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Vegetarian One Pan Mexican Rice

Life has been super busy around here lately. After deciding to focus my thesis on food a couple weeks ago I’ve been trying to work out the best angle and approach for my research. Let’s just say I am getting really excited (and nervous) to start my research soon and also find the time to finish the bazillion essays I have due  in June. For now, I am looking forward to the two week Easter Break coming up in just a couple weeks with a very special visitor from Canada. Grandma is coming to town! I can’t wait to spend two weeks doing a bit of travelling and enjoying life in Belgium together. To say I am excited is an understatement. My grandma visited me in France a couple years ago and we had a wonderful time travelling, enjoying Museums, painting, sipping on fine wines, enjoying Paris, and just spending some quality time together. Let’s just say that in the meantime I have A LOT of work to get done before the Granddaughter-Grandmother Eurotrip Part II begins! This is where this dish comes into play, my Vegetarian One Pan Mexican Rice is easily whipped up somewhere in between all the busyness. This meal is for those days when you simply do not have the time to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a lengthy meal but still want to cook up a hearty and healthy meal that the whole family can enjoy.
I’m all for easy recipes and that’s exactly what this crowd pleasing Vegan One Pan Mexican Rice is all about. This dinner dirties only one pan, a major plus when you are a student and all your dishes have to be done by hand. Another thing I love about this Vegan One Pan Mexican Rice is that it contains all the main components of a hearty and healthy dinner. It is full of tons of nutritious veggies, heart healthy herbs, protein-packed kidney beans, and good ol’ satisfying rice. One of the many misconceptions about changing to a healthier diet is that it is going to cause a major tear in your pocketbook but this dish proves that this line of thought could not be further from the truth. This Vegaetarian One Pan Mexican Rice proves that healthy eating can be easycheap, not use a whole lotta dishes, and darn tasty
Hearty, Healthy, Easy, Almost no dishes? I just love meals like this.
ceara s kitchen
Like I said this Vegan One Pan Mexican Rice recipe is an easy one. The “hardest” part is chopping up the fresh veggies. If you do not have time to cut up fresh veggies, your favourite frozen vegetables can also be substituted if you are in a pinch. Start cooking this Vegan One Pan Mexican Rice by tossing the veggies in a big pan and frying them up with a dash of avocado oil and sprinkle of fragrant herbs like cumin, basil and cayenne. Saute your veggies until they begin to magically caramelize and brown on the bottom of the pan. Then add in a can of kidney beans, a cup of corn, a small can of tomato paste, and 2 cups of rice. Now here comes the fun part – brown your rice a bit on the bottom of the pan before adding the water – this step makes this dish that much more flavourful. All you have to do now is add some water and wait until your rice has fully cooked through.  Once your rice is cooked feel free to add in some chopped up fresh cilantro, hot sauce, and cheese [or cheez for my vegan friends]. At this point, after all your “back-breaking labour”, your Vegetarian One Pan Mexican Rice is ready to be devoured with a nice glass of red wine and some very happy friends. Keep in mind that this recipe makes enough for when a couple of friends come over or if you are feeding a hungry family of five. If you are making this for just one or two people I would recommend halving the ingredients unless you like leftovers. I chose not to halve the recipe because I love eating this Vegan One Pan Mexican Rice as a cold or warm rice salad the next day with a big side of greens.
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One Pan Mexican Rice

  • Author: Ceara
  • Total Time: 35 mins


This One Pan Mexican Rice is the perfect dish to serve to loved ones – it is hearty, healthy and very filling. Plus, it uses only one pan, is cheap to make and easy. I chose to use leeks, mushrooms and red pepper as my main veggies but if you do not have these on hand feel free to sub in your favourite vegetables!


  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or light tasting oil (plus extra oil/water if needed see directions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped up
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 12 tsp cayenne
  • 12 hot peppers (optional, depending on how much “kick” you want)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped up
  • 1 cup leeks, chopped up
  • 1 cup red pepper, chopped up
  • 1 heaping cup corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1 1/3 cup kidney beans (about one 15 oz can, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups rice (quick-cooking preferable, I used basmati)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (about one small can tomato paste)
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube (if using water instead of broth)
  • 45 cups water or vegetable broth (amount depends on type of rice using, see step 5)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional Toppings

  • Cilantro
  • Hot Sauce
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Green Onions
  • More Hot Peppers


