Mexican Lasagna(Bean and Cheese Enchilada Casserole)

Mexican Lasagna5

If there is one cuisine I love next to Indian cuisine, it is Mexican cuisine. When you are traveling and want to have something that tastes close to home food, the obvious choice is Mexican food. Maybe it has to do with their use of rice and beans and sauces very similar to that of Indian cuisine, but I really love Mexican food.

This Mexican Lasagna recipe is one that I came up with when on Phase 2 of the SBD diet, where I had a huge packet of ‘LowCarb High Fiber Tortillas’ that I needed to use up, and no matter what I tried to make, I just couldn’t think of a way to get done with this pack, before it was due to expire. I made a huge batch of this Mexican lasagna, using veggies and beans, but feel free to adapt the recipe to suit non veg lovers.

It is a fairly easy recipe to make. You can even make the veggie mixture in advance, or assemble the whole thing in advance and bake it later. Please scale down the ingredients if making a smaller batch.

Mexican lasagna(Makes 8-10 servings)

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Ingredients:
Veggie mixture
2 tbsp olive oil(I used garlic olive oil)
4 cloves garlic. finely minced
4 green chillies, chopped(use one jalapeno instead, remove seeds)
1 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 ear corn, grilled and scraped or 1 cup frozen corn(can be omitted to make SBD friendly)
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper(optional)
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp, chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Bean mixture
1 1/2 cup refried beans
1 1/2 cup black beans
2 chipotle chillies in adobo
2 tsp adobo sauce
salt to taste(if needed)

Assmebly
1 can of Mild/Medium Salsa
10 large Tortillas( I used low carb, high fiber tortillas)
Mexican Blend Cheese – 1 1/2 cups (2 handfuls for each layer)
Cilantro, chopped 1/4 cup
Non stick cooking spray
Sour cream/chopped Scallions, to serve

Method:

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To make the Veggie Mixture
Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and the chopped jalapeno/green chillies. Let it infuse the oil for a minute and add in the chopped onions and bell peppers. Let the onions sweat, turn translucent. The peppers should still be crunchy. Add in the corn and the spices – cumin powder, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, paprika and oregano. Let the veggies absorb the spices. Add salt to taste. Saute for another couple of minutes until the raw flavors of the spices are cooked and melded. Sprinkle cilantro and set aside.

To make the Bean mixture
Place the black beans, refried beans, the chipotle chillies and the adobo sauce in a food processor. Pulse until they all come together. Be careful not to make a paste out of the mixture, all you are looking for is a coarsely blended mixture. Taste for salt and add in salt if needed. Be careful as the beans may be salted by themselves.

I have soaked and cooked the black beans myself, as well as used home made refried beans. If using a can, you can use one can of each. They don’t quite add up to 1 1/2 cups each, but it should do.

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Assemble and Bake
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tortillas in half. Set aside.

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Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Start by spooning in an thin layer of salsa. Layer the tortillas on top. I used one half tortilla, per side of the pan, with the curved side inside and the straight edge to the outer edge of the pan. It made a perfect rectangle that way, with a bit of overlap in the center. Spread a layer of the bean mixture over the tortillas, followed by a layer of the veggie mixture. Sprinkle with two handfuls of cheese.

Repeat layering starting again with salsa, tortillas, bean mixture, veggie mixture and cheese until all of the ingredients are used up. Finish the layering with salsa, sprinkle cheese over the salsa and top with the chopped cilantro.

Bake 400 degrees F covered with foil- 35 to 45 minutes, remove foil for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, so that the cheese browns.

Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting in. Serve with a dollop of sour cream!

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Verdict: It really tasted like a lasagna, but much healthier – with the low carb, high fiber tortillas, the pinto and black beans, the veggies and the cheese. The salsa added a tart tomatoey flavor to the lasagna. It is an awesome dish to make for a potluck or a party. Just assemble in advance and bake before serving! The flavors melded really well and made for a well spiced and balanced meal!

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Sending this delicacy to:
Flavors of Cuisines: Mexican
Know Your Dairy – cheese, event series by Jagruti.
Vegetarian Lunchbox
Bake Fest #16
– MLLA 56. “My Legume Love Affair” , started by Susan, of the Well-Seasoned Cook has been running for several years and this month is taken over by Lisa.
‘Favorite Recipes: Non Indian Food’, event series by ‘Zesty South Indian Kitchen’
Dish it out: Lentils and Garlic, event series by Vardhini.

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