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Looking for a unique and flavorful rice casserole recipe? Look no further than my Arroz Verde al Horno, or Green Rice Casserole! This dish combines the best of Spanish and Mexican flavors to create a creamy, cheesy, and herbaceous baked rice dish that is sure to please any crowd.

The Arroz Verde al Horno is the perfect addition to your dinner table, offering a vibrant green color that will brighten up any meal. With its use of fresh herbs like cilantro and epazote, it is a great way to incorporate healthy greens into your diet in a delicious way.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the blend of cheeses – from Manchego to Oaxaca to mozzarella – that combine to create a rich and indulgent flavor profile. And with substitutes and variations available to tailor it to your preferences, this recipe is versatile enough to make again and again.

So preheat your oven to 350°F, grab our ingredient list, and let’s get started on making this sensational Arroz Verde al Horno.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Arroz Verde Al Horno (Green Rice Casserole)
Arroz Verde Al Horno (Green Rice Casserole)

Are you in the mood for a delicious and unique dish that is sure to impress your family and guests? Look no further than this Arroz Verde Al Horno recipe!

There are many reasons why you’ll love this recipe. Firstly, it’s a wonderful combination of flavors and textures that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy. The tender long grain rice is perfectly complemented by the creamy and slightly tangy manchego cheese, while the mozzarella cheese adds just the right amount of flavor and stretch. And let’s not forget about the spiciness of the poblano chile and the freshness of cilantro leaves!

Secondly, this recipe is very easy to make. With just a few simple steps, you can have a delicious and hearty meal on the table in no time. And, as a bonus, this recipe is perfect for a large gathering or party since it can be easily doubled or tripled.

Thirdly, there are plenty of variations and substitutions you can make to suit your tastes or dietary needs. For instance, if you don’t like spicy food, you can omit the poblano chile or replace it with a milder pepper. If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, feel free to use non-dairy cheeses or skip them altogether.

Finally, this Arroz Verde Al Horno recipe is easy to pair with other dishes and ingredients. It pairs beautifully with grilled meat or vegetables, roasted chicken, or even served as a side dish with your favorite Mexican meal such as Arroz con Pollo, Spanish Rice, Rice Pilaf or Cilantro Rice.

In sum, you’ll love this Arroz Verde Al Horno recipe because it delivers an incredible flavor profile that will excite your senses, it’s easy to make without sacrificing taste or quality, it offers flexibility for substitutions and variations to meet your dietary restrictions, and it pairs perfectly with many other dishes. Don’t wait too long to try this mouth-watering recipe – make it now and experience the deliciousness for yourself!

Ingredient List

 Fresh ingredients make all the difference in this flavorful arroz verde al horno.
Fresh ingredients make all the difference in this flavorful arroz verde al horno.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients we’ll need to make this Arroz Verde al Horno recipe.

  • Long-grain rice: This type of rice works best for this recipe, as it will hold its shape and absorb the flavors well. Make sure to rinse the rice before using it to remove any excess starch.

  • Spanish onion: A medium-sized onion is all you need to add some sweet and savory flavor to this dish.

  • Garlic cloves: Fresh garlic adds depth of flavor to the dish, so don’t skimp on it.

  • Green bell pepper: Gives a fresh, bright flavor to this dish. Make sure to remove the seeds and dice it finely.

  • Poblano chile: This mild chili provides a smoky and earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with the creamy cheeses in the recipe. Remember to remove the seeds before using.

  • Epazote leaves: A traditional Mexican herb that gives a subtle anise-like flavor and aroma that complements the dish perfectly.

  • Fresh cilantro leaves: Adds a touch of freshness and color to the dish.

  • Low-sodium chicken broth: Provides moisture while cooking and adds more depth of flavor than water alone.

  • Unsalted butter: Gives richness and enhances the overall taste of this dish.

  • Mozzarella cheese: Shredded mozzarella cheese helps bind the casserole together and balance out the flavors.

  • Manchego cheese: Grated Manchego provides a nutty, salty kick to this green rice casserole recipe.

  • Oaxaca cheese: This mild, stringy cheese adds creaminess and richness without overpowering the other ingredients with too much saltiness.

  • Heavy cream: Gives a lusciously rich texture, ensuring each spoonful is creamy and flavorful.

  • Salt: A pinch or two to taste brings out the flavors and balances the dish.|

The Recipe How-To

 This hearty casserole is the perfect addition to your dinner table.
This hearty casserole is the perfect addition to your dinner table.

Now that the ingredients have been gathered, it’s time to get cooking. This arroz verde al horno recipe is straightforward – follow these steps and enjoy a delicious and impressive dish!

Preheat oven to 350°F

First things first, preheat the oven to 350°F. This temperature will ensure that the rice is evenly cooked and golden on top.