  1. Dice your garlic and onion and chop up all your vegetables into bite sized pieces. This ensures that this meal comes together as easily as possible.
  2. Heat up a large pan or skillet on medium-high heat [make sure that the pan is deep enough, about 2 inches deep, in order to fit the rice and veggies].
  3. Place avocado oil, onion and garlic into the hot pan. Leave to sizzle and stir around until onion and garlic begin to brown, crisp up a bit and caramelize. Add herbs (basil, cumin, cayenne and hot pepper) while the garlic and onion are cooking to allow the spices to become fragrant. Add veggies (mushrooms, leeks, and red pepper) to the hot pan. Continue stirring, allowing the veggies to brown and begin to caramelize. If veggies start sticking to the bottom of the pan add a little pinch of salt which naturally brings out the water in the veggies and allows them to cook without sticking. If needed, add a small splash of water (or oil) to avoid sticking.
  4. Once veggies are nicely browned and cooked (but not over-cooked), add corn and kidney beans to the hot pan. Stir them into the veggies and cook them for a minute or so. Add the rice to the pan and saute it with the veggies, rice and corn for around 2 – 3 minutes. Make sure to stir the rice frequently to ensure that it does not burn.
  5. Add the vegetable bouillon cube, tomato paste and 3 cups of the water to the rice mixture. Continue cooking on a medium high heat until a light boil occurs. Turn the heat down to a medium-low heat and simmer rice, stir frequently. Once the water is almost all soaked up into the rice add the final 4th cup of water. Depending on the rice you used you might need to add a bit more than 4 cups of water. Do a taste test once the 4th cup of water is soaked up, if your rice is not fully cooked through add water by the 1/4 cup until you get your rice to the perfect consistency (I needed about 5 cups of water).
  6. Once your rice is fully cooked add the additional optional ingredients (fresh cilantro, hot sauce, cheese/cheez, green onions, more hot peppers).
  7. Serve to a hungry group of loved ones directly in the pan (the less dishes the better!).
  8. Devour, Share and Enjoy πŸ™‚


Nutritional Benefits: High in iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, protein and fiber. Low in fat and contains no cholesterol (without cheese).
– If you are in a pinch you can easily sub frozen for fresh vegetables.
– Cooking Note: The amount of water needed while cooking the rice will depend on what kind of rice you use (I used basmati). Cook this rice a bit like risotto by adding first 3 cups of water and then water bit by but until your rice is cooked to the perfect consistency.
– This One Pan Mexican Rice is easily halved and also tastes amazing for up to 3 days afterwards. I enjoy it cold and warm as a hearty side of “rice salad”.
– If you are feeling inventive for the next night’s dinner you can stuff the leftovers in sweet peppers and bake them for 350f or 180c for 30 – 40 minutes for the perfect stuffed peppers

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 5
  • Calories: 513
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 337mg
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 103g
  • Fiber: 12g
  • Protein: 16g
  • Cholesterol: 6mg
One pan mexican rice ceara's kitchen pinterest 

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    1. I am so happy that you loved it and it is a new favorite in your home! πŸ™‚ It certainly is a favorite in ours! I love the Netherlands, I am currently located in Belgium (and have learned a little bit of Dutch!). All the best πŸ™‚

  3. Ceara, your Mexican rice looks rich and bursting with flavors. It reminded me of the Valencian Paella, in the sence that all ingredients are sauteed and cooked in a paella pan. Love your dish…Hadia’s Lebanese Cuisine.

    1. Hadia, thank you so much for your sweet words and for dropping by! All of your delicious Lebanese recipe have my mouth watering!!!! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much, Cara! So happy for you that you managed to escape the snow and cold for some sun in Cuba! We are so on the same wave length – I LOVE roasted sweet potato stuffed with just about anything! πŸ™‚

    1. Haha Shundara you are too funny – will keep the updates coming on the food thesis and eurotrip! Thanks for the kind words and pin! Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

  4. Oh my, this looks delicious! This is totally my kind of meal. I probably eat rice 5/7 days a week, so it’s nice to have different recipes to change it up a bit. Thanks for the recipe, and I’m happy to have found your blog! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much Lauren! I also eat a lot of rice (it’s so easy, inexpensive and versatile!). I am happy you found my blog too πŸ™‚ I can totally relate to loving oatmeal with a fork (and spoon and with everything really!). Quinoa is still soaking to try your wonderful quinoa crust pizza this evening. Have a wonderful weekend!

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