Mexican Bean and Rice Casserole

mexBeing close to the Mexican border as I write this post….we are surrounded by Mexican restaurants.  The problem with most Mexican restaurants is the menus are loaded with bad oils, lots of cheese and mystery cream sauces that I do not want to eat as I would be compromising my healthy diet.  But being near all of these Mexican places makes me want to experience the bean and chile flavors.

I have found a great recipe which satisfies my desire for that south of the border taste using healthy, vegan and gluten free ingredients.

MEXICAN BLACK BEAN AND RICE CASSEROLE

SAUCE:

  • 1 large onion peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp. cashews, lightly toasted in a dry pan
  • 1 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt to taste

Saute the onions and bell peppers in a little water in a pan until soft.  Then place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy.  You can add up to 1/2 cup of water if needed to achieve smooth consistency.

CASSEROLE:

  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds toasted in a dry pan and then ground
  • 2 tsp ancho chile powder or Mexican seasoning
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups organic corn kernels
  • chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place onion and red pepper in large saucepan with 1 or 2 tbsp. water and sauté until onion starts to brown.  Stir often so veggies don’t stick to pan.  If you prefer, you could use a tbsp. of olive oil for sautéing.  Add garlic and cook for about 4 minutes.  Add the cumin and chile powder and stir well to blend.  Remove from heat.  Add the cooked rice, zucchini, black beans and corn and the sauce.  Mix well.

Spoon into a casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle the fresh chopped cilantro overtop and serve casserole warm.

It is yummy, comforting, healthy and satisfies my need for Mexican food.

Make a nice green salad as a side dish.  Serve this nutritious meal with some fresh salsa and organic non-gmo corn chips and you will be as happy as I am eating Mexican without all of the added fats and mystery ingredients in restaurants.

 

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