This McDaniel Short-Cut, a 3 bean bake, is an ode to a food memory from my childhood. My mom proudly pulled her Mexican casserole out of the oven only to discover the crust was 10x higher than her baking dish. Instead of using 1 cup of the packaged cornbread Bisquick mix, she used the entire box. Let’s just say that “crust” did a very good job of topping the beans below. We laughed for days trying to dig our way down to the “meat” of the recipe. Good thing I love cornbread!

Holiday Meals

As we roll into the holiday season, may it be a reminder that the best memories are those that go awry. If you burn the turkey, use salt in lieu of sugar in your pumpkin pie, or stress out over making your mother-in-law’s stuffing (just as your husband fondly remembers it), it will all be ok. Actually, it will be even better.

The Benefits of Beans in our 3-Bean Bake

We used 3 different types of beans in this 3-bean bake. Why?

You’ll Live Longer?

There are five places in the world called “blue zones” that have the longest living people in the world. Not only do these people live long, but their quality of life is high as well. Researchers have studied what people in the five “blue zones” eat daily, and beans were a common denominator. People in all the blue zones ate at least half a cup of beans daily. Beans are cheap, versatile, and full of fiber to keep you full (1).

Plant Power in our 3-Bean Bake

This 3-bean bake offers different antioxidant power! Red beans, kidney beans, and black beans are higher in antioxidants than the commonly known blueberry. Antioxidants can protect the body against free radical damage that causes disease and aging. Beans can be a great food to consume during pregnancy due to their high amounts of folate which can prevent neural tube defects in the fetus (2). Research has shown that bean consumption can be beneficial in improving gut related diseases (3). 3-Bean Bake it up! 

Diabetes Prevention

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and it’s fitting that beans are listed as a superfood by the American Diabetes Association. Since beans are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, they won’t cause intense blood sugar spikes. Beans can provide as much protein as meat without the additional fat (4). 

Check Out Our Latest Other “Short-Cut Recipes”

Tofu Tacos with Cowboy Caviar
Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce with Pumpkin Pasta
Fall Ravioli Bake

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3-Bean Bake with Cornbread Crust

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  • Author: Jennifer McDaniel
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x



Bean Bake

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 115 oz. can diced tomatoes, roasted
  • 4 oz. vegetable broth
  • 115 oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained*
  • 115 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 115 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 t. cumin powder
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 c. Mexican cheese

Cornbread Crust

  • 1 box Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix
  • 1/4 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 3/4 c. milk (we used 2%)
  • 1 egg


  1. Over medium heat, warm olive oil in a saúte pan. Add garlic and onion and saúte for 4-5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add all ingredient through maple syrup. Stir and warm through for 5 more minutes. Stir in cilantro.
  3. While beans simmer, follow directions on the cornbread mix. Add the canned pumpkin when you add in the olive oil.
  4. Pour bean mix into a 9×13 baking dish. Top with cheese.
  5. Top with cornbread mix.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cornbread is cooked through. Using a cake tester, skewer, or toothpick place it into the middle of the cornbread. If it comes out clean, it’s done. The cornbread should be uniformly golden brown all the way across, not just around the edges.


Any canned bean will do!

Topping Ideas: plain greek yogurt and salsa!


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 314
  • Sugar: 2.1 g
  • Sodium: 548.7 mg
  • Fat: 14.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.9 g
  • Fiber: 7.7 g
  • Protein: 10.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 19.5 mg