Southwestern Rice and Black Bean Casserole

Although my Mediterranean Rice Pilaf is a favorite side when entertaining; I decided to create a rice side that could also be a main dish for our vegetarian friends.  Chock full of fabulous flavors inspired by the Southwest, this casserole hit the mark.  It's colors and texture make for a beautiful presentation; the fresh corn, beans, peppers and rice also combine for fabulous flavor, bite after bite! 

"Chock full of fabulous flavors inspired by the Southwest!"

INGREDIENTS
4 cups cooked brown rice (or your favorite)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 Tbs. cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
2-3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup red and orange peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups frozen/fresh corn
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs. jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

1.   Prepare rice according to package directions.  Set aside.

2.   In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, peppers, corn, black beans, onion, cilantro and jalapeno.  Gently toss to ensure ingredients combined.

3.   Add 1/2 of the cheese, toss again.

4.   Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper over rice.  Using a fork, gently fluff to coat evenly.

5.   Add rice to bean mixture.  Gentle mix to combine ingredients.

6.   Pour mixture into a 8 1/2" x 11” glass baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

7.   Bake for 20 minutes.

8.   Serve and enjoy!

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