Tex-Mex Risotto

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The flavours of southwestern cooking come together with classic Italian risotto in this hearty tex-mex risotto. The fusion of flavours-sweet tomatoes, earthy spices, and fresh beans and corn, in this one-pot meal make for a delicious, bold, flavourful risotto.

Garnish options for this tex-mex risotto are endless. We love adding Greek yogurt and avocado as garnishes to add freshness to the risotto and to balance out the bold flavours.


Unlike traditional risotto for which you need to slowly add broth to the rice as it cooks, this rendition is much easier and requires less attention-simply add the ingredients to the pot all at once and let simmer. However, as with any risotto, you do need to stir it every so often to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.


This risotto is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! It incorporates the flavours of southwestern cuisine in a classic Italian meal. The serving options also vary; enjoy as a main and create other meals with the leftovers, such as a filling in quesadillas or tacos, or as a garnish for homemade nachos.


This risotto tastes even better the following day since the flavours have time to blend together. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time


Yields: 4-6
500 grams lean ground chicken (beef or turkey)
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
28oz can of diced tomatoes (with the liquid)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup canned corn, drained
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 small avocado, cubed or finely sliced for garnish
1/4 cup cheddar cheese for garnish
plain Greek yogurtfor garnish, quantity as desired


Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic, onions and green pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes or until translucent.


Add the ground chicken and spices. Cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking it apart with a large wooden spoon as it cooks.


Once the chicken is cooked add the rice, pureed tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 40-45 minutes.


Once the rice is tender and al dente (meaning with a bite and not mushy), add the beans and corn and simmer for another 5 minutes or so until they are heated through.


Immediately remove from the heat and serve. Leave covered to prevent any remaining liquid from evaporating so the rice does not dry out.

Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, fresh avocado, a dollop of sour cream…the options are endless!

  • monica

    I’ve never seen a tex-mex spin on risotto. This looks amazing! Thanks for all the great photos too :)

    • Lisa @bitesforbabies

      Either had I until I made this, lol! Even my “traditional” husband loved it!

  • This looks so good. The photos make it look irresistible. Because of you and your blog, I’ve been really trying to eat better/healthier. So thanks for that. :)

    • Lisa @bitesforbabies

      Photos can do a lot for a blog…if the pics are horrible then who’s going to want to eat the food?! Your compliment means a lot! I love tha tyou’re being inspired…I should maybe change my Blog name to “Bites for Adults!!!”

  • Robin Rue

    I have never had risotto before, but we love Mexican food in our house, so this would be a good one to start with :)

    • I’m sure it would be…it’s definitely easier to make than traditional risotto!

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    I love this take on risotto. It’s got SO Much flavor, and it seems really healthy.

    • Thanks…I’d like to think that it’s much healthier than restaurant-style tex-mex food.

  • Alli Smith

    This has so many of my favorite Mexican flavors! I was just pinning it a few minutes ago and wishing I had some right this minute – yes, for breakfast, even. Looks delicious!

    • Thanks so much for pinning and sharing. Never thought of it for breakfast though, lol!

  • This looks so good. I’ve never had ground chicken before but I bet it taste great since chicken is one of my favorite foods.

    • It’s lends for a much lighter meal, although you could always substitute with ground beef.

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Oooooo this looks pretty delicious!!! I’m all about tex-mex anything so i may just have to pin this!!! Yummy!!!

  • I love this fusion of Italian and Spanish flavors! Will definitely give it a try!

  • I love food like this. This looks so yummy. My kids would automatically “hate it” because of the rice lol

  • Kori

    That looks so delicious. I love risotto recipes, so I’m definitely going to have to give this a try sometime.

  • Ashleigh Walls

    I love a good risotto! I want to eat more avocado so topping it with that would be delicious for me.

  • Ricci

    I love risotto!! I love your tex-mex twist and avocado on the side, I love me some avocado.

  • I am totally into this meal. I really need to try this. I love Tex-Mex dishes.

