This easy (and healthy!) Tex Mex casserole uses ground turkey, rice, and other fresh ingredients for a simple & filling crowd-pleaser.
If you love tacos (and who doesn't love tacos?!) you're in for a treat today!
This easy Tex Mex casserole uses favorite taco ingredients like ground turkey, avocado, tomatoes, black beans, rice, cheese and taco seasoning for an easy meal prep casserole that will have the whole family excited.
The best part? This is the second recipe in our 4-week budget-friendly dinners series! So not only is this absolutely delicious, it's a budget-friendly meal perfect for anyone looking to do some frugal meal planning. (You can find the first recipe in the series, Lemon Orzo Chickpea Soup, here!)
For this turkey taco casserole, you'll start by cooking the rice and sauteing the ground turkey with taco seasoning. You'll then chop the tomato, avocado and green onions. You can do this while the turkey and rice are cooking!
Next, you'll combine the cooked rice and turkey with chopped tomato, 1 can of drained black beans, diced green chiles and more taco seasoning. I recommend combining everything directly in the casserole dish to minimize dishes. Then sprinkle the top of the casserole with shredded cheese and bake for 20 minutes, until you see that layer of melted, ooey-gooey cheese that is sure to have the kiddos racing to the table.
Finally, top with avocado and green onions and enjoy!
I also wanted to give you one tip for the avocados. If you're like me and take advantage of grocery pickup or delivery, you may have received some rock-hard avocados from time to time. Don't despair! Place the offending avocados in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana and roll the top of the bag to seal shut. The ethylene gas released by the apple or banana will help speed the ripening process for the avocado. Check the avocado every day or so until it's ripe!
Make sure to scroll below the recipe for budget tips, meal prep instructions and more!
Tex Mex Casserole w/ Ground Turkey & Rice
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 heirloom tomato (or large tomato)
- 2 avocados
- 1 # ground turkey
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 cup rice
- 15 oz black beans
- 5 oz diced green chiles
- 2 T taco seasoning
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Place 2 cups water and 1 cup rice in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to low, cover pot and simmer ~20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
- Heat 1T olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1# ground turkey and 1T taco seasoning. Cook, breaking apart meat, until cooked through.
- Chop 1 tomato and 2 avocados.
- Chop 1 bunch green onions.
- In a casserole dish, combine: cooked rice, ground turkey, 15oz drained, rinsed black beans, 5oz diced green chiles, chopped tomatoes and 1T taco seasoning. Mix well.
- Sprinkle casserole w/ 1 cup shredded cheddar. Place in the oven and cook ~20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Top w/ green onions amd avocados.
Budget Tips – How to Make this Easy Tex Mex Casserole, Even More, Budget Friendly
While this is already a budget-friendly recipe, there are some things to keep in mind to keep the grocery costs to a minimum. Here are some tips to keep costs down:
- Buy rice and beans in bulk. While rice and beans are already famously budget-friendly, they're a whole lot cheaper when you buy them in bulk. You can find them in bulk bins at many grocery stores. I like to cook beans from scratch to avoid excess salt and chemicals from the cans, as well as to cut costs. Beans freeze really well so consider making a big batch and freezing in 3.75 cup portions (~1 can)
- Be flexible. This is always one of my best budget cooking tips. Ground turkey is generally a fairly inexpensive protein but if ground chicken is on sale or you happen to have ground beef on hand, use that instead! Most recipes are quite flexible in this way.
- Make it vegetarian. You can easily double the beans and omit the turkey in this recipe to further decrease the costs.
- Shred your own cheese. Shredding your own cheese is often less expensive, and tastier!
Does this ground turkey and rice casserole work for meal prep?
Yes, indeed! This ground turkey and rice casserole works quite well for meal prep. To prep ahead, you can cook both the turkey and the rice ahead of time. Then, on dish day, all you have to do is a bit of quick chopping, mix everything together, and bake!
You can also chop the tomato and green onion in the morning if you plan to serve later that night.
Nutritional Highlights – What makes this a healthy ground turkey casserole?
In addition to being both easy and completely delicious, this healthy ground turkey casserole packs in quite a bit of nutrition. It provides plenty of protein from the turkey and beans and plenty of vitamins from the tomatoes, avocado and green onions. Here are some of the nutritional highlights:
Green Onions (Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Fiber, Phytonutrients)
Also known as scallions, green onions are a good source of fiber. They also contain allicin, which scientists thing may help prevent cancer growth. Like other onions, green onions are also full of antioxidants.
Tomato (Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin K, Folate, Lycopene)
Tomatoes are an excellent source of the antioxidant, lycopene. Lycopene is believed to be the reason that tomatoes are linked to lower rates of certain types of cancers. Eating tomatoes along with a source of fat, like the pork in this recipe, significantly increases how much lycopene your body absorbs.
Avocado (Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Potassium, Folate, Healthy Fats)
Loaded with nutrients like potassium, folate and healthy fats, avocados are good for your heart, your eye health, and even your mood. Moreover, they also benefit your brain, bone density and blood sugar levels.
Turkey (Protein, B Vitamins, Zinc)
In addition to being a low fat source of protein, turkey contains significant amounts of B vitamins, selenium and zinc.
Black Beans (Fiber, B Vitamins, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese)
High in folate, protein and fiber, black beans are super filling and nutritious. If beans don't agree with your stomach, try soaking and cooking them yourself rather than buying canned, as soaking can aid in digestion.
I want more easy Tex Mex recipes!
If you love this Tex Mex casserole, I have a lot more where that came from! Living just outside of Austin, I'm basically surrounded by delicious Tex Mex inspiration and I love bringing those flavors to you. Here are a few of my favorite budget friendly Tex Mex recipes:
It doesn't get much more budget friendly than potatoes and beans! Trust me though, no one will feel deprived eating this fun, family friendly dinner. Potato nachos were a huge hit when they hit the meal plans, with grownups and kids alike!
Turkey Taco Soup
This is another fun riff on turkey tacos, and another crowd pleaser! Add a can of black beans to stretch the soup even further. That's one of my favorite budget cooking tips! You don't have to omit meat altogether if you don't want to. Adding beans simply creates more portions out of the same dish, for very little additional cost.
Chicken Burrito Bowl
I'm a huge fan of “bowl meals” because everyone can craft their own exactly to their tastes! With little ones at home, this is a great way to make sure a healthy dinner is palatable to everyone at the table.