bolita beans were super. But it might be really good with some type of white bean. This is so good that I will try it with every bean in my pantry.

I’m not sure why it works…but it works.

Joy of Cooking hit this one out of the park!

2 thoughts on “Joy of Cooking: Kidney Bean Casserole

    • Ha, yes, even the “lowly” kidney beans. No slight meant to the K beans. They are just not one of my favorites. One thing about my cooking style, I never let a good sounding recipe dictate the ingredients that I end up using. I take recipe ingredients more as a suggestion than a list of items that must but used. I know that’s not exactly the intention of the recipe author… but hey, it works for me.

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