Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tex-Mex Rice n' Bean Casserole

Cilantro is my favorite herb ever, I think its why I like Spanish food to much. Its bright flavor adds a splash of freshness to this tasty Tex-Mex rice n' bean casserole. It was my first time making this recipe and it turned out delicious, super cheesy and pretty healthy too. And while its vegetarian, it also received great reviews from meat eaters. Its made of spicy brown rice, black eyed peas, veggies, and cheddar cheese to hold every thing together.
I cooked the rice earlier in the day to save time so this meal was super quick to make and after dinner there was only ONE pan to clean up!

Tex-Mex Rice n' Bean Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, obviously
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water

1 can black eyed peas, slightly drained and NOT rinsed
1 14oz can diced tomatoes with chilies
2-3 big handfuls baby spinach
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro plus more for garnishing
lots of salt and pepper to taste

1. For the Rice: Heat the oil in a medium sized pot. Add the onions and cook about 5 minutes then add the garlic, paprika, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil and sauté until fragrant, it should smell nutty. Add the water and bring to a boil, stir once, reduce heat to low, and cover, do not stir or uncover for 40 minutes or until all the water is obsorbed. Once its fully cooked, wait 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.
2. Casserole Assembly: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dump all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well except for 1/4 of the cheese. Transfer mixture into the prepared pan. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
3. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the casserole and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve with extra cilantro.

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