Tex Mex Bean Bowl

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So my boys really love refried beans – like really really love them. So I was trying to come up with a way to serve them as more than just a side of rice and beans. I had this idea for a cheesy jalapeno meatballs that I morphed into a more Tex-Mex style flavoring with the cumin and chipotle. The end result was this super tasty Tex Mex Bean Bowl!

Tex Mex Bean Bowl

When I say cheesy – I mean cheesy! With three cups of cheese in this, you really can’t call it anything else. I use cheddar cheese in this, but you could also do a Colby jack, Monterey jack, sharp cheddar or any combination of them. The amount of cheese is also why it’s important to drain off the excess grease after the stove top cook of the meatballs.

Tex Mex Bean Bowl

The best way to eat this dish is using the rip and pinch method. This is when you rip a piece of tortilla off and use it to pinch up a portion of beans and then a meatball – the perfect bite! You could also of course just make a whole mini taco out of things by spooning some beans in and then maybe 3 meatballs in the tortilla. Not as much fun but still tasty for sure!

Tex Mex Bean Bowl

If you wanted to add a few more topping to this, I could suggest maybe some black olives, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, cilantro, or diced tomatoes. I don’t think it is needed but it would definitely be a delicious addition to this dish.

Tex Mex Bean Bowl

Now Let’s Get Cookin’!


Tex Mex Bean Bowl

A flavorful meatball baked in a chipotle sauce and served over cheesy refried beans.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword beans, cheese, chipotle, ground beef, ground beef recipes, meatballs, refried beans
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 12 Fajita-Sized Tortillas

For the Meatballs

  • 2 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Panko
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese finely shredded
  • ¼ cup Cilantro chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno seeded and diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt

For the Chipotle Sauce

  • 1 15oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 7oz can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo minced
  • 2 cup Beef Broth
  • 1 tbsp Dried Minced Onion
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder

For the Cheesy Beans

  • 1 15oz can Whole Pinto Beans
  • 2 15oz cans Refried Beans
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder


  • Place all ingredients for meatballs into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly combine. Form into 1½-inch balls. In a large oven-safe saute pan, place meatballs in a single layer. Turn heat to medium-high, cover pan and let cook for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375degF
  • In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine all ingredients for beans. Stir occasionally. Once it starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • In a small bowl add sauce ingredients, and stir well to combine.
  • Remove lid from meatballs and drain off excess grease. Pour sauce over top of meatballs and replace lid. Place in oven for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove pan from oven and remove lid. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, replace lid and cook another 10 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before starting to serve.
  • In a shallow bowl, add a portion of beans in the bottom. Place 5-6 meatballs (with gooey cheese) on top. Serve with 2 tortillas.

Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:


Estelle self-published a second cookbook – Burgers on a Weeknight – recently. It has over 60 delicious burger creations! You can purchase your own copy here:


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