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This Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole is the epitome of comfort food – we’re talking perfectly seasoned ground beef, a rainbow of veggies, and tender rice, all snug under a blanket of gooey, melty cheese. Trust me, one bite and you’ll swear you’re sitting in a charming little Mexican restaurant, margarita in hand!
Easy Mexican Beef And Rice Casserole
Alright, my friends, let’s chat about this irresistible Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole. It’s the kind of dish that’ll make you feel like a five-star chef in your own kitchen. I’m talking about seasoned ground beef sautéed to perfection, joined by the refreshing crunch of corn, the savory goodness of spinach, all married beautifully with salsa and fire-roasted tomatoes. This symphony of flavors is then mixed with uncooked rice and submerged in a bath of chicken broth, it’s a one pot wonder that’s impossible to resist!
But wait, there’s more! Just when you think this dish couldn’t get any better, we sprinkle a generous amount of Mexican four cheese blend on top. The cheese melts and turns gorgeously golden in the oven, creating a bubbling cheese crust that’s enough to make anyone weak in the knees. And finally, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro for that added pop of color and freshness. This casserole isn’t just food, it’s an experience, a delicious, drool-worthy experience that’s sure to win over any dinner table!
Why You’ll Love This Mexican Beef And Rice Casserole
- Easy Weeknight Recipe! Perfect for busy days, you can quickly prep this casserole recipe in just 15 minutes with the help of some taco seasoning, a jar of salsa, and a few fresh ingredients.
- Tasty Mexican Deliciousness! With layers of yummy flavor, this comforting Mexican-inspired dish is loaded with seasoned tender beef, gooey cheese, and fresh veggies.
- Crowd Pleaser! Nothing says family favorite, potluck perfect, and party pleaser like Mexican food. This tasty dish will make any crowd happy and come back for more.
- Ground beef – I like to use a lean ground beef – you can also use other options of protein if you like such as ground chicken, turkey or pork!
- Spinach – End trimmed, and roughly chopped.
- Corn – Any brand of frozen corn kernels will do the trick!
- Tomatoes – I used one can of fire roasted tomatoes – you can use a different kind if you like and also roast your own tomatoes if you’d prefer!
- Rice – I used long grain rice for this recipe but you can use any rice of your choice!
- Chicken broth – You can also use beef and vegetable broth too – I like the low sodium or no salt added options.
- Taco seasoning – Any brand work fine!
- Salsa – You can use a mild or more spicy version or make your own!
- Cheese – I used a Mexican 4 cheese blend today.
- Cilantro – Chopped, for garnish – this is optional if you’re not a cilantro-person!
This casserole comes together in a snap! And the rice cooks together with the other ingredients, which means that this recipe only takes about 15 minutes of actual effort! The oven does the rest of the cooking for you.
Anytime you’re making a casserole recipe the first thing you need to do is preheat your oven so that it’s ready to go. So turn your oven on to 375°F (191°C). Next, spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or grease it with vegetable oil. Then set the prepped casserole dish aside for now.
Now, let’s get this casserole started! To begin, add the ground beef to a large skillet and then cook it for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat while breaking it up into crumbles with a wooden spoon. Then stir in the taco seasoning and continue cooking the ground meat until it is no longer pink and has started to brown.
When the beef is done cooking, add the spinach, corn, roasted tomatoes, salsa, and half of the shredded cheese to the skillet. Next, stir everything together until it’s fully combined. Now, mix in the uncooked rice along with the chicken broth. Then after everything is added, make sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
After everything is mixed together, transfer the casserole mixture into the greased baking dish and cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil. Next, put the casserole into the preheated hot oven and let it bake for 45 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. Then when the rice is done you can remove the foil and top the casserole with the rest of the shredded cheese. Now, pop the casserole back into the oven to bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted.
Once the cheese is melted, remove the Mexican beef and rice casserole from the oven. Then garnish it with some chopped fresh cilantro or green onions and serve it immediately with all your favorite fixings like my refreshing pico de gallo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different type of meat for this recipe?
Yes, you can. While ground beef is traditional, you can also use ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based meat substitute for a vegetarian version.
What if I don’t have fire-roasted tomatoes?
Regular diced tomatoes will work just fine if you can’t find fire-roasted ones. The fire-roasted tomatoes add a bit of a smoky flavor, but it’s not crucial to the dish.
What can I serve with this casserole?
Can I make this casserole ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the casserole and refrigerate it before baking. Just remember to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time since you will be starting with a cold dish.
Can I freeze this Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole?
Absolutely! This dish freezes well. Just make sure to cool it completely before freezing, and it’s best if used within 2-3 months for optimal flavor.
- Rinse the rice before cooking. For fluffier rice, you can remove any excess starch or debris by putting the uncooked rice in a strainer and rinsing it under cool water until the water runs clear.
- Brown the meat well. Make sure to break the ground meat up into crumbles and get some color on it before mixing in the veggies. Developing flavor happens in steps.
- Keep it covered with foil. The Mexican rice casserole must remain covered for the first 45 minutes of baking. By covering the dish you are creating steam, which is how the rice cooks.
- Make it spicy. To give the casserole more heat you can use spicy taco seasoning and salsa if you like, but you can also add some fresh diced jalapenos or serrano peppers too.
After letting the casserole cool, you can store it in the refrigerator. If it’s in a casserole dish, you can cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Alternatively, you can transfer it to an airtight container. It should last for about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Other Delicious Casseroles To Try
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
- Beef Tamale Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Sausage Potato Breakfast Casserole
- Skillet Sloppy Joe Casserole
- Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- No Peek Chicken Rice Casserole
- Skillet Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 bunch spinach (ends trimmed and roughly chopped)
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 14 ounce fire roasted diced tomatoes ((1 can) can substitute with regular diced tomatoes)
- ½ cup salsa (store bought)
- 2 cups Mexican 4 cheese blend (shredded)
- 1 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
- 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
- Preheat the oven to 375℉ and spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook the ground beef for about 5 minutes, breaking it into crumbles, over medium-high heat. Stir in taco seasoning and continue to cook until the beef starts to brown and is no longer pink.
- Add the spinach, corn, roasted tomatoes, salsa, and ½ of the shredded cheese to the skillet and stir. Finally, add the rice and broth, and stir until ingredients are well incorporated.
- Spoon the contents of the skillet into the prepared casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil. Place the casserole dish into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. When finished, remove the foil and top with remaining cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
- Once removed from the oven, garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
- Cheese Choice: While the recipe calls for a Mexican 4-cheese blend, feel free to experiment with other types of cheese like Monterey Jack or sharp cheddar for different flavor profiles.
- Spice it Up: If you enjoy heat, add some chopped jalapeños or a dash of cayenne pepper to the mix. Remember, it’s easier to add more spice than to take it away, so start small!
- Use Fresh Ingredients When Possible: While the recipe allows for canned tomatoes and frozen corn, using fresh ingredients when they are in season can enhance the flavors of the casserole.
- Let It Rest: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. This helps the flavors meld together and makes the dish even more delicious.
- Garnish: Don’t forget the fresh cilantro garnish before serving! It adds a burst of fresh flavor and vibrant color that really sets this dish off.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.