15-Minute Tex-Mex Ground Beef and Rice Skillet — An EASY comfort food recipe with just 5 main ingredients made with everyday staples!! Juicy beef, tender rice, and just the right amount of kick from the salsa make this an automatic FAMILY FAVORITE!!
Quick & Easy Ground Beef and Rice Skillet
This cowboy skillet is hearty comfort food loaded with juicy ground beef, tender rice, just the right amount of spiciness that keeps you going back for bite after bite.
The word Cowboy is in the recipe title because I used a jar of Cowboy Caviar from Trader Joe’s which is essentially a corn and black bean-based salsa with red peppers. If you don’t have a TJ’s in your area, look for a corn and bean-based salsa and use that instead.
The recipe is easy, ready in 15 minutes, and naturally gluten-free.
Ingredients in the Ground Beef and Rice Skillet
There are only 5 main ingredients in the recipe, which keeps it super simple. I made this recipe a while back when we all had very limited grocery options and that’s how this recipe was born. What do I have, what can I do with what I have, ah-hah, this!
To make this quick rice and hamburger recipe, you’ll need:
- Ground beef (ground pork sausage is a great substitute, I tried it with hot pork sausage and we loved the extra kick)
- Red bell pepper
- Cooked rice (use one packet of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice to save time; the link is to Jasmine but I used Original)
- Cowboy caviar (or look for a thick and chunky corn and bean-based salsa)
How to Make the Beef and Rice Skillet
This is as easy as it gets for weeknight cooking. Here’s an overview of how the Tex-Mex ground beef and rice dish comes together:
- Sauté the onion with the beef and red pepper until the beef is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
- Add the cooked rice, cowboy caviar, stir to combine, and get ready to dig in. So fast and easy!
This recipe is ripe for substitutions and is super flexible. Here are some ideas:
- I used a sweet Vidalia onion, but white or yellow are fine
- Use ground pork sausage, ground chicken, or ground turkey in place of the ground beef
- Use another color of bell pepper
- Use whatever kind of rice you prefer such as brown, wild rice, or even cauliflower rice
- Use your favorite kind of salsa. A salsa verde would be great if you pair it with ground chicken or turkey. Or try a pineapple salsa or other fruity salsa with ground pork.
- Bulk up the veggie quotient by adding extra corn, beans, frozen peans, shelled edamame, zucchini, mushrooms, or whatever you have on hand and enjoy
As written, the recipe comes together in about 15 minutes. However, if you’re crunched on time or simply like to meal prep as much as possible, here are some make-ahead suggestions:
- Ground beef: Can be browned, allowed to cool, and then stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Veggies: Chop the bell pepper, garlic, and onion and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Rice: I used pre-made rice packets to save time, but you may cook your favorite kind of rice and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When you’re ready to eat the rice and hamburger skillet, throw everything into a skillet and heat it up!
What to Serve with the Skillet
I keep our dinners basic most nights (ironic since I’m a food blogger, I know!). The skillet recipe is a full meal in itself to me, but if you’d like to serve a side dish with it I suggest the following:
- Mexican Wedge Salad
- Homemade Tortilla Chips
- Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad
- Mexican Bean Salad
- Rainbow Roasted Vegetables
- Tropical Fruit Salad
Pin This Recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, or as desired
- 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
- 1 pound ground beef (I used 90% lean)
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 2 cups cooked rice (use one 8.8-ounce packet Uncle Ben's Ready Rice to save time)
- one 13-ounce jar cowboy caviar salsa (or a corn and bean-based salsa)
- salt and pepper, optional and to taste
- fresh parsley, optional for garnishing (cilantro or green onions may be substituted)
- To a large skillet, add the olive oil, onion, and saute over medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes; stir intermittently.
- Add the beef, red bell pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until beef is cooked through; stir and crumble beef as it cooks to ensure even cooking.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir constantly.
- Add the cooked rice, cowboy caviar*, and stir to combine. Turn off the heat, taste the dish, and if desired, add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Optionally garnish with parsley and serve immediately. Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
If you can't find Cowboy Caviar because you don't have a Trader Joe's in your area or don't order it online, and are using another salsa, make sure it's a thick and chunky salsa. You don't want a thinner/runnier salsa like you'd use for dipping chips.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 428mgSodium: 1088mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 38g
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