Cheesy Mexican beef and bean bake
A bubbly casserole of sorts, this Mexican beef and bean is like a baked version of chilli con carne with lots of melty cheese – but faster to make. Think of it like your ultimate all-purpose Mexican beef – stuff in tacos, DIY burrito wraps, dunk with corn chips – like nachos!
Cheesy Mexican beef and bean bake
I can’t remember how this Mexican beef and bean dish first came to be. All I know is that when it came out of the oven in all its bubbly, melty cheesy glory, I wanted to get stuck into immediately but paralysed with indecision for how. So many options!
Like chili, with a warm tortillas on the side for dunking??
OR with corn chips, deconstructed nachos style?
Making stuffed tortilla pillows?? Which, I realised, is just a burrito actually. 😂 *Light-bulb-moment* DIY burritos! Add a pile of warm tortillas, sour cream + guacamole or quick avocado sauce for dunking. Everybody make your own!
All-inclusive-taco filling? So juicy and cheesy already, it’s like a good ole’ classic beef mince taco filling + taco sauce + cheese, all rolled into one. Efficiency, for the win!
Then another light-bulb moment. This is like the ultimate all-purpose Mexican beef filling!! It’s almost a little concerning how excited I was when I came to this conclusion. Good food has a habit of doing that to me. 🤭
What you need for Mexican beef and beans
Here’s what you need to make this Mexican beef and bean bake:
This is a casual, rustic dish – which means, lots of flexibility. I’m not so relaxed with substitutions for some recipes, so take it when you can! 😂
Ground beef / beef mince – Or chicken, turkey or pork. Any of these would work. (Even lamb actually).
Red onion – Or ordinary brown / yellow onions.
Green capsicum (bell pepper) – Or other colour capsicum, or other sauté-able vegetables like diced zucchini/courgette, carrot, green beans (chopped), corn. Even a cup of diced mixed frozen vegetables would work here!
Red kidney beans – Or black beans (on theme with Mexican food), or any other beans of choice. Or, more vegetables.
Tomato passata – This is pureed, strained tomato that is smooth, rather than lump like canned tomato. Substituted with crushed canned tomato, or what’s called tomato sauce or tomato puree in the US (eg Hunts).
Pickled jalapeno – Adds a sprinkle of spiciness plus tang because it’s pickled which is nice in this beefy dish. Canned chopped green chillies would be an excellent sub here (but this is a US thing, hoping it becomes a staple here in Australia one of these days!).
Garlic – Can’t be flexible here! 🙂
Cheese – Definitely not flexible here! Well, not flexible about the inclusion of some form of melting cheese. I’ve opted for Colby – adds flavour, melts well, gets a nice bit of golden colour on the surface, not too greasy. Feel free to use any of choice. If you use mozzarella, I’d suggest adding a sprinkling of parmesan on top (because mozzarella, while it melts beautifully, doesn’t have a much flavour).
The Mexican spice mix
And here’s what you need for the homemade Mexican spice mix. Some Mexican recipes I share have a longer list of spices. For me, this is about the minimum you can go without the flavour missing something. All staple spices! (You can substitute smoked paprika with plain).
How to make Cheesy Mexican beef and beans
It’s like chili cone carne – but faster to make because by finishing it off in the oven with a generous sprinkling of cheese, we can skip the stove simmer.
Sauté the onion, garlic and capsicum first. Use an ovenproof skillet. Pictured is my much-loved 26cm / 10.5″Lodge cast iron skillet (my essential kitchenware list is here!).
Cook the beef, breaking it up as you go.
Toast the spices with the beef. Good way to bring out flavour in spices plus get better flavour into beef mince / ground beef – FAST. 🙂
Add beans and tomato passata, give it a good mix then bring to a simmer.
Top with cheese then bake for 15 minutes just to melt the cheese.
Remove from oven and start the agonising process of deciding how to serve it! Tacos? Corn chip dunking? Burrito stuffing? ENCHILADAS? Nachos?? #FirstWorldProblems
Sides / toppings
Pictured in post for serving in all the above listed forms are:
Guacamole, and sometimes avocado sauce (essentially a smooth, faster version of guac)
Pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa). Also this pureed tomato salsa would be great.
Sour cream (sub yogurt)
Tortillas – small ones and larger enchilada size ones (for making small burritos).
Corn chips – for dunking
Other excellent options includes:
– Nagi x
Watch how to make it
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Cheesy baked Mexican beef and beans
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Servings5 – 6
Tap or hover to scale
Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F (180°C fan).
Sauté – Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat (or other oven-proof pan). Cook onion, garlic and capsicum for 3 minutes.
Cook beef & spices – Add beef and cook, breaking it up as you go, until you no longer see raw meat. Add spices, then cook for 1 minute.
Beans & tomato – Add kidney beans and passata. Stir, then bring to a simmer.
Cheese it! Scatter the jalapeño across the surface, top with cheese.
Bake 15 minutes (no lid) then remove from the oven.
Serve! Scoop into bowls and serve with corn chips or tortillas with your favourite Mexican fixings (guacamole or avocado sauce pico de gallo or restaurant style salsa, fresh coriander/coriander, sour cream). Dunk like nachos, make DIY burritos or tacos!
1. Meat – Recipe will work great with chicken, turkey or pork. Actually,even lamb!
2. Passata – this is a thick smooth tomato puree, see here for more information. Substitute with crushed tomato or what’s called “tomato sauce” or “tomato puree” in the US (eg. Hunts).
3. Pickled jalapeno is terrific here for something a little tangy and a bit of spiciness. Feel free to omit.
4. Cheese – any good melting cheese can be used here, except if using mozzarella I’d add a handful of parmesan on top because mozzarella, while an excellent melting cheese, doesn’t actually have that much flavour (this recipe relies on cheese for extra flavour boost for a quick recipe).
Leftovers will keep for 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
Nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings, beef and bean only (ie not toppings).
Calories: 440cal (22%)Carbohydrates: 19g (6%)Protein: 28g (56%)Fat: 28g (43%)Saturated Fat: 12g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 88mg (29%)Sodium: 994mg (43%)Potassium: 702mg (20%)Fiber: 6g (25%)Sugar: 5g (6%)Vitamin A: 1492IU (30%)Vitamin C: 32mg (39%)Calcium: 294mg (29%)Iron: 4mg (22%)
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