Food You Can Eat: Black Bean Cornbread Bake

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I briefly used one of those meal kit services, which provided some interesting recipes that have remained in my repertoire. This recipe is from that, and it was called a “tamale pie”, which I think is very misleading. It’s beans and cornbread, which is delicious, but it is not in any way a tamale. This recipe uses a pre-made cornbread mix, because I appreciate shortcuts. You could of course make your own mix if you have fancier pants than me (mine are sweatpants and they’re extremely comfortable). 

  • 7 oz cornbread mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 ½ tbsp taco seasoning*
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • Cheddar, shredded (maybe 4 oz? I just use enough for decent coverage on top.)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, dark greens and whites separated
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • Neutral oil

*I’ve posted about taco seasoning before – it is super easy to make your own and will be much better and less salty than store-bought. I mix up equal parts cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and salt, with half parts black pepper and oregano. 

Preheat oven to 450. 

Heat some oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium high. Add garlic and scallion whites and saute for about a minute. Add beans, tomatoes, and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk together cornbread mix, 2 tablespoons oil and 1 cup water. Mixture will be somewhat runny. (The proportions here probably depend on the exact type of cornbread mix you use. You can probably just refer to the package directions, but I skip the egg and up the water a little bit, because that’s what the original recipe did.) 

Pour all of the cornbread mixture evenly over beans. Transfer skillet to upper oven rack and bake until cornbread is set, about 8-10 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven and switch oven to broil. Sprinkle cheddar and dark scallion greens over cornbread topping and broil until the cheese melts and just starts to brown, 1–3 minutes.

A cross section, if you’re into that kind of thing


  1. So, sort-of-not-really-a-shepherd’s-pie.  Can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of cornbread in any form (the first time I had a corndog I took one bite and spit it out), but I might make this without the cornbread entirely and then treat it like a hot dip and eat it with corn tortilla chips.  Yeah, I know.  It’s a texture thing for me.

  2. We have added your prior post on Rice and Beans Two Ways to our regular monthly-ish rotation. It makes enough for at least two meals for two people. I will be adding this as well, both with cornbread and without as a dip as suggested by Butcher, for when we can again gather with other humans. I like cornbread because it reminds me of my father, who was the youngest, born in 1918. (His father was born in 1878, the centuries flow on…) He grew up poor, 17-kid family, maybe 13 lived to childhood, and 8 or 9 through young adulthood. Farming and forestry folks. Anyway, they often ate cornbread and milk as a meal. And he tended to love a slice of warm cornbread as nostalgia food.

    • Warm cornbread with some butter is like eating a hug.
      So glad that my other rice and beans recipe made it into your rotation! I’d say this one similarly makes about four servings. 

  3. This sounds really good. I can make the cornbread from a gf mix (or from scratch, if I’m really bored) and use goat’s milk cheddar jack… Thanks for the idea!

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