Budget meal: Beans and Rice Enchilada Casserole

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Beans and rice have to be the definitive frugal staple meal. This beans and rice enchilada casserole is super cheap while also being super tasty.

bean and rice enchilada casserole

This dish takes those two cheap staples, adds some vegetables and a tasty enchilada sauce and Voila! You have an easy (almost) 1 dish healthy meal.

This recipe was inspired by this quinoa enchilada bake from the lovely Damn Delicious (which lives up to its title).

I’ve switched out the quinoa for brown rice because it’s cheaper (keepin’ it frugal) and my kids are more inclined to eat rice over quinoa. Feel free to switch back to quinoa.

I’ve also added a whole heap of veg because I’m lazy and I don’t want to have to be making any sides.

This is a dish you can prep ahead of time, throw in the oven and serve it up without any fuss, knowing it’s full of healthy goodness!

I  also use kidney beans because black beans are hard to find in Australia and expensive when you do find them! I used tinned beans this time, but dried beans are easy to cook and freeze. Check out this post on how to do it.

You can make your own enchilada sauce from scratch (here’s my version) or you can buy a jar from the supermarket, which I’ll admit I do more often than not because…time!

Double-up the recipe and freeze it for later to make life easier down the track. (read more about how I batch-cook the easy way here).

Here’s the trick I use to cook the rice and vegetables:

  1. Put the rice on to cook as per packet directions. Brown rice usually takes around 45 minutes.
  2. In the final 5 – 10 minutes (depending on how soft you like your veggies), add your veg to the rice. Add extra water if necessary, bring back to the boil and continue to cook until your rice and vegetables are done.
  3. Strain and use continue making the rest of the casserole or you can use this a side dish.

This brown rice and vegetable mixture forms the basis of our favourite Tuna Casserole and this Mince Bake, both of which can be doubled-up and frozen. So if you’re looking for a way to fill the freezer with healthy meals, cook up a big batch of rice and veg and make a few casseroles at once.

What vegetables should you add to your casserole?

Whatever you’ve got on hand.

You can certainly add some frozen veg – nice and easy. I use our regular quartet of corn, zucchini, carrot and capsicum, but a handful of sliced mushrooms, lightly fried, would also be a delicious and hearty addition.

As an optional extra, you can ‘load’ your casserole with fresh toppings. Pictured is a dollop of sour cream, some fresh tomato, some avocado and a few slices of pickled jalapeño peppers. I take the chilli out of our cooking for the kids, the addition of the jalapeños at the end gives the dish an adult kick.

Yield: 4

Bean and Rice Enchilada Casserole

bean and rice enchilada casserole

Cheap food doesn't have to be boring! This beans and rice enchilada casserole is a healthy budget meal that's full of flavour.


  • 1/2 cup of uncooked brown rice
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 capsicum, chopped
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 jar enchilada sauce
  • 1 tin of kidney beans, drained or 1 cup of cooked beans
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • a handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese


  1. Cook rice according to packet directions, adding the vegetables at the end to cook with the rice.
  2. Combine the rice mixture, sauce, beans, cumin, coriander and 1/2 cup of cheese.
  3. Place mixture in an ovenproof dish and top with remaining grated cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 180°C or until cheese is golden and bubbling.


Optional: ‘load’ your casserole when serving with fresh toppings like tomato, avocado, coriander, jalapeño peppers and sour cream.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 457Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 803mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 16gSugar: 13gProtein: 23g

Nutritional information is calculated automatically using the Nutritionix database. Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, serving size or the source of nutrition data. We strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy. We encourage readers to make their own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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