Mexican rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, cilantro and tomatoes stuffed into warm taco shells and topped with a creamy green vegan sauce. Super easy and healthy recipe for hard shell tacos in under 30 minutes!
I could eat homemade Mexican food almost every. single. night! Can you? And these Mexican rice & bean tacos are so easy to make!
Mexican food happens to be our family’s most favorable dinner choice aside from Italian. It’s crunchy, it’s salty and oh so flavorful with all that cilantro and salsa on top! And doesn’t this dish look so beautiful with all those vibrant colors?
I was never a Mexican food lover growing up because we never had it, made it or went out to Mexican restaurants. When I met my husband he would eat burritos about every day for lunch and was obsessed with a side of Mexican rice! Late night college outings always ended at a drive thru El Cotixan restaurant in San Diego. I favored their boiled chicken burritos that were made with fresh onions and red peppers – always opting out of rice, cheese, sour cream and discarded the flour tortilla… guess that’s not really “Mexican”, sounds more Italian that way! lol. My husband loves California burritos and anything stuffed with potatoes or rice! He was the first person to introduce me Mexican cuisine and all the delicious bean and cheese burritos, tacos, enchiladas and my all time favorite- boiled chicken burritos!
I thought this type of food would make me fat. I thought Mexican food is terrible for your health, full of lard, artery clotting, fattening, fried and unhealthy. But it can actually be good for you if you make it with the right ingredients!
Let’s talk about those ingredients.
Rice: There are many variations of rice such as white rice, brown rice, Jasmine rice, Arborio rice, wild rice, and black rice. We like to use brown rice. Brown rice is quite tasty especially if you cook it in broth and turn it into Spanish rice. It is a whole grain rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. It helps protect the body from heart disease, aid in weight loss (thanks to fiber), and can decrease cholesterol.
Beans: Use black beans or pinto beans for this recipe. Both are high in fiber, rich in proteins, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc and help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Cheese: Cheese contains protein and healthy bacteria enzymes. Lucky there vegan versions available made out of nuts! For a healthier version use sparingly, low fat or vegan cheese.
Salsa and Tomatoes: Rich in vitamin C and high in antioxidants.
Lettuce: Water enriched, high in fiber and vitamin C.
Cilantro (coriander): An herb rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. The deep green color is high in antioxidants and helps reduce bad cholesterol.m than a banana!
Green Onions: Onions are full of antioxidants and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Green onions also aid in bone, eye and heart health!
Avocados: Helps lower bad cholesterol with high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids. Is high in fiber and contains more potassium than a banana!
Delightful Mom Food healthy tip! Skip the sour cram and shoot for Green yogurt, avocado or this creamy green vegan sauce!
How To Make Mexican Rice
- Make 1 cup of brown rice in chicken or vegetable broth.
- When the rice is done cooking add salsa and a dash of cumin! You can saute it together in a frying pan or mix it in a large pot.
How To Make Hard Shell Tacos
- In a lasagna or baking dish add the hard shell tacos- enough so they sit upright. If the pan is large, a few might be needed along the sides.
- To make hard shell tacos from becoming soggy at the bottom is all about how the ingredients are layered. First start with the Mexian rice to coat the base. Then add some beans and then cheese.
- Bake all the delicious warm Mexican rice, beans and cheese tacos in the oven until the cheese is melted.
- Pull from the oven and add the cold topping ingredients like lettuce, cilantro, green onions, fresh plum tomatoes, salsa and this avocado or cashew green dressing.
I say avocado or cashew green dressing because I have to green dressings that we love to add to tacos and burritos! I have included the cashew sauce recipe but you can make this avocado taco sauce too.
I also like to make a large batch of beans ahead of time and leave in the fridge for quick nachos, burritos, and these tacos! But canned beans can be used too.
- 8 Hard Shell Tacos
- 1 15 oz. can of pinto beans or black beans, drained
- 1½ cups uncooked brown rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup mild salsa
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or vegan cheese
- 2 plum tomatoes
- ½ cup green onions, sliced
- 2 cup shredded lettuce
- VEGAN GREEN SAUCE:
- 1 cup raw whole cashews
- 1 ¼ cup fresh water
- 1 large handful of cilantro leaves
- 1 large handful of basil leaves
- ½ cup mint leaves
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest or lime zest
- In a skillet add the rice and broth and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat to low to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile chop vegetable toppings, rinse and drain the beans and make the vegan green sauce.
- MAKE THE VEGAN GREEN SAUCE:
- To make the sauce either soak the cashews in 1¼ cup of water for 3 hours or an extra smooth sauce. Or soak for 10 minutes then blend drain the water and blend with the cilantro leaves, basil, mint, olive oil, garlic clove, black pepper, salt, apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice and the zest of lemon or lime until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 baking pan or smaller by lining upright hard taco shells.
- When the rice is done cooking add the salsa and cumin and stir on low for about 1 minute. Layer each taco shell with the Mexican rice, followed by beans then cheese. Repeat for each taco. Place in the oven and heat for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven and top with lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions and the vegan cashew green sauce or avocado taco sauce.
*Serve extra rice on the side.
Nutritional information is for 6 servings. To reduce calories and fat, use light cheese and the sauce sparingly.
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 27 g||42 %|
|Saturated Fat 7 g||37 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 11 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 17 mg||6 %|
|Sodium 1163 mg||48 %|
|Potassium 478 mg||14 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 63 g||21 %|
|Dietary Fiber 7 g||28 %|
|Sugars 5 g|
|Protein 17 g||34 %|
|Vitamin A||23 %|
|Vitamin C||25 %|