Loaded with Mexican flavours, made entirely from scratch, this is meat-free food for carnivores at its finest! This Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna is like an Enchilada layered up like lasagna, using tortillas instead of lasagna sheets.
At just 342 calories per serving, this is my kind of healthy food – satisfying, packed with flavour and oh-so-good for you!
At the beginning of 2016, I declared that I was on a mission to eat healthier and share more fabulous meat-free dishes and salads here on RecipeTin Eats.
Almost 3/4 of the way through the year, and I thoroughly admit to having failed on that New Years’ Resolution. I’m a cheese-lovin’ carnivore through and through, and my conscious efforts to share more green recipes have not gone very well.
All that changes right here! I’m holding myself accountable to YOU. I’m declaring that every fortnight for the rest of 2016, I am going to post 1 meat-free meal. I’m saying “meal” to be clear that things like French Onion Dip and Zucchini Tots don’t qualify as meat-free. Otherwise I might try to be cheeky. 😉
And I’m starting with this epic Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna. Now THIS is meat-free for carnivores!
It’s saucy and juicy, fresh and packed with flavour. The secret weapon is this: a homemade Enchilada Sauce that is whizzed up in a blender.
This Enchilada Sauce is ridiculously fabulous. It is fresher tasting than the sauce I make for my Beef and Bean Enchiladas and also has more flavour. How is that possible??
Canned tomato + spices + fresh coriander / cilantro + onion + garlic whizzed in my mighty Vitamix = healthy fresh Enchilada Sauce with flavour that no store bought sauce will EVER compare to. One little taste test, and you’ll believe me!
You know I’m obsessed with my new Vitamix, and I’m still discovering the amazing power of this high performance blender. Like making breadcrumbs using fresh bread without toasting it. Just scrunch up the bread into a ball in your hand, turn the Vitamix on high then drop the ball in through the hole in the lid while it’s whizzing. And just like magic – poof! Breadcrumbs! ??
It was my newfound love of blending and whizzing that was the catalyst for the creation of this blender Enchilada Sauce. It tastes so fresh from the onion and coriander, it’s perfect for a vegetarian meal. Though of course, some chicken or turkey wouldn’t go astray in this Mexican Lasagna!
I put together a little video to show how it’s assembled. It’s really easy, but I thought it would be helpful to see how I layer the tortillas. I’ve also put some step-by-step photos below the post.
WARNING: There is extreme exposure to BabyHands in this video. Watch at your own risk.
I adore the gorgeous colours of the veggies in this. It would put anyone in a good mood, cooking with all this colour!
I made this with corn, capsicum / bell peppers and zucchinis, but feel free to substitute with whatever veggies you have! Just make sure you sauté watery veggies before layering them, otherwise they will leech water when baking and you’ll end up with a watery sauce.
Also, in a bid to be healthier, I even made this with low fat cheese. I was pleasantly surprised how well it melted and how it tasted! But of course, feel free to use whatever cheese you want. 🙂
Here’s to more Meat Free Food for Carnivores! – Nagi x
- 800 g / 28oz crushed canned tomato
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic , whole peeled
- 1/2 red onion , chopped
- 1 cup fresh coriander / cilantro , lightly packed
- 1 tbsp EACH cumin , oregano and paprika (any type)
- 1 tsp EACH salt , garlic powder, cayenne pepper (optional) and sugar (any)
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- Black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1/2 red onion , finely chopped
- 1 large red capsicum / bell pepper , chopped (~1 1/2 cups)
- 2 zucchinis , chopped (~1 1/2 cups)
- 425 g / 14 oz can black beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 6 large flour tortillas (approx 22 cm / 9" wide) (2)
- 2 1/2 cups / 200g grated melting cheese (I used low fat cheddar)
- Fresh coriander / cilantro leaves , for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Place Enchilada Sauce ingredients in a blender and whizz until onion is