  • PamelaLDavis

    I love Tex-Mex, and I could easily make this vegan by using Soy Chorizo. Thanks for sharing!!

  • chubskulit

    I have never tried cooking risotto yet. Thank you for sharing this, I will try your recipe since this is something that my family would like.

  • beauty sundae

    This recipe looks so good. I’m a big fan of Tex-Mex

  • Nina Say

    This looks so good! Tex Mex is my favorite kind of food of all time.

  • Elizabeth O.

    I haven’t tried to kind of risotto! I would love to whip
    this up later!

  • onceuponamaritime

    I love this recipe a lot, a nice Mexican styled risotto sounds amazing!

  • Cherri Littleton Megasko

    It sounds like a super fabulous version of Spanish rice. I love that combination of flavors.

  • Jennifer Juro

    This looks like a great version of Spanish rice! I have never made Tex Mex before like this!

  • I have never tried risotto before, but this looks like it would be so delicious. I have most of the things in my kitchen already so I’ll be trying out your recipe this weekend!

  • Lynn Dee

    We love Mexican food. I am actually having this urge to have some now after seeing your photos. That looks really good!

  • Alyssa C

    This looks delicious! I definitively plan on making it soon!

  • Lisa – wow – this does looks delicious and I’ve never even had risotto – I will be saving your recipe to serve soon – thank you :)

    • Thank you so much! This would be a great recipe to start with since it requires less attention than traditional risotto.

  • You make such delicious looking dishes. This is one of my favorites so far, hopefully I can make this soon.

  • blm03

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try and make this!

  • I
    would have never thought to eat something like this with avocado. And, I’ve
    never had risotto Tex-Mex style either – looks like something I would like.

    • I added the avocado in hindsight, I mean a lot of southwestern-style dishes incorporate avocado, right?!

  • Jesica H

    I love anything Mexican, especially if it has black beans in it!!! Looks pretty easy to make too, which is a double bonus!

  • That looks far too good. I would love to eat bowls and bowls of it right now! I adore Mexican food!

  • Jeanine

    Wow! Now this looks absolutely delicious! I would love to try this and I bet all my kids would love this too! I know my husband would!

  • Erin Shebish

    okay, this looks way less complicated than I thought it would be. And it sounds so delicious!

    • That’s good to hear because I often wonder if my recipes look complicated…it really is easy to make!

  • Chrystal M.

    I love some good Tex-Mex! Having spent most my life in Oklahoma and traveling to Texas often, I am quite familiar with that wonderful taste. Sadly, it pretty much sucks up here in MI. Just not the same. :(

    • I can imagine! I on the other hand have never been anywhere that serves authentic tex-mex food!!!

  • Chrissy Hme

    This looks amazing! My son is a big fan of Tex-Mex and he would love this. I will make it this week for sure!

  • Extra avacado for me please! That would be a fab dish. Mexican style food is my favorite.

  • Sharon Ulery Ruggieri

    Love tex mex! We get to eat it often out here but I haven’t made it myself yet

  • mail4rosey

    There’s a lot of care that went into that one. It sounds amazing.

  • Well, I love Mexican food and do know how to make a mean risotto… so I bet this is pretty yummy!

  • That looks so delicious! I’ll definitely have to try it sans the meat. :)

    • It’s just as delicious without…the beans give this risotto a lot of texture too.

  • How cool! Very unique combination going on here. I love both risotto and Tex-Mex so count me in on this recipe. Thanks!

  • Rochkirstin Santos

    I love the fusion of those flavors. Adding Greek yogurt and avocado on top will make the taste extra delicious and special. Sour cream also sounds good. :)

    • I really do think the Greek yogurt and avocado make the dish…they balance out all the flavours and add texture.

  • Beth

    This sounds amazing! I love all the different flavors in this.

  • A Woman The World Deserves

    I love these flavors. I am going to have to try risotto.