This rice and bean casserole is a dump & bake recipe that features diced sweet potatoes, smoky flavors, and a touch of spice. This is a great vegetarian weeknight meal that makes a lot of food!
I will never tire of the simple but satisfying combination of black beans and rice, whether it's made in the Instant Pot, on the stove top, or in a dump & bake casserole like this one.
Add in cubed sweet potato and things are sure to get even better. Just a touch of sweetness from the sweet potato balances out the smoky and subtle spiciness of the flavors used in this rice and bean casserole.
In case you didn't already know, sweet potato and black beans are two of my favorite ingredients to cook together (in quesadillas, enchiladas, and even vegetarian burger patties!).
- Dump & bake: This is kind of a dump and bake recipe because the rice is added to the casserole dish uncooked. The rest of the ingredients are briefly sauteed on the stove top to enhance flavor and warm the cooking liquid.
- Versatile: I've made this recipe with black beans and pinto beans and both work well. You can also add extra vegetables or even skip the sauteing step if you're short on time.
- Flavors: We use a few smoky and lightly spicy spices like chipotle chili powder and paprika. This balances out the sweetness of the sweet potato and gives the rice & beans a hearty feeling.
If you're looking for even easier dump & bake recipes that involve no sauteing, check out my quinoa black bean casserole, gnocchi meatball dump & bake, or this vegan pasta bake.
- Rice: This recipe uses long-grain white rice. Brown rice does not work here, but short and medium-grain white rice should work in equal amounts.
- Beans: You can either use a can of black beans or cook them from dry. Pinto beans, chickpeas, and red beans also work well here.
- Sweet potato: The sweet potato cooks in the casserole along with the rice. Make sure to keep the sweet potato pieces small (around ½ inch or smaller) so that they cook completely.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: This adds spice and smokiness. They can be omitted if you don't like spicy food. I also like to add diced jalapeno for extra heat, but this is optional.
- Sweet yellow onion and red bell pepper are sauteed until golden. Substitute with whatever onions and peppers you have on hand as needed.
- Chipotle chili powder is a spicy, earthy chili powder that adds a little bit of a kick. We're also using classic chili powder, paprika, and oregano.
- Vegetable broth: I use vegetable bouillon to make broth because it's more flavorful and affordable than most store-bought broths.
- Tomato sauce adds a touch of acidity. Tomato passata is an okay swap if that's all that is available to you.
- Cheese: I use Mexican blend cheese, but shredded mozzarella also works well. Make this recipe vegan by using your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese.
Start by heating a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with oil to coat. Once hot, add in the diced peppers, onions, and sweet potato. Cook until the onions are golden, just 5-6 minutes. The sweet potato will not be cooked through.
Sprinkle with salt. Add in the garlic, jalapenos, diced chiles, and adobo sauce. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden.
Stir in the spices and toast for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. I recommend always toasting spices if you have the chance because it enhances their flavor.
Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, pour this into a lightly oiled 9x13 casserole dish.
Add in the rice and black beans. Stir so that the rice is fully saturated and well distributed.
Cover with foil, a heat-safe lid, or an upside down sheet-pan to trap in the steam. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. The rice should be mostly cooked at this point, if not, cover and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir the casserole. Sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, cooking until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Recipe variations and notes
- Beans: Any kind of bean works here, although I'm partial to pinto and black beans. You can also double the beans for additional protein per serving.
- Vegetables: Feel free to use up whatever vegetables you have on hand (mushrooms or poblano peppers would go especially well!). Just saute them alongside the peppers and onions.
- Spice: I enjoy spicy food and think this is a gently spicy recipe. If you don't like heat, start by omitting the chiles in adobo sauce. The chipotle chili powder is very mild when mixed in with the other ingredients.
Leftovers: Let the casserole dish cool before covering and refrigerating. Keeps well for 3-4 days.
Reheating: Reheat individual portions in the microwave. Reheat the entire casserole in the oven at 325 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until warmed through. Cover with foil if the casserole starts to dry out too much.
Freezing: This freezes well as a full casserole or as individual slices. Cover the casserole in plastic wrap and foil or plastic wrap and a lid before freezing. If reheating in the oven, add an extra 10-15 minutes of cook time. The casserole can also thaw overnight in the fridge.
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Rice and Bean Casserole with Sweet Potatoes
- 1 and ½ cups long grain white rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or other neutral oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion diced
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeno diced
- 2 tablespoons finely diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce see note #1
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 and ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
- suggested garnishes: cilantro, avocado, salsa, sliced radish
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly oil a 9x13 casserole dish. Rinse the rice well in a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with oil to coat. Once hot, add in the diced peppers, onions, and sweet potato. Cook until the onions are golden, just 5-6 minutes. The sweet potato will not be cooked through.
- Sprinkle with salt. Add in the garlic, jalapenos, diced chiles, and adobo sauce. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden.
- Stir in the spices (chili powder, paprika, oregano, chipotle chili powder, onion powder) and toast for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Transfer the simmering broth and vegetables to the 9x13 dish. Add in the rice and black beans. Stir so that everything is well combined.
- Cover with foil, a heat-safe lid, or an upside down sheet-pan to trap in the steam. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the rice should be mostly cooked. If not, cover and cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and sprinkle the bake with cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, cooking until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
- Chipotle peppers: This is from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. You can find this in the international aisle at most grocery stores.
- Rice: Long-grain is my go-to, but this recipe should also work with short-grain and medium, with slight variations in cook time. Brown rice will not work in this recipe.
- Leftovers: Let the casserole dish cool before covering and refrigerating. Keeps well for 3-4 days.
- Reheating: Reheat individual portions in the microwave. Reheat the entire casserole in the oven at 325 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until warmed through. Cover with foil if the casserole starts to dry out too much.
- Freezing: This freezes well as a full casserole or as individual slices. Cover the casserole in plastic wrap and foil or plastic wrap and a lid before freezing. If reheating in the oven, add an extra 10-15 minutes of cook time. or let thaw overnight in the fridge.
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Very good and easy to make! I will be making again. I used vegan cheese and vegan sour cream to top.
This was so good! We followed the recipe as written except we used some smoked paprika and red pepper as a substitute for the chipotle powder and added some black olives. We also went all out with the garnishes - I loved the crunch of the radishes! This is a keeper.
Yum, I'm sure the black olives were great with this! Thanks for trying out the recipe! 🙂
Really good recipe! I made it as written except for omitting chipotle powder and chipotle peppers. I added a can of green chiles to make up for missing chipotle peppers. (I’m just not a fan of the chipotle flavors.) It’s a really delicious Spanish rice!!! Will make again.
Thank you for trying it out! I'm sure the green chiles were great in it.