Cheesy Fajita Rice Bake
(vegetarian, gluten-free, and budget friendly)
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser of a meal that is easy on a budget and relies almost completely on your pantry staples, this is it! It’s also coincidentally vegetarian and gluten free.
Hearty brown rice, a medley of corn and beans, salsa, and plenty of cheese is all you need to make a satisfying meal. No one in my house actually even missed the meat, and the rice has so much flavor from the salsa, sour cream, and fajita seasoning.
I used Badia fajita seasoning blend, but there are lots of different good brands. You can also make and assemble this up to 3 days in advance! If someone in your family absolutely needs meat, add browned ground turkey or beef to the rice mixture. (Mid-week follow up: I can’t stop eating this! This is officially one of my favorite casseroles, even more so because it’s meat-free and so cheap to make. Soooo good!)
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 10 (1 large + 1 small casserole dish)
Difficulty Level: Easy
1 large recipe preparedPerfectly Cooked Brown Rice (2 cups dry)
1 -8 ounce block reduced fat cream cheese
1 -12 ounce bag frozen bell peppers and onions, thawed
24 ounces salsa
3 tablespoons fajita seasoning (such as Badia)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
10 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
Dried parsley (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the prepared rice, cream cheese, thawed peppers and onions, salsa, and fajita seasoning to a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together black beans, kidney beans, and corn.
- In one large and one small casserole dish, begin to layer your ingredients. The bottom layer is a rice mixture, the next layer is the corn and bean mixture, and the third layer is shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of fillings (it should give you 2 layers of each per casserole dish).
- Top with dried parsley. Cover, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil, and continue to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an additional 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.