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Better than the Freezer Aisle: Copy Cat Weight Watchers Diet Santa Fe Beans and Rice


Back when I was teaching full time, I only had about a 25 minute (if I was lucky) lunch break. Grabbing a frozen meal as I walked out the door in the mornings was a no-brainer – it didn’t require any effort or forethought on my part, and it heated up quickly.

To help my conscience out, I figured that if I was going to eat a frozen meal, at least I could make it diet. Then, I became aware of the high amounts of sodium in those meals. So, I decided to only eat them every once in a while. But, lately, I’ve been trying to make better (read: more whole foods, or at least as few processed foods as I can stand to get away with) choices for myself and my family. So making my own freezer meals (and trying to make them as low in calories/carbs/fats as possible) seemed like the next natural step.

One of my favorite freezer meals was Santa Fe Beans and Rice by Smart Ones. It didn’t take long to find a recipe for it that I wanted to try. It was delicious – so much better than the frozen one – and it didn’t take long for me to have 8 diet friendly lunches in my freezer ready to go.

Santa Fe Beans and Rice


Heather @ onceamonthmeals.com; adapted from Stop Licking The Dog


  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 0.5 cups salsa
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 0.5 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided


Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, tomato sauce, salsa, taco seasoning, black beans, corn, salt, pepper, sour cream, and half of cheese. Pour into greased 2 qt. baking dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 5-10 minutes longer until cheese is melted.

Freezing Directions:

Allow to cool. Divide among quart freezer bags for individual servings. To Serve: Thaw. Reheat in microwave in 1 minute intervals until heated through.

Servings: 8 

Nutritional Info: 

Serving Size: 0.75 cup, Calories 216, Total Fat 5.1, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Total Carbs 36g, Fiber 6.2g, Protein 8.2g, WW Plus Points: 5

Nutritional Info for Smart Ones Santa Fe Beans and Rice Per serving: Calories 320, Fat 7g, Fiber 5g, Carbs 54g, Protein 10g, WW Plus Points: 8

**conversion chart image provided by Erik Spiekermann

33 Responses to “Better than the Freezer Aisle: Copy Cat Weight Watchers Diet Santa Fe Beans and Rice”

  1. Kristy Powell says:

    You could swap out the light sour cream (317 calories per cup, 8 g protein, 24 g fat, and 16 g carb) for plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (133 calories per cup, 23 g protein, 1 g fat, 8 g carb) to save calories, fat and carbohydrate while boosting the protein content, and thus boosting the satiating effect of the meal.

  2. Melody says:

    This sounds great! It also answered the pressing question of what the heck to make for dinner tonight! Upside is I can double it up and freeze some for lunches later. Thanks as always!

  3. Jenny says:

    I’m feeling slow today. Is that 2 cups of cooked rice? Or 2 cups of raw rice, then prepared for the recipe?

  4. Amy says:

    Silly question, but wanted to confirm… that’s 2 cups of cooked rice, right? As opposed to 2 cups of uncooked rice that you cook (making ~4 cups of cooked rice). Can’t wait to make this! Thanks!

  5. Jenny says:

    I add diced zucchini to mine as well. Ups the veggies and gives it some color.

  6. Kathleen Mills says:

    Dumb question…do you mean 2 cups of cooked brown rice, or measure 2 cups of rice then cook? That is how it reads (according to the way I’ve been taught to read a recipe…;) but from the amt. for each serving, I suspect it’s two cups of cooked brown rice? Whew, couldn’t figure out how to say that in fewer words LOL

  7. Alissabeth says:

    How do you think this would turn out without the sour cream and cheese incorporated…maybe adding it after for those in our house who don’t need to be dairy free?

  8. Kristin says:

    Have you ever tried replacing the rice with quinoa? I would be curious if it would be good. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Kathleen R says:

    If I wanted to freeze the entire dish as a casserole, do you recommend doing it BEFORE cooking or after?

  10. Hi Heather, thanks for this recipe, it’s on my cooking list for today! Here in Brussels I can find pintos more easily than black beans so I’m making it with that, plus some TVP (alas, not an unprocessed food) to up the protein content. The salsa will surely be the salsa posted on OAMM’s site this month. I’m going to picture the beautiful adobe architecture and old churches of Sante Fe when I eat this for lunch. Merci beaucoup / dank u wel!

  11. Oops wanted to mention a thanks to Kathleen for her question on freezing an entire casserole, this will go into my stock of little single-serving size foil oven dishes. Every Friday night I crave a hot meal like lasagne, this is going to be it! Thanks for the vegetarian meal found over here. I’m bookmarking this one :)

  12. Kelly says:

    I LOVE your meals! This one in particular hit the spot. Thank you so much for the effort you take to share your hard work and recipes. I absolutely LOVE you! Hugs!

  13. Two thumbs way up for this recipe! Turns out that I couldn’t wait and made it in a large casserole instead of small ramekins (couldn’t find those). I’ll try it with zucchini/courgette in the next batch too.

  14. mike says:

    i have a crazy question do i need to cook the beans b4 or do they go in uncooked

  15. pat says:

    can you use brown beans or kidney beans instead of black beans

  16. andi says:

    Love, Love, Love this recipe! I add cooked chicken and black olives. Served with a light salad and dinner was a big hit with all my picky eaters. Thanks so much!

  17. Charlene A. says:

    This was the only WW meal I used to buy, *however* I’ve been forced to go low sodium so I haven’t eaten one in 10 months. But, while you talk about the bought version having high sodium in the introduction, the final counts are not given. Can you estimate the sodium count? Just curious. I’ll be using cooked dried black beans, frozen corn and no salt added tomato sauce myself, but I’m interested in the count using the ingredients you’ve listed. Thanks!

  18. Charlene says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for replying…there doesn’t appear to be a link, however. I’ll search for one then check back here to see if it’s been added.

  19. Amberlyn says:

    Great recipe! I love these and was thinking of trying to make them with shirataki rice to make them lower calorie. But I am wondering, is it red salsa or green that is being used?

  20. sue101886 says:

    This dish has become a favorite! So great!

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