Cilantro Rice and Bean Bake (vegetarian enchilada casserole)

This easy, meatless meal is like a rice-and-bean-layered enchilada casserole. Topped with green or red enchilada sauce (you pick!) and cheese, you’ll be satisfied with this savory rendition of a classic Tex-Mex dish.

This easy, meatless meal is like a rice-and-bean-layered enchilada casserole. Topped with green or red enchilada sauce (you pick!) and cheese, you'll be satisfied with this savory rendition of a classic Tex-Mex dish.

Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole

Imagine if enchiladas and lasagna had a baby. I know, it’s tough for the mind to wrap around such an inspiring concept, but that’s basically what this meal is! Rather than rolling the fillings inside tortillas, you layer the rice and beans between layers of tortillas to make more of a noodle-less, Tex-Mex lasagna bake.

I always enjoy a creative flair on classic dishes, and this is one that never fails to fill bellies and make a whole table of even the pickiest eaters happy! It’s simple enough for kids to love, but also packs the filling, balanced ingredients of beans, veggies, and carbs for energy and sustenance.

And sometimes it’s nice to have a meal that doesn’t rely on meat for protein–if you’re a subscriber to “Meatless Mondays” or if you have vegetarians at home, you’ll definitely want to add this secret weapon to your weeknight roster. It’s uber-fast, and even more delicious!

What should you serve with Cilantro Rice and Bean Bake?

Treat this like any other Tex-Mex dish you’d serve at home! On the bake itself, you can’t go wrong adding freshly chopped lettuce and tomatoes, or a spoonful of salsa and sour cream. Because beans and rice are inside the dish, you’ll probably want to avoid those for sides. A fresh corn salad, chips and guac, or steamed veggies topped with my festive nacho cheese sauce are great options on the side!

Can you make this dish vegan?

This bake can easily be made vegan if you or someone in your home doesn’t eat any animal products. Simply skip the cheese, and double-check that your tortillas and enchilada sauce are vegan, too!

Can you freeze Cilantro Rice and Bean Bake?

This is a perfect meal to make ahead of time for a gathering or freeze the leftovers! To make ahead, cover the dish tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. To make, remove the wrap or lid, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes if refrigerated, or 45 to 55 minutes if frozen. After it’s been cooked, you can keep leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Tips for making Cilantro Rice and Bean Bake:

  • The sauce concoction relies on a variety of flavors–make sure you test yours before you start layering the bake!
  • It’s best to try to cover the entire top of the bake evenly with cheese–don’t forget corners and edges.
  • If you’d like to make more traditional-style enchiladas, you’ll only need to add a third of the enchilada sauce to the rice and bean mixture. Spoon some of the mixture into a tortilla before rolling it up and placing it into your baking dish. Fill and roll all the tortillas, and cover them with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. This version looks prettier when serving, but it does take some more time!

This easy, meatless meal is like a rice-and-bean-layered enchilada casserole. Topped with green or red enchilada sauce (you pick!) and cheese, you'll be satisfied with this savory rendition of a classic Tex-Mex dish.

 

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This easy, meatless meal is like a rice-and-bean-layered enchilada casserole. Topped with green or red enchilada sauce (you pick!) and cheese, you'll be satisfied with this savory rendition of a classic Tex-Mex dish.

Cilantro Rice and Bean Bake


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10 1x

Description

This easy, meatless meal is like a rice-and-bean-layered enchilada casserole. Topped with green or red enchilada sauce (you pick!) and cheese, you’ll be satisfied with this savory rendition of a classic Tex-Mex dish.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil, such as olive or canola
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans diced green chiles
  • 3 or 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 28 oz. can red or green enchilada sauce (or homemade red or green enchilada sauce)
  • 23 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cans beans of your choosing, drained and rinsed
  • 810 tortillas
  • 23 cups shredded cheese
  • Additional toppings, like sour cream, chopped lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, or hot sauce

Instructions

  • In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, and cook for 5 minutes or until they start to get tender.
  • Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the green chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, taco seasoning, enchilada sauce, rice, and beans.  Heat through.
  • Remove from heat.  In a 9×13-inch pan, spread 1/4 of the mixture in the bottom.  Top with torn tortillas (like you layer a lasagna). Repeat until you have used up all of your ingredients or your pan gets full.
  • Top with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until your cheese is bubbly and starting to brown, 25-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let stand 5 minutes before serving hot.
  • Serve with sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and/or salsa.

Notes

  • Make sure to taste your concoction before you start layering! Add a little taco seasoning if it’s bland.
  • If you’d like it look and serve more like traditional enchiladas, you certainly can. Only add 1/3 of the can of enchilada sauce to your mixture. Spoon the mixture in tortillas, roll them, place them in the the pan, and cover all your enchiladas with remaining sauce before topping with cheese.  It’s prettier this way, but it takes a bit more time to roll them up. You can pick!
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex

Keywords: enchilada bake, rice and beans, enchilada sauce, dinner, vegetarian

This easy, meatless meal is like a rice-and-bean-layered enchilada casserole. Topped with green or red enchilada sauce (you pick!) and cheese, you'll be satisfied with this savory rendition of a classic Tex-Mex dish.

I love allllll the enchilada recipes:

Comforting, hearty, and simple to make. This is a recipe that you are going to make once and then feel inclined to recreate time and time again.

This post was originally published in 2010 and has been updated and rephotographed in April 2019.

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38 Recipes for Busy Moms
4 Responses
  1. Melissa–

    I have to tell you something funny…when my dad was here over the weekend, he saw we had some cilantro growing outside. He wanted to taste some. He did not like it!!! He kept saying that he needed something to get the taste out of his mouth. I told him cilantro is better IN food that all by itself.

    I noticed that you have several recipes where you use cilantro in them. Some time you should make him something with cilantro in it, so he can really enjoy it. Maybe we’ll have to do a meal with cilantro in it all together when we come in July. Maybe we’ll have to make John and Ranelle a whole Cafe Rio meal. I doubt that they’ve ever been there before.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you all again!

    Love, Erin

    1. Melissa

      Pictured is flour, but I use both very often and they both work great. It comes down to your preferences. My kids prefer the flour, I like the corn, you use what you like 🙂

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

Dinner Ideas for Busy Moms