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May 24

Mexican Rice Casserole

I love Mexican food, so even after eating lots of it last week in honor of Cinco de Mayo, my cravings were not satisfied. This Mexican Rice Casserole is very filling with lots of rice, beef, tomatoes and cheese. I was pretty happy with it as is, but then I put a dollop of Wholly Guacamole on top and that really brought it up a notch. Personally, I think guacamole has that effect on most dishes. If you’re looking for a hearty meal with Mexican flair for only 7 Green, 6 Blue or 2 Purple myWW SmartPoints, this one’s for you. To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!

***For some unknown reason the original post for this recipe was messing up my category labels (appetizers, casseroles, desserts, etc) so I had to take it down and re-post it.  I’m simply mentioning this to avoid any confusion of the “didn’t she already post this?” or “hey, it’s not the week after Cinco de Mayo!” variety. This concludes the Emily Bites special bulletin.***

Mexican Rice Casserole

This meaty Mexican Rice Casserole is filling, tasty and easy to make!


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice, not instant
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (divided)
  • 1 cup reduced fat 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thick


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook rice according to the instructions on the package.
  • In a large sauté pan, bring the olive oil to medium heat. Add the ground beef and brown while breaking it up. After 3-4 minutes of browning, add the onion and all of the seasonings. Stir until combined and then continue to cook until the beef is browned and the onions are cooked. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the cooked rice, black beans, tomato sauce and add 2-3 T of the cilantro and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Lightly mist a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and pour the rice mixture in, spreading it evenly. Spread the tomato slices evenly across the top and follow with the cheese.
  • Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the dish with it, spray side down. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5-7 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining cilantro.


To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
301 calories, 39 g carbs, 4 g sugars, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 20 g protein, 5 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
MyWW SmartPoints per (1/9th of the recipe) serving: (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Green: 7 SmartPoints/ Blue: 6 SmartPoints/ Purple: 2 SmartPoints
7 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
adapted from For the Love of Cooking

29 comments on “Mexican Rice Casserole”

  1. This was awesome! Having some leftovers today for lunch 🙂 I put on a can of fire-roasted tomatoes on top instead of just plain tomato slices – and wow, it was hard to not eat half the pan. Great pick!

  2. Hi Emily…this looks yummy! Do you think white rice would be just as good? I’m assuming the brown rice makes it more point friendly.

  3. I’m sure white rice would definitely be just as delicious. I just tend to use whole grains when possible. The original recipe I adapted it from used white rice, so I’m sure it tastes yummy either way! 🙂

  4. I just made this dish for dinner & it tasted SO GOOD! Thanks for sharing, I’ve made a few other dishes from your blog & they’ve all turned out great! 🙂

  5. Made this with ground chicken (I don’t eat beef) and it was delicious! Great recipe 🙂

  6. so good!
    i made mine vegan friendly for my bf.
    no beef or cheese, 2 cans of black beans and a bag of frozen corn. i added cheese onto the top of my portion!

  7. Just made this for dinner and it was great! I left out the black beans since neither I or my husband care for them, it still turned out great! Thanks so much!

  8. This sounds really good! (actually, pretty much every one of your recipes I’ve looked at do!) and I agree, guacamole takes things up at least a couple notches… except really bad guacamole (places cutting corners, I call it green sour cream. blech), Wholly Guacamole is amazing for store bought guac! Not only that but it’s better than a number of food places here in San Diego even give you!
    This looks really tasty, and I’ve added it to my pinterest recipes to try (along with a ton more of yours!)

  9. This was so YUMMY!! I had such a hard time keeping to my portion size. I too used a can of spicy chopped tomatoes instead of fresh as I don’t have good tasting fresh available this time of year. A++ recipe!

  10. Emily:
    I did make changes but only because of the ingredients I had on-hand. So this is what I changed and it was delicious:
    1 C Long Grain White Converted Rice
    1# Mild Italian Sausage (didn’t need the oil for frying)
    1/2 t. red pepper flakes (just cause I don’t like “hot” stuff
    Didn’t drain the black beans
    8 oz tomato sauce
    1 T. dried cilantro (didn’t have fresh)
    1 C. Mexican Blend Cheese (not low-fat)
    1 14-15 oz. can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
    Added 1 C. frozen yellow corn
    I have no idea how this affected the WWPoints. Hope not too much as I am trying to get back on track since Christmas. Had a small salad with 1/8th of the recipe and it was great. Will definitely make this again. Plenty of leftovers and still some to freeze (hope that works with rice???) Thanks for the great recipes on your blog. Am sharing with everyone.

  11. Hi Emily, do you know if this recipe would still work if we don’t bake the rice and just want to eat it like that? Or would it be too soggy? Thanks

  12. Emily, you rock once again. I completely spaced that our brown rice got wet during our move so I used white rice. Still turned out great! My skillet is pretty large and I still ended up spilling everywhere. LOL This makes a lot. DH loved it. Going to try the taco pasta this week! Yum!

  13. Do you know how many calories per serving?

  14. Can you freeze this…I had to make extra because we had company and have about half pan left hate to throw it out…

  15. Made this tonight and it is FANTASTIC! My son and daughter put some on a flour tortilla with lettuce and sour cream added and loved it even more. thank you!

  16. I made this tonight with quinoa instead of rice & it was delicious! My family and I loved it 🙂

  17. Just made this and OMG, DELICIOUS! I added a can of corn to the recipe and wow, AMAZING. Love your blog! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  18. Can you tell me what the calorie count is?

  19. It was ok. Reminded me of canned chili with beans over rice. Maybe ok for an everyday meal but wouldn’t serve it to guests.

  20. Thanks Emily for sharing this my family loved it. I made it with white rice because that’s what I had on hand. I love fact that it delicious and very economical! This will become one of our regular meals.

  21. Hi! Love your recipes and making this now. Where do I go about figuring out the calories or can you tell me?

    • Hi Stefanie! I still haven’t calculated the nutrition information for a few of my oldest recipes (including this one), though I swear I’ll get to it someday! I just plug all the ingredients into the recipe calculator at myfitnesspal.com, so you can definitely calculate it that way. Sorry this one isn’t done for you!

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