Mexican Bean and Rice Casserole Salad
Quick and easy Mexican Bean and Rice Casserole Salad. Just cook meat and rice, and assemble with vegetables and spices. Serve over lettuce as a salad.
Well hello there Spring. I missed you so much! As a food blogger I’m excited for the extra daylight to come. No more cooking and photographing 3 or 4 recipes on a Saturday, just to get good lighting (I did that recently).
Spring brings lots of new growth and change. Notice any new additions to this blog? They’re subtle and some of them are behind the scenes. I’ll spare you the geeky details, but a lot of work is going into making the blog more social media and user friendly. Try Pinning this recipe from the sidebar or top and you’ll see what I mean (pretty cool right?!)
I’ve also finished our 30 Minutes to Healthy Eating Cookbook and Meal Planner. It’s finally live on the site. Phew! Plus you’ll be seeing lots more cooking tips, roundups, and resources…and recipes of course!
Now that we’re done with the details we can move on to this Mexican Bean and Rice Casserole Salad. Yay! This fun, easy and flavorful salad is a perfect way to welcome Spring into our lives. Initially I wanted to make this a casserole, but found it was quicker and healthier to make as a salad.
The prep is the same for this glorious and beautiful Bean and Rice Casserole Salad. Just cook rice with canned tomatoes and seasonings for that extra Mexican flair. Meanwhile cook the beans and veggies, then combine all together. Generously scoop over a heaping pile of romaine lettuce and enjoy every festive flavorful bite. Top with a little bit of optional shredded cheese and/or light sour cream. Who knew eating healthy could be so delicious…and easy!
Want more recipes like this? Check out our Healthy Eating Cookbook and Meal Planner.
Cooking Tips: Rice with canned tomatoes and cooking with spices
- I learned the trick about cooking Mexican-style rice with canned tomatoes from my mom. The tomato liquid acts as water and soaks into the rice, adding extra flavor.
- Spices can also be pre-cooked in dishes. If you do so, add it to hot oil in a pan and cook about a minute, then add it to your dish. The heat and oil react with the spices and brings out the flavors even more. This is a great tip for making chili (heat the spice in a pan before you add it to the liquid base).
Food Photography Tips:
Each and every recipe on Plating Pixels has food photography and food styling tips. I hope home-cooks and food bloggers can learn valuable information from these.
I shot this in natural light at 1/200 sec, f/ 2.8, ISO 400 with a 50 mm macro lens. If you don’t have the right lighting, you can often store dish and photograph a day or two later during ideal conditions. I did this with this recipe and you’d never guess, right?! I made sure to keep some beans and cooked meat chunks in a separate bowl before combining the dish into the casserole. When I photographed I simply scooped dish over fresh lettuce, and hand placed the pristine beans and meat on top. See how beautiful they look.
Products used in this dish:
12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet
Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
Commercial Quality Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set
OXO SoftWorks Can Opener
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (1 undrained, 1 drained)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
- 3–4 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
- Small handful fresh cilantro
- Topping ideas: Avocados, shredded Mexican cheese blend and/or light sour cream
- To make rice: substitute 1 can of undrained diced tomatoes for 2 cups water. Add additional water to make up the difference needed. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Cook rice according to package directions.
- Meanwhile: Heat olive oil in large skillet to medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers. Cook 3–4 minutes, until fragrant. Add in ground beef, salt and pepper. Cook 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up meat, until meat is browned and cooked through (drain any excess fat). Add cooked rice, drained pinto beans and remaining can of drained diced tomatoes. Stir and cook 3–4 minutes more until heated through.
- Spoon over bed of chopped lettuce and garnish with cilantro. Sprinkle with diced avocado, shredded cheese and/or sour cream.