I concocted this particular black bean and rice recipe because it’s a great starting point for this blog. It fits the bill for those hard-to-please younger palettes. This is something that gets gobbled up quickly in my house and is perfect for quick meals during a busy school year. Make it on a Monday or Tuesday and you’ll probably get a few leftover meals out of it, too.
Add a bean and rice casserole to your cooking toolbox and you will have the start of many great meals to come.
The Key to Success in a Bean and Rice Casserole is in Cooking the Rice
The key for success in a black bean and rice casserole is the rice prep. My goal is for the rice to soak up extra liquid in the casserole but still end up fully cooked. When I prepare the rice I’m going to cook it with less water for less time. I also don’t rinse the rice first because I want some extra starch to help bind the rest of the ingredients.
In this recipe I use one cup of medium grain brown rice and and one and half cups water. I use brown rice because it has more nutrients that white rice, but feel free to use the rice of your choosing. Just be sure to undercook your rice, that way it has a little room left to soak up the other flavors we’ll add to the casserole.
Bring the water to a boil, add the rice, bring back to a boil, stir, take the heat down to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Prepping the Ingredients for the Bean and Rice Casserole
While it’s cooking, you can get the rest of the ingredients and start prepping and combining them.
Medium dice a whole Red Pepper
Medium dice a whole medium zucchini
Open 2 15oz cans black beans and wash them in a colander or sieve
Open the 12oz bag of frozen corn and add to bowl
Add the 7oz can of fire roasted chilis (these are not hot!)
Add the cooked rice
Then add the green enchilada sauce for flavor (I use this brand because it does not have any MSG and just tastes a little better than many of the other canned versions)
Add salt and pepper to taste
Add 1.5 cups of shredded cheese (I’ve used a ubiquitous mexican blend but cheddar is good, too!)
Mix it up and add it to a 16×9 banking pan, spreading it evenly
Finally top it with another half cup of shredded cheese
Cover it with foil and pop it into a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes
When you take it out of the oven it should be bubbling and slightly browned on top.
My family likes this with a little sour cream on top and their favorite salsa or hot sauce.
Bean and Rice Casserole is Customizable
The great thing about this dish is it’s very versatile and highly customizable.
You can use white rice instead of brown.
You can use pinto beans instead of black beans.
You can add other proteins like ground beef, shredded chicken or pork, even shrimp.
You can add or exchange some of your family’s favorite vegetables or mushrooms, olives, and different cheeses.
You can use a red enchilada sauce instead of a green sauce for a different flavor.
You can even go off into a different flavor profile entirely. How about using an Indian masala or butter sauce? That sounds pretty tasty actually!
Bean and Rice Casserole Will Go Easy on Your Bank Account
The other great thing about this recipe is its cost. The most expensive thing here was the green enchilada sauce, which was about $4 and the cheese, which might have been about $2-$3 when purchased in bulk.
Everything else was literally a dollar or less. That means the whole casserole cost about $13-$14 to make.
At 8 servings per casserole, that gives you less than $2 per serving, which is really affordable.
This Casserole is Nutritious and Relatively Low Calorie
You get complex carbs from the rice and and beans and when you combine them you also get protein. You also get fiber from the beans and the veggies (my wife would want me to add more veggies) and some fat from the cheese.
As for calories, I calculated about 2700-2800 calories in this whole thing. That means you are getting about 350 calories per serving, without the sour cream and avocado.
Messing with the Children
One more thing. If you really want to mess with your kids, thow out and drain the water out of this bag of spinach and toss it in there. Get ’em, ma!
Black Bean and Rice Casserole
- 4 quart sauce pan
- Cutting Board or Surface
- Large Mixing Bowl
- 9" x 16" Baking Pan
- Aluminum Foil to Cover Pan
- Colander or Sieve
- 2 cups Cooked Brown Rice (undercooked) 1 cup uncooked brown rice (not rinsed) simmered in 1.5 cups water for 30 minutes or until all water absorbed.
- 2 15 oz Cans of Black Beans (washed and drained)
- Medium Red Bell Pepper Rough Diced
- Medium Zucchini Rough Diced
- 1 12 oz Bag of Frozen Cord Regular or fire roasted
- 1 7 oz Can of fire roasted chilis These are not hot
- 1 tsp Salt To taste
- 1 tbsp Pepper To taste
- 8 oz Packet or Can of Green Enchilada Sauce I used the Frontera brand, which comes in a pouch not a can and does not have any MSG
- 2 cups Shredded Cheese (Mexican blend or cheddar) Will save ½ cup for topping
- Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil in 4 qt sauce pan.
- Add 1 cup of uncooked brown rice to boiling water, bring back to boil, stir, then turn down heat to low simmer and cover for 30 minutes. No need to peek!
Prep and Combine Other Ingredients While Rice Cooks
- Pre-heat oven to 350°
- Rough dice (1/2 inch) Red Bell Pepper, add to mixing bowl
- Rough dice (1/2 inch) Zucchini, add to mixing bowl
- Open bag of frozen corn and add to mixing bowl
- Add 7oz can of fire roasted chilis to mixing bowl
- Add 2 15oz cans of drained and washed black beans to mixing bowl
- Add cooked rice
- Add 8 oz packet of green enchilada sauce
- Add 1½ cups of shredded cheese, which should leave you with ½ cup left over
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Stir all ingredients to combine
- Add contents of mixing bowl to 9"x13" baking pan and smooth over until it's evenly spread out
- Add remaining ½ cup of cheese to top of casserole
- Cover baking pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in center rack of 350° oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil from baking pan and cook another 15 minutes
- Remove from oven and let cool, uncovered for 5-10 minutes
- Serve with favorite toppings, including sour cream, salsa, avocado, hot sauce, etc.