Vegan Mexican rice and bean casserole is a quick and easy midweek meal that will quickly become a family favourite. Packed full of savoury flavours and plant-powered nutrition.
This casserole can be prepared in one-pot with just simple, everyday ingredients.
Black beans, kidney beans, and rice are cooked in a taco spiced tomato sauce, flavoured with umami mushrooms, sweet carrots and sweetcorn, and deliciously balanced with green peppers and optional chilli's.
Finished off with a crunchy nacho topping of plain tortilla chips, grated vegan cheese, and a sprinkle of chopped coriander/cilantro.
Origin of Mexican Rice Casserole
Mexican rice casserole is a variant of Mexican rice. Mexican rice is also commonly known as Spanish rice in the US. During the 1500s Spanish invaders introduced rice to Mexico and so a new dish was eventually created using Spanish rice and Mexican flavours.
Traditionally Mexican rice usually has the rice sautéed in some sort of fat before tomatoes, stock, and flavourings are added. Veggies such as corn, peppers, onions and garlic are common additions.
Nowadays, Mexican rice is very popular in the US, as well as enjoyed globally. As Americans love creating casseroles Mexican rice casserole is a popular family meal, which generally involves the addition of a cheesy topping.
Vegan Mexican Rice Casserole
This recipe is inspired by the delicious flavours of Mexican rice.
Long grain rice is cooked with black beans and white kidney beans, (I sourced these on Amazon, UK) while being flavoured with tomatoes and taco seasoning.
Fresh green peppers add mild bitterness while the grated carrot and sweetcorn add various amounts of sweetness.
Instead of mince or taco meat, I added fine diced mushrooms to give the casserole a deep savouriness. My son really dislikes mushrooms but I diced them really small in my little food processer and he was oblivious to there being any mushrooms. And he went back for seconds! Alternatively you can use fresh, frozen, or dried vegan mince.
I did not add any chilli's as my kids are slightly frightened off them whenever I mention the possibility of adding to their dinner. But a small can of green chilli's or a fresh green chilli can be added for extra spiciness if liked.
Once the casserole has cooked on the stove top its good to go but I decided to add a nacho topping mainly because I knew my kids would love it. And also for the tasty texture the crunchy cheesy toasted tortilla chips bring. However, if preferred the nacho topping can just be omitted.
How To Prepare Mexican Rice And Bean Casserole
First cook the onions and garlic.
Add the carrot, peppers, sweetcorn and mushrooms:
Mix through the taco seasoning:
Add the black beans, white beans and rice. Pour in the tomato passata and veggie stock:
Simmer for 20 minutes:
Transfer the mixture to a baking dish or casserole pan.
Pop on the tortilla chips, shredded vegan cheese and chopped coriander/cilantro.
Bake for 10 minutes:
The casserole will be deliciously melted, crispy and golden.
Serve with salsa and guacamole if liked.
Easy mushroom chopping method, optional as can simply slice mushrooms:
Recipe Notes And FAQs
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, covered, for 3 days. Or frozen for up to 4 months. I don't recommend freezing the nacho topping.
Reheat leftovers by microwaving until piping hot (remove any nacho topping as it will likely go a bit soft).
Or place in a casserole/baking dish and reheat in a hot oven (original cooking temp) until piping hot. Place a piece of kitchen foil or a lid over the dish to prevent browning too much or overcooking.
This casserole can be prepared gluten-free. Check that your vegan stock, taco seasoning, and other flavourings are gluten-free. And that you use a gluten-free tortilla chip.
Of course! Anything vegan is also great for vegetarians.
* The beans can be subbed out for any of your preferred beans.
* Switch the passata (tomato sauce) for tinned chopped tomatoes.
* Drizzle a home-made vegan cheese sauce over the tortilla chips instead of the grated cheese
* If preferred omit the nacho topping, and serve once the casserole has been cooked on the stove top. Mix through some nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy hit.
* Not a fan of mushrooms? Use the equivalent of vegan mince either fresh or frozen. Or rehydrate dried TVP (textured vegetable protein) mince. Or mince rehydrated dried soya curls.
* replace the fresh onion and/or garlic with a few teaspoons of the dried varieties.
* Instead of cooking the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil use a ½-3/4 cup of veggie stock. This drastically reduces the calories and fat content.
Absolutely! Prepare this casserole as part of a larger Mexican themed meal or dinner party.
* sliced avocado
* pineapple salsa
* vegan sour cream
* roast tomatoes
* diced or sliced fresh tomatoes
* fresh red onion rings
* sliced spring/green onions
* corn on-the-cobs
* baby corn cobs
* green beans/runner beans
* mixed salad
* steamed greens
* refried beans (no oil/fat recipe but ever so delicious)
* sweet potato fries/chips/wedges
* potato wedges/fries/chips
* extra tortilla chips/crisps
* olives, especially garlic or chilli stuffed olives
* lemon wedges
* sliced fresh chilli
* stuffed jalapenos
If you would rather not use shop-bought taco seasoning or can't source it in your local shops, it is really easy to prepare your own.
