Today, I am continuing the countdown to Cinco de Mayo, and this time, I have a recipe that is hearty enough to be a main dish for vegetarians and perfectly suited to be a side dish for carnivores.
There are plenty of bean-and-rice dishes out there, but most start with white rice, something I try to avoid. White rice is not a whole grain; all the most nutritious parts, like the bran and the germ, have been removed. This process removes most of the vitamins and minerals, as well as the fiber. So, use brown rice whenever possible; your body will thank you for it!
I know that sometimes cooking rice can seem intimidating. If you don’t get it just right, you can end up with a burned and/or gooey mess sticking to the bottom of your pot. Well, a long time ago, my mother taught me a super shortcut for cooking rice that I have been using for over 30 years. It does not require a rice cooker or any special measuring. The trick is to basically cook the rice just like pasta–boil it in water and drain when done. When my mother taught me this, I was using white rice, so it needed to cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Brown rice takes longer, so be prepared to cook it for 35 minutes. Of course, if you already have a tried and true method to make your rice, by all means use it!
Once you have the rice cooked, this dish comes together very quickly, and then bakes in the oven, which gives you time to whip up a(nother) batch of margaritas.
First, mix all ingredients together and place in a casserole dish.
Reserve 1/4 cup of the cheese to sprinkle on top before baking
Bake, covered, for 30-40 minutes at 375°F
Enjoy with tacos, burritos, and all your Mexican feasts!
Brown Rice and Bean Bake
- ¾ c rice, brown, long grained about 2 c cooked
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp taco seasoning, dry
- ¼ – ½ tsp cumin, ground
- ¾ c salsa
- 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
- ¾ c corn I use frozen
- 1 c cheese, shredded, cheddar or 4-cheese Mexican
- If you have leftover brown rice from another meal, feel free to use it here!
- Otherwise, cook the rice first by filling a large pot with water. Add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the rice, bring back to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium, to keep the water simmering. Cook for 35 minutes, and then drain the rice in a colander, but do not rinse.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- In a two- to three-quart casserole dish, combine the cooked rice with the beans, salsa, corn and seasonings, plus ¾ cup of the shredded cheese. Use the rest of the cheese to sprinkle over the top of the dish. Cover and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese is melted.