Tex-Mex Chickpea Tater Tot Casserole

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Spicy, saucy chickpeas simmered in Tex-Mex spices topped with crispy tater tots makes for an irresistible vegan comfort food meal! Bonus: this tater tot casserole comes together in just a few steps and can be prepped ahead of time for a super easy weeknight dinner.

Are you guys familiar with the concept of tater tot casserole? Also know as hot dish? I was not until I started food blogging. But I hear it’s a pretty popular dish in some areas — one of those comfort staples lots of folks grew up eating. And of course with that being the case, I had to get in on the action and create a vegan version.

I’ve seen lots of versions of tater tot casserole in my years browsing Pinterest, and most of the meat-based versions seem pretty simple, generally involving hamburger meat and not much else.

So yeah, obviously hamburger meat is out for vegan tater tot casserole, and I wanted to add some fun. That’s how I ended up with this chickpea version. And what more delicious way to season up some chickpeas than zesty tomato and Tex-Mex spices?

I threw some carrots and corn into my casserole because that’s what I had on hand, but really, you could use anything. Got a big old head of cauliflower that needs using? Do it! Are you reading this during the late summer with a bumper crop of zucchini on hand? Chuck it in!

And then there’s the tater tot part of the recipe. Just for the record: I am not above using frozen tater tots in a recipe, as you may have noticed by reading the ingredients list to this one. While I generally like to take a from scratch approach, doing that would make this otherwise super simple weeknight dinner a lot more complicated. If you have a homemade tot recipe you really like, go right ahead and use it as a topper for this. These butternut tots would probably be delicious.

Tips for Making an Excellent Vegan Tater Tot Casserole…

  • The chickpea stew portion of this dish can easily be prepped in advance. Finnish simmering, allow it to cool and store it in a sealed container. The day of serving, transfer it to a skillet or baking dish, top with tots, and bake according to the recipe.
  • Adjust the spice level to your liking. If you skip the cayenne pepper, the dish will be flavorful, but not very hot (unless you use hot chili powder). Feel free to back off on the spices for an even milder or more kid-friendly version, or kick up the cayenne a notch for extra heat.
  • Switch things up by swapping out the chickpeas with your favorite variety of beans. Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and lentils would all be excellent in here.

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5 from 7 votes Print

Tex-Mex Chickpea Tater Tot Casserole

Spicy, saucy chickpeas simmered in Tex-Mex spices topped with crispy tater tots makes for an irresistible vegan comfort food meal! Bonus: this tater tot casserole comes together in just a few steps and can be prepped ahead of time for a super easy weeknight dinner.

CourseEntree CuisineAmerican Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 55 minutes Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes Servings 4 Calories 541 kcal Author Alissa Saenz


  • 1tablespoonolive oil
  • 1medium carrot,finely diced
  • 1medium onion,diced
  • 3garlic cloves,minced
  • 1.5tablespoonground cumin
  • 1 tablespoonchili powder
  • Pinchcayenne pepper,or to taste
  • 2(14 ounce) canschickpeas,drained and rinsed
  • 1(14 ounce) canfire roasted tomatoes
  • ½cupwater
  • ¼cup tomato paste
  • ½cupfrozen corn,thawed
  • Salt and pepper to taste(I used ½ teaspoon each)
  • 45frozen tater tots

For Topping (pick your favorites)

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Cashew cream or sour cream
  • Chopped scallions or cilantro
  • Sliced black olives


  1. Coat the bottom of a large (preferably oven-safe) skillet with oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the carrot and onion. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until the carrot begins to soften and the onion is very soft.

  2. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper and continue to sauté for about 1 minute more, or until very fragrant.

  3. Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, water, and tomato paste. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow it simmer until the sauce thickens up a bit, about 10 minutes.

  4. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the corn and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Preheat the oven to 400°.

  6. If you’re using a non-oven safe skillet, transfer the mixture to a 9 x 9 inch baking dish. Otherwise, leave it in the skillet. Smooth out the top.

  7. Arrange the tater tots on top.

  8. Bake, uncovered, until the chickpea mixture is hot and bubbly, and the tater tots are crispy, about 35 minutes.

  9. Divide onto plates and serve with toppings of choice.

Nutrition FactsTex-Mex Chickpea Tater Tot CasseroleAmount Per ServingCalories 541Calories from Fat 140% Daily Value*Fat 15.6g24%Saturated Fat 2.7g14%Sodium 1623mg68%Potassium 1065mg30%Carbohydrates 91.1g30%Fiber 16.3g65%Sugar 8.5g9%Protein 15.5g31%Calcium 120mg12%Iron 7.2mg40%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.« Roasted Veggie Tacos with Creamy Whipped Black BeansCrispy Beer-Battered Tofu Tacos with Vegan Baja Sauce »

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Made it last night! It was quick, easy and delicious! also drizzled some Diaya cheese sauce on top 😋


  • I made this for my husband and 14 month old son. Both devoured it lol. I didn’t have any chickpeas so I added a can of black beans and a can of kidney instead. It was delicious. Love all of your fantastic recipes.


  • Mmmmmm! Delicious! We loved it! All your recipes are fantastic and easy. 👌


    • I made this last night. My Husband LOVED IT!!! Thanks for another great recipe!


      • I made this last night, and everyone loved it! My boyfriend said it was much better than any tater tot hot dish he has growing up. I only wish I had leftovers for today!


        • This is getting added to my “go to” easy comfort food recipes. I LOVE it. Thank you for always sharing such great stuff. I know when I try one of your recipes that it’s going to be great…this one definitely is!


          • Just made this on this raw, rainy night. It was fun to make and satisfying to eat. My husband loved it, too.


            • Hi, I’m Alissa! I’m a former attorney turned professional food blogger. I love creating vegan recipes with bold flavors!

              More about me →

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