The flavours will likely be better as you can tailor to your own taste preferences and add a little extra or this and that, or omit a herb or spice, until its perfect. Try this easy recipe as a foundation over at Meixcanfoodjournal.com
Once chilled, the casserole can be used as a filling for tortilla wraps or as a burrito filling, which is especially tasty for a savoury breakfast.
Or added to a vegan cheese toastie/grilled cheese sandwich.
Another idea is to thin down the casserole with some veggie stock, minus the nacho topping, and reheat as a Mexican rice and bean soup. Perfect for next days lunch, and a small amount of leftovers can be stretched to create a few bowls of soup.
* Create a baked Mexican rice and bean enchilada casserole instead. Simply use the rice and bean casserole as a filling for tortilla wraps. Wrap them all up and place in a casserole dish, with some salsa underneath the wraps.
Spread some extra salsa on top of the enchiladas, and sprinkle some vegan grated cheese over or some nutritional yeast flakes.
Bake until melted and golden.
* Serve taco shells, and all the trimmings such as salad, salsa, avocado slices, refried beans, etc. And use the Mexican rice casserole as the filling. Everyone can pick and choose to create their own taco.
More vegan casserole meal ideas:
Vegan sausage and bean casserole [with sweet potatoes and red peppers]
Green bean casserole [with a creamy mushroom sauce]
Vegan hamburger casserole [classic American family favourite]
Vegan Mexican Rice Casserole (With Black Beans, White Kidney Beans, and Corn)
- Non-stick skillet/ deep frying pan. If you have a stove-top and oven-safe skillet use this to save washing up.
- Casserole dish or oven-safe Dutch oven
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or your regular oil. Or use ½-¾ cup of vegan stock instead of oil.
Mexican rice and bean casserole:
- 130 grams red onion or regular onion (1 medium)
- 4 cloves garlic minced/fine diced
- 170 grams carrot 1 medium-large, grated
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 300 grams mushrooms very fine diced/chopped
- 130 grams sweetcorn frozen or tinned
- 1 green chilli sliced, optional. Or 1 small can.
- 1 packet taco/fajita/enchilada seasoning about a 24/28g packet. Or a few tablespoons if from a tub/jar. Link to a recipe for homemade taco seasoning is included in the recipe notes.
- 1 can black beans 400g/14 oz can drained.
- 1 can white kidney beans or red, 400g/14oz can drained.
- 150 grams long grain rice
- 500 grams passata (or canned tomato sauce in US) alternatively use one can of chopped tomatoes (400g/14 oz) plus 1 tablespoon tomato puree/paste
- 750 millilitres vegetable stock or vegan 'beef' flavoured stock
- 70 grams vegan cheese grated, use extra if liked
- 50 grams plain tortilla chips/crisps use extra if preferred
- 20 grams coriander/cilantro chopped, extra if liked
- 1 tub guacamole or homemade
- 1 small jar salsa or homemade
- Heat the oil or veggie stock in a skillet and cook the onion for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Chuck in the peppers and carrot, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and sweetcorn, and the chilli if using, cook for 4 minutes.Stir frequently.
- Sprinkle in the taco seasoning and mix well.
- Mix through the rice, black beans and white kidney beans.
- Add the passata and vegan stock. Stir through.
- Preheat oven 190 Fan/ 210 Celsius/ Fahrenheit 410 / Gas 6.
- Bring to the boil, lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.Check to see if the rice is cooked, if not place a lid on your pan, turn off the heat and leave the dish to sit for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked rice to a casserole dish, or if your pan is oven-safe just leave the casserole in the pan.
- Scatter the tortilla chips over the top, sprinkle half of the chopped coriander/cilantro, and finish with the vegan cheese.
- Bake for around 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and tortillas have browned a little.
- Toss over the rest of the coriander.Serve with the guacamole and salsa if liked.
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- For less sodium content use a low-salt vegan stock.
- For less fat and calories use veggie stock to cook the veggies, instead of oil.
- Leftovers can be kept in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
- Reheat leftovers by microwaving until piping hot. Or placing back in a hot oven, cover the baking pan with a lid or kitchen foil, and reheat for 20-25 minutes until piping hot.
- Leftovers can be used chilled as a tortilla wrap filling.
- My son loves a vegan cheese toastie/grilled cheese sandwich with leftovers. Add grated vegan cheese and leftovers to two slices of bread and toast until melted and golden.
- Another idea is to thin leftovers, minus any tortilla chips, with some vegan stock, and create a Mexican rice and bean soup, bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until piping hot. This is a great way to stretch one or two leftover portions into a family soup for lunch the next day. Serve the soup with any leftover salsa and guacamole and perhaps a few crackers on the side.