Mexican Rice & Bean Casserole Smothered in Cheese

Growing up in an Italian American family in Southern California, I never realized that rice and beans were a staple meal in other countries. As an adult, I learned that in places like Costa Rica families would eat rice and beans for every meal, including breakfast. The Daily Meal has a good article on the history of rice and beans.

According to a book by Maria Baez Kijac, in Brazil, it’s customary for both the rich and poor to consume rice and beans every day. And in Central America the bean/rice team is sometimes called matrimonio (“the marriage”). Rice and beans together also qualify as a complete protein according to nutritional sources.

So let’s make some rice and beans with a little pizzaz. In this recipe, while  beans and rice are really the star ingredients either chicken or turkey can be added. I chose to add leftover cooked turkey meat to this casserole. Yummy!

Hot out of the oven and ready to serve. Cheese melted and bubbly.

Served up and ready to eat. 


For vegetarian version, eliminate turkey or chicken.

Rice & Bean Casserole Smothered in Cheese

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  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped and divided
  • 1 cup cooked white or brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon jalapeño powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (canned, frozen, or fresh off the cob)
  • 1/2 cup cheese, grated (mixture of cheddar and pepper jack cheese)
  • 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice


  1. PREP: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet swirling to coat the surface. Saute green onions for about a minute.
  3. Add cooked turkey or chicken, cooked rice, cumin, chili powder, garlic, jalapeño powder, salt, and paprika to the onions. Stir to coat turkey and rice with seasonings.
  4. Add tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, black beans, and corn to the skillet. Pour in tomato sauce, combine with all ingredients, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon rice and bean skillet mixture into a baking dish and cover with cheeses. Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese melts and is bubbly.



778 cal


34 g


98 g


27 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info


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