Mexican Rice Casserole Vegetarian or Vegan and Gluten-Free

The best recipe for Mexican Rice Casserole Vegetarian or Vegan and Gluten-Free
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Mexican Rice Casserole is a delicious and versatile dish that combines the flavors of Mexican cuisine in a convenient and satisfying way. Whether you are following a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diet, this dish can be easily adapted to meet your dietary needs.

The vegetarian version of Mexican Rice Casserole utilizes plant-based ingredients such as beans, vegetables, and cheese to create a flavorful and protein-rich dish. On the other hand, the vegan version replaces dairy products with plant-based alternatives, making it a suitable choice for those following a vegan lifestyle.

To make the vegetarian Mexican Rice Casserole, you can combine cooked rice with a variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers, corn, and onions, along with black beans and a blend of Mexican spices. Top it off with shredded cheese and bake until hot and bubbly.

For the vegan version, omit the cheese and use vegan-friendly alternatives such as plant-based cheese or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor. The dish remains rich in flavors with the addition of spices and a variety of veggies.

How can i make Gluten-free Mexican Rice Casserole?

When preparing a gluten-free Mexican Rice Casserole, it’s important to choose gluten-free ingredients. Opt for gluten-free rice alternatives like brown rice or cauliflower rice, and ensure that the sauces and seasonings you use are also gluten-free. Select gluten-free vegetable and bean options to maintain the integrity of the dish.

Healthy Mexican Rice Casserole

In addition to being delicious, Mexican Rice Casserole also offers several health benefits. The dish is high in fiber due to the inclusion of beans and vegetables, which promotes healthy digestion and helps regulate blood sugar levels. It is also a good source of protein, especially when beans are included, which contributes to satiety and muscle repair. Furthermore, the ingredients used in Mexican Rice Casserole are loaded with vitamins and minerals, providing essential nutrients for overall well-being.

Customizing your Mexican Rice Casserole is encouraged to suit personal preferences and dietary needs. You can add extra veggies like zucchini or spinach, experiment with different spices to adjust the level of heat, or incorporate alternative protein options such as tofu or seitan.

What is Mexican Rice Casserole?

Mexican Rice Casserole, also known as arroz con pollo, is a delectable and tantalizing dish that fuses the robust and flavorful elements of Mexican cuisine with the comforting nature of a casserole. This remarkable creation typically showcases a harmonious blend of cooked rice, a medley of vegetables, hearty beans, aromatic spices, and a generous layer of sumptuous cheese.

To embark on crafting a traditional Mexican Rice Casserole, begin by tenderly simmering the rice until it reaches its desired texture. Meanwhile, sauté a delightful combination of onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a pan until they transform into a softened and aromatic medley. Introduce other integral components such as tomatoes, beans, corn, and an assortment of spices including cumin and chili powder to intensify the flavors. Gently combine the cooked rice with the sautéed vegetables and carefully transfer the amalgamation to a baking dish. Finally, shower the culinary masterpiece with an abundance of shredded cheese and cautiously bake it until the cheese becomes a luscious, golden brown hue.

What distinguishes Mexican Rice Casserole from other gastronomic delights is its usage of authentic Mexican flavors and ingredients, such as zesty enchilada sauce, rejuvenating cilantro, and creamy avocado. This versatile dish effortlessly adapts to various dietary preferences and restrictions, making it an ideal choice for customization. For individuals adhering to a vegetarian diet, simply omit the meat and increase the vegetable content or replace it with delectable tofu for the perfect vegan alternative. Furthermore, by substituting traditional rice with wholesome options like quinoa or cauliflower rice, Mexican Rice Casserole can effortlessly transform into a delightful gluten-free delight.

Mexican Rice Casserole boasts not only an exceptional taste but also an array of remarkable nutritional benefits. Bursting with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, this culinary masterpiece owes its advantageous qualities to the abundant presence of vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Additionally, the incorporation of tantalizing spices like cumin and chili powder not only enhances the metabolism but also adds a delightful and fiery kick to the dish.

In summary, Mexican Rice Casserole epitomizes the perfect fusion of Mexican heritage and hearty casserole goodness. Its tantalizing flavors, versatile nature, and nutritional benefits make it a undeniable crowd-pleaser for all to relish and savor.

Versions of Mexican Rice Casserole

When it comes to Mexican Rice Casserole, there are delicious vegetarian and vegan versions available. Here are some options to consider:

  • Vegetarian version: This version of the Mexican Rice Casserole includes all the traditional ingredients like rice, beans, corn, and Mexican spices. However, instead of using ground meat, you can replace it with vegetarian alternatives like soy crumbles or textured vegetable protein (TVP). These options provide a similar texture and flavor without the use of animal products.
  • Vegan version: To make the Mexican Rice Casserole vegan-friendly, you can simply exclude any dairy products like cheese or sour cream that are typically used as toppings. You can replace the cheese with a dairy-free alternative like vegan cheese or nutritional yeast for a flavorful cheesy taste. You can also use plant-based sour cream or a homemade creamy cashew sauce as a substitute.
  • Boosting flavors: Regardless of whether you choose the vegetarian or vegan version, you can enhance the flavors of your Mexican Rice Casserole by adding fresh ingredients like diced tomatoesbell peppersonions, and garlic. These ingredients add a burst of freshness and a savory taste to the dish. Additionally, you can top the casserole with fresh cilantroavocado slices, and a squeeze of lime juice for added zing.
  • Serving suggestions: Mexican Rice Casserole is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or served with various accompaniments. Some popular options include tortilla chipsguacamolesalsa, or a side salad. These additions provide additional textures and flavors to complement the main dish.
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Mexican Rice Casserole Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free Recipe

The best recipe for Mexican Rice Casserole Vegetarian or Vegan and Gluten-Free
Course Main Course
Cuisine Gluten Free, Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword brown rice, kidney beans, mexican shredded cheese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Bake Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 392kcal
Cost $


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or an other neutral plant oil
  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetables broth
  • 1 can small red kidney beans black beans or chickpeas would work too!
  • 2-3 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves shredded
  • 2 cups corn kernels kernels removed
  • ½ cup shredded mexican cheese or shredded vegan cheese
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
How many Ounces Are in a Cup?
How many Grams are in a Cup?


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil or spray a 9×13 cooking dish and set aside.
  • Heat plant oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent and golden. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, sea salt and pepper. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl add uncooked brown rice, tomato mixture, broth, kidney beans, shredded spinach and mix until combined. Transfer to cooking dish, top with corn kernels and shredded cheese. Cover with tin foil and bake for 1.5-2 hours. Casserole is done when rice is tender.
  • Top with fresh cilantro, serve warm and enjoy 🙂


Helpful Hint:  Planning this week’s meals? Cook a batch of brown rice to have ready ahead of time. Mix together all the ingredients (decrease the amount of broth used to 1/2 cup!) and bake until warm, around 30 minutes. This can even be a freezer friendly recipe when using cooked rice, freeze, thaw and bake! Perfect for those mid-week nights when you get home late and don’t feel like cooking!


Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 1379mg | Potassium: 799mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 970IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 4mg
Cristina C. RD LDN

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