Combine the ingredients

Take a large bowl and add in 1 cup of long grain rice, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1 cup of manchego cheese, and 1 cup of heavy cream. Mix them all together until everything is evenly distributed.

Next, add in finely chopped Spanish onion, minced garlic cloves, chopped epazote leaves, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, diced green bell pepper, seeded and diced poblano chile. Stir everything together until well mixed.

Place the mixture into a baking dish

Once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, place the mixture into a baking dish like a casserole dish or pie plate.

Bake in the oven

Put your baking dish full of delicious-aromatic-creamy mixture in your heated oven and let it bake! Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, resulting in flavorful arroz al horno baked green rice casserole with melted cheeses forming a unique crust on top.

Once done, remove from oven and lets it rest for five minutes. The resting provides some extra firmness before serving which makes slicing easier. Serve warm as main course alongside some salsa verde, roasted poblano peppers or as a side dish for easily pleased crowd.

This perfectly cooked arroz verde al horno with its creamy texture will surely become your go-to rice recipe that never fails to impress guests or family members at dinner parties or casual get-togethers.

Substitutions and Variations

 A pop of color and nutrition comes from the addition of spinach in this recipe.
A pop of color and nutrition comes from the addition of spinach in this recipe.

Looking to give this Arroz Verde Al Horno recipe a personal touch? Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try.

– Different Cheeses: While I recommend using Manchego, Mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese for this dish, feel free to switch things up with your favorite varieties. Cheddar, Parmesan or Monterey Jack are all great alternatives.

– Different Rice: If you do not have long grain rice on hand, feel free to swap with short grain rice or even basmati rice. Though the texture will be different from the original recipe, it will still turn out delicious.

– Different Broth: Low sodium chicken broth is what I use in this recipe, but vegetable broth or even beef broth would work as well. You can also use water in place of broth if you don’t have any on hand.

– Add Protein: This arroz verde al horno is already full of flavor but adding protein takes it to another level! Grilled chicken, shrimp, and ground beef are all delicious additions.

– Vegetarian Version: To make this recipe vegetarian, swap chicken broth with vegetable broth and omit any meat additions. To add more protein, you could also add grilled tofu or chickpeas.

– Add More Vegetables and Flavorings: Try adding roasted poblano peppers or sautéed spinach for extra greens. You can also drizzle salsa verde over the top of the casserole before baking for an additional boost of flavor.

Experiment with these substitutions and variations until you’ve found the perfect combination for your taste buds. Enjoy!

Serving and Pairing

 The cheesy goodness will have everyone coming back for seconds.
The cheesy goodness will have everyone coming back for seconds.

When it comes to serving this delicious Arroz Verde Al Horno, there are a few different options. You can serve it as a side dish, or you can make it the main event by adding some protein, like chicken or shrimp.

One of the best things about this dish is that it is incredibly versatile when it comes to pairing with other foods. For a complete and hearty meal, pair it with roasted chicken or turkey breast. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, grilled fish or shrimp can be an excellent match.

If you want to lean into the Spanish flavors of this recipe, try serving it alongside some spicy chorizo sausage or with a fresh green salad dressed in a tangy vinaigrette. You could also consider pairing this dish with a bold red wine or a crisp white wine – both can be excellent complements to the rich and savory flavors of this rice casserole.

No matter what you serve alongside your Arroz Verde Al Horno, be sure to savor each bite and enjoy the unique combination of flavors and textures that only this recipe can offer!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The beauty of this dish is in its simplicity – just cook and bake!
The beauty of this dish is in its simplicity – just cook and bake!

Preparing ahead of time can make mealtime easier, especially when entertaining. This Arroz Verde Al Horno recipe can be prepared ahead of time and reheated for a delicious meal. Once the dish is fully cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and placing it in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to three days.

To reheat the rice casserole, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap or aluminum foil and cover the dish with a lid or more aluminum foil. Preheat for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until heated thoroughly. It’s best not to uncover until ready to serve as this will help ensure the moisture is retained and the rice doesn’t dry out.

Another way to reheat individual portions is in the microwave. Place a serving of Arroz Verde Al Horno on a microwave-safe plate and reheat for one minute on high power. Stir the rice and microwave for an additional minute if needed.

If you have leftovers after reheating, they store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When stored properly, reheating leftovers tends to be even faster than fresh-cooked dishes. You can also freeze any remaining portion for later use; to do this, allow the casserole to cool completely before transferring it into a freezable container. Store it in the freezer for up to two months.

When reheating from frozen, take out the frozen dish from the freezer and thaw it overnight in your refrigerator before following reheating instructions mentioned earlier.

Keep in mind that reheating may change textural quality slightly, but taste and flavor will still be fantastic!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The aroma of roasted peppers will fill your kitchen with a wonderful fragrance.
The aroma of roasted peppers will fill your kitchen with a wonderful fragrance.

Achieving perfection in any dish requires attention to detail, and Arroz Verde Al Horno is no exception. As a chef who has prepared this exquisite Green Rice Casserole on multiple occasions, I have gathered some tips that will guarantee you obtain the most satisfactory results out of this recipe. So, read ahead and learn how to level up your cooking game.

1. Follow the recipe instructions precisely

To ensure an excellent outcome, it is essential to respect the specified ingredients and amounts as well as the preparation methods described in the recipe. Any minor deviation could alter the taste, texture, or consistency of the dish. Thus, if you want to achieve perfect green rice baked to perfection and a casserole that your guests will rave about, follow these steps faithfully.

2. Use fresh ingredients

Arroz Verde Al Horno relies on fresh vegetables such as poblano chili peppers, Spanish onions, garlic cloves and epazote leaves along with cilantro leaves and green bell peppers for added flavor. Be sure to use top-quality fresh produce when preparing this green rice casserole recipe.

3. Don’t overcook the rice

One crucial aspect to consider when making Arroz Verde Al Horno is the rice’s cooking timing since nobody likes undercooked or mushy rice. Therefore, ensure that you cook it for precisely 25 – 30 minutes until tender and fluffy.

4. Adjust salt levels

Tasting your dish is fundamental when cooking, so check your green rice’s saltiness before baking it in the oven. Remember that chicken broth already contains salt and cheeses offer salty notes too.

5. Use multiple cheeses

A blend of Oaxaca cheese, manchego cheese along mozzarella cheese adds depth of flavor and balances out spiciness from poblano peppers while providing a blissful melty texture that will leave you wanting more.

6. Add an extra layer of flavor with salsa verde

While not necessary, drizzling some salsa verde on top of the casserole before baking adds a delightful layer of tartness and tanginess to your already delicious green rice.

7. Baking the Green Rice Casserole

Preheat the oven to 350°F and cover the baking dish with foil so that the cheese doesn’t burn. Bake for exactly 35 minutes, remove the foil and return the casserole into the oven to add a crispy golden crust to it.

Following these tips will guarantee you’ll have a taste-bud-pleasing, Aztec-inspired rice dish that will be an excellent companion to any meat or vegetable meal. Enjoy!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a new twist on your traditional rice recipe, Arroz Verde Al Horno is definitely worth a try. This delicious Green Rice Casserole will provide your taste buds with an explosion of flavors due to the combination of aromatic ingredients such as garlic, cilantro, and epazote all cooked to perfection in mouth-watering heavy cream and chicken broth.

Moreover, you can easily customize this dish by adding your favorite vegetables and proteins like chicken, poblano peppers, or even shrimp. Additionally, it can serve as a great side dish to compliment any main course or be enjoyed as a standalone meal.

Overall, Arroz Verde Al Horno is not only a delicious and aromatic recipe but also simple to make with easy-to-find ingredients. So why not head over to the kitchen and preheat your oven to 350F to enjoy one of the best Spanish rice casserole recipes? Trust me; your taste buds won’t regret it!

Arroz Verde Al Horno (Green Rice Casserole)

Arroz Verde Al Horno (Green Rice Casserole) Recipe

I scooped this one up froom lottie & doof's blog. Supposedly, the recipe is directly from Mercadito's Restaurant in NYC, a small Mexican restaurant in the east village. I have seen in my own Walmart Oaxaca and Manchego cheeses. The Oaxaca can be substituted with fresh mozzarella. I've never heard of epazote and is described as an herb with a really distinctive flavor, somewhere between licorice, tarragon and gasoline. Sounds delicious, right? Well, another source states it's strong flavor is slightly bitter with hints of lemon. I've listed suitable substitutions or, as suggested, omit it altogether.
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Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 581.8 kcal


  • 1 poblano chile, seeds removed
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup epazote leaves, loosely packed, optional (can sub fresh savory or Mexican oregano)
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped Spanish onion
  • salt
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cups grated oaxaca cheese or 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups grated manchego cheese, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • Place first six ingredients in a blender and puree well. Set aside. Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat until melted, add onion and sauté for 1 minute. Add the green broth and bring to a boil, add salt (2 tablespoons were recommended and seems excessive, but states the broth should be very salty. I would edge on the careful side and add less). Add the rice to the the broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 15-25 minutes. (Check after 15 minutes and stir with spoon, continue cooking if needed).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F In a large bowl, combine rice, 1 cup of Oaxaca cheese, 1 cup Manchego cheese, and heavy cream and stir to combine. Place rice mixture in one large casserole dish or several individual dishes and sprinkle tops with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, and then transfer to broiler to brown the cheese on top.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 211gCalories: 581.8kcalCarbohydrates: 57.3gProtein: 15.2gFat: 32.7gSaturated Fat: 20.2gCholesterol: 109.3mgSodium: 262.6mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 3.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Easy, Mexican, Rice, White Rice
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.