Meatless Mondays: Skillet Mexican Brown Rice Casserole

I can take very little credit for this meal. A friend of mine found it, made it, and posted a photo of her version of this recipe last week on Instagram. It looked really delicious in her photo, and the directions looked easy enough, so I decided to give it a try for myself.  I made this last night. I wanted something that was going to be quick and easy and something that wouldn’t require me to get a lot of stuff at the grocery store. One of the best things about cooking more for myself these past few months is that my pantry (and by pantry I clearly mean cabinet, not an actual pantry) now has more spices and more of the staples consistently.  For this recipe I really only needed to get produce. I love being able to spend less time and money at the grocery store.

This recipe was so good! It has great flavor, and is a little spicy, which I love. It was great for dinner last night and it heated up beautifully for lunch this afternoon too. The reheat factor is definitely something that I take into account when I look at recipes. Even though I am only cooking for myself, I like to make something on a Sunday that will get me through a couple days and/or freeze well.

Another great thing about this particular recipe is that it is flexible. For example, my friend doesn’t like black beans, so she substituted veggie crumbles for those in her version. I don’t like cilantro, so I eliminated that all together. I didn’t have cayenne, so I used red pepper flakes.

If you like Mexican food – I highly recommend this!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • pinch of cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup quick cook brown rice
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 cups freshly shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add in the pepper, jalapeno, corn, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and cayenne. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies are all tender. Add in the tomato paste and brown rice. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
  2. Add in the drained tomatoes, black beans and veggie broth. Give the mixture a good stir then bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes (or according to the time on the package directions for the rice), until almost all of the broth has been absorbed by the rice (and the rice is tender).
  3. Remove the cover and sprinkle the cheese over the top (use the lower or higher amount depending on how cheesy you want it!). Recover and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  4. Garnish with the cilantro before serving.