Spicy Mexican bean and rice bake (6 servings)

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Beans, rice, and cheese are the ultimate vegetarian combination, in my humble opinion. There are sooo many ways to combine them, from burritos to burgers to casseroles, and you can add a wide variety of ingredients to change the main flavor of the dish (herbs, sauces, veggies, etc.). Plus, it's a cheap combination, too! A couple weeks ago, I tried Faith Durand's spicy Mexican bean and rice bake from

Not Your Mother's Casseroles and was super impressed with the results. The casserole is a colorful (it looked awesome in my Grandma's vintage Pyrex dish), filling, protein-packed supper that makes great leftovers the next day.

You will need:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups cooked white or brown rice (I used white this time)
  • 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup sour cream (low-fat or regular)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a baking 9x13-inch baking dish (or any 12-cup or 3-quart equivalent) with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat; add the onion and green pepper. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, or until the onion and pepper are soft. Add the garlic; cook and stir for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic to a large bowl. Mix in the rice, beans, and tomatoes. Stir in the cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar.
  4. Mix the sour cream, eggs, chipotle powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a different bowl. Stir this mixture into the beans mixture and then spread everything out in the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top. Bake uncovered for one hour, or until it's hot and bubbly.

Gotta love it! The leftovers even freeze well!