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Vegan Mexican Rice And Bean Casserole (Cheesy Nacho Topping)

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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. Also perfect for plant-based diets, vegetarian, and gluten-free meals.

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. So yummy!

Please note: This post contains Amazon affiliate ad links. If you click through and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to your goods. Read the full disclosure. Thanks!

a white bowl with black rim filled with Mexican rice and bean casserole, red-white check tablecloth, and small bowl of guacamole to side, and small bowl of avocados to side.
Delicious served with vegan shop-bought or homemade guacamole and salsa.

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.

mexican bean and rice casserole in blue casserole dish, with a few servings removed.

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

red onions and garlic cooking in black pan, with wooden spoon.

Cook the onions and garlic.

carrot, pepper and mushrooms added to pan.

Add the carrot, peppers, sweetcorn, and mushrooms.

casserole veggies cooking in pan and taco seasoning added.

Mix through the taco seasoning.

black beans, white kidney beans, tomato passata and veggie stock added to the casserole pan.

Add the black beans, white kidney beans, and rice. Pour in the passata and veggie stock.

rice and bean casserole cooking in the pan.

Simmer for 20 minutes.

casserole placed in a baking dish, tortilla chips scattered on top with grated vegan cheese, and chopped coriander.

Transfer casserole to baking dish. Add tortilla chips, grated vegan cheese and coriander. Bake for 10 minutes.

casserole ready to serve, cheese melted and tortilla chips browned.

Once melted, crispy, and golden its ready to serve with salsa and guacamole, if liked.

To easily fine chop mushrooms:

casserole served in bowl with salsa, guacamole and red lettuce leaves, small bowl of guacamole and avocados to side, and blue casserole dish in background, red and white check tablecloth and wooden fork.
Served with salsa, guacamole, extra tortilla chips, and red lettuce leaves. So yummy.

Recipe Notes And FAQs

How do I store leftover rice and bean casserole?


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.

How do I reheat leftover casserole?


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.

Is this casserole gluten-free?


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.

Is Mexican rice casserole suitable for vegetarians?


Of course! Anything vegan is also great for vegetarians.

Can I substitute any of the ingredients?


* 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 1/2-3/4 cup of veggie stock. This drastically reduces the calories and fat content.

Is Mexican rice casserole a good side-dish?


Absolutely! Prepare this casserole as part of a larger Mexican themed meal or dinner party.

What can I serve with Mexican rice casserole?


* guacamole
* sliced avocado
* salsa
* 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

Can I make my own taco seasoning?


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

What can I do with leftover Mexican rice casserole?


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.

I’m not too keen on nachos, can I do anything else interesting?


Yes.

* 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.

a white bowl with black rim filled with Mexican rice and bean casserole, red-white check tablecloth, and small bowl of guacamole to side, and small bowl of avocados to side.

Vegan Mexican Rice Casserole (With Black Beans, White Kidney Beans, and Corn)

Print Recipe
Mexican rice and bean casserole is such a delicious, easy, mid-week meal that the whole family will love.
Perfect for a quick and easy main meal, side-dish or even served chilled as a breakfast burrito filling.
This Mexican inspired casserole is ideal for enjoying on a special Mexican day such as Cinco De Mayo (5th May), Mexican Independence Day (16th September) or the Day of the Dead (1st and 2nd November).
Course Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Bake 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Servings 4
Calories 518
Author Jacq

Equipment

  • 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

Ingredients

To cook:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil or your regular oil. Or use 1/2-3/4 cup of vegan stock instead of oil.

Mexican rice and bean casserole:

  • 130 g red onion or regular onion (1 medium)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced/fine diced
  • 170 g carrot 1 medium-large, grated
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 300 g mushrooms very fine diced/chopped
  • 130 g 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 tbsp 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 g long grain rice
  • 500 g passata (or canned tomato sauce in US) alternatively use one can of chopped tomatoes (400g/14 oz) plus 1 tbsp tomato puree/paste
  • 750 ml vegetable stock or vegan 'beef' flavoured stock

Topping:

  • 70 g vegan cheese grated, use extra if liked
  • 50 g plain tortilla chips/crisps use extra if preferred
  • 20 g coriander/cilantro chopped, extra if liked

Optional:

  • 1 tub guacamole or homemade
  • 1 small jar salsa or homemade

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Data is analysed using computerized nutritional apps.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1747mg | Potassium: 1425mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 9496IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 6mg

Want more comforting, yummy, and nutritious vegan casserole meal ideas?

Vegan sausage and bean casserole (with sweet potatoes and red peppers)

Vegan cowboy pie

Vegan hamburger casserole

Vegan Lancashire hotpot

Vegan vegetable hotpot

10 thoughts on “Vegan Mexican Rice And Bean Casserole (Cheesy Nacho Topping)”

  1. 5 stars
    I loved this twist on rice and beans, so delicious and very yummy! This was such a hit during movie night, last night. My daughter and I had so much fun making this, and we are so excited to make this casserole again!

    1. Absolutely! This casserole is the perfect way to curb the craving with an alternative that is packed full of goodness and tastiness 🙂

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