Bean & Rice Fajita Casserole in a Jar
This Bean & Rice Fajita Casserole in a Jar is a great option for getting started with meals in a jar and food storage items. We love the mild flavor of this one, but don’t let that fool you – it is very filling! And speaking of filling, this one, just like the Beef Taco Rice Meal in a Jar, works great as a meal by itself, but can also be used as filling for burritos or enchiladas (which can then be made into freezer meals!) or tacos!! It is a super versatile meal and a great option to have in your food storage.
Being a vegetarian option, it is also cheaper since there is no freeze-dried meat involved. Other than the quick cook beans and dehydrated bell peppers, all other ingredients are things you can get at your regular grocery store. This meal in a jar is shelf stable for up to 10 years as long as it stays sealed and stored correctly.
The recipe is adapted from one that I got from Chef Tess.
Items You Will Need:
- Wide-mouth quart mason (canning) jars, with new lids, and rings
- Foodsaver vacuum sealer with hose and wide-mouth jar sealer attachment, AND/OR 100cc oxygen absorbers (one per jar)
- Sandwich-size plastic baggie or ziptop bag
- Instruction labels or Sharpie marker to write instructions on lid
- (optional) Printable gift tags for Cricut machine
- Quick cook black beans
- Quick cook red beans (or double the amount of black beans)
- White rice
- Cheese powder
- Tomato powder
- Granulated garlic
- Taco seasoning, either store bought or make your own
- Dry minced onion (you can usually find this at most grocery stores or club stores like Sam’s or Costco)
- Dehydrated diced bell peppers
- Bay leaf
How to Make Bean & Rice Fajita Casserole Meal in a Jar
- Layer each ingredient, one at a time, into a clean wide-mouth quart mason jar in the order listed in the recipe.
- When adding the powdered ingredients,, you may need to shake gently to settle contents to make room for everything. The powdered ingredients should settle to the bottom around the beans.
- If not using a Foodsaver to vacuum seal the jar, place one 100cc oxygen absorber on top of the baggie. (You can use an oxygen absorber in addition to vacuum sealing the jar as well.)
- Wipe rim of jar to make sure it is clean. Then place new lid on jar.
- To seal:
- If using a FoodSaver to vacuum seal the jar, carefully place the wide-mouth jar attachment over the top of the jar and lid, attach it to the FoodSaver, and vacuum seal following your model’s instructions (for most newer models you’ll use the Marinate or Accessory option). Once done, remove the hose from the top of the jar sealer, and then carefully remove the jar sealer attachment off of the jar. Place ring onto jar and tighten.
- If using just an oxygen absorber, place the lid on the jar and screw on the ring. Allow jar to sit undisturbed as oxygen absorber works. At some point, the lid of the jar should suck down and seal. You will know it is sealed when you press on the center of the lid and it does not flex. (If it flexes, it is not sealed.)
- Attach instruction label to top of jar, or write cooking instructions on lid with sharpie marker.
- Store jar in cool, dry place away from direct sun.
A Note on Storing or Gifting the Meals in a Jar
You’ll need to store the jar(s) where it will not be jostled as this can inadvertently pop the seal. And you should check on the seal periodically to make sure that it is holding. Most of the time this has not been a problem for me, but occasionally I find one that loses the seal over time. Using an oxygen absorber in combination with the vacuum sealing with the FoodSaver will help keep that seal extra tight.
There’s no need to get fancy with these if they are going into your food storage, but you should make sure to label them, and it helps to write the cooking instructions on the lid as well. If you’d like, my friend Amy at The Happy Scraps has designed printable label stickers that you can use, and she also has gift tags available that you can cut with a Cricut machine if you’d like to give these meals in a jar as gifts!
Questions and Substitutions
How long are these Bean & Rice Fajita Casserole Meal in a Jar meals good for?
As long as they are stored properly and the seals stay holding, these jars are shelf-stable for up to 10 years! Shelf life for the meal is calculated using the shelf life of whichever ingredient in the meal has the shortest shelf life on its own. In this case, that is the cheese powder, which has a typical shelf life of about 10 years.
What are quick cook beans? Can I just use regular beans in this recipe instead of the quick cook beans?
Quick cook beans are ones that have been partially cooked and then dehydrated. Because of this, they don’t take nearly as much time to reconstitute and soften when using in meals.
Regular dry beans need to be soaked first, and the nature of the meals in a jar makes that hard to do. You could use dry beans and put them in a baggie to separate them from the other ingredients so you could soak them the night before. But that’s an awful lot of work, and the recipe has not been tested for that, so you’d need to wing it on cook times and water amounts. I really recommend just sticking with the quick cook beans here – honestly.
A note about purchasing the quick cook beans – if you will be making multiples of the meals in a jar that call for quick cook beans, they are much cheaper to buy in the bulk #10 cans from Honeyville (here is the link for black beans and one for red beans – not an affiliate link, I just like and use their products). I have used both the Mother Earth brand linked above and the Honeyville versions for both black and red beans – they are all great!
How do I make the Bean & Rice Fajita Casserole Meal in a Jar to eat?
Oven Instruction: To make the meal, remove the ring and gently pry off the sealed lid. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Empty contents of jar (minus oxygen packet if present) into large casserole dish. Add 6 cups of boiling water. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes.
This one is great to serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, a little salsa, maybe some guacamole or avocados…or whatever strikes your fancy!
If you’re looking for other great meal in a jar recipes, be sure to check out these others from the blog:
- Taco Soup in a Jar
- Beef Taco Rice Meal in a Jar
- Mac & Cheese Meal in a Jar
- Beef and Bean Stew in a Jar
- Creamy Chicken Veggie Casserole Meal in a Jar
- Chicken Noodle Skillet Meal in a Jar
- Potato Sausage Cheese Casserole in a Jar
- 1 cup quick-cook red beans
- 1 cup quick-cook black beans
- 1 cup white rice
- 1/2 cup cheese powder
- 1/4 cup tomato powder
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dehydrated minced onion
- 1/2 cup freeze-dried bell peppers
- 1 bay leaf
- Layer ingredients into clean, wide-mouth mason jar in the order listed above. Shake to settle contents.
- Place new canning lid on top of jar. Using wide-mouth attachment for a FoodSaver, vacuum seal lid onto jar following instructions from your FoodSaver manual. (You can also insert an oxygen absorber before putting on lid if you'd like.)
- Remove vacuum attachment and put ring on. Tighten by hand, but don't over tighten.
- Label and date. Store in cool, dry location.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Empty contents of jar (minus oxygen packet if present) into large casserole dish. Add 6 cups of boiling water. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes.
Be sure to use quick cook beans in this recipe, NOT regular dry beans. If you don't want to get both types of quick cook, just double the amount of one of them (either black or red).
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 people
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 522mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 8gSugar: 3gProtein: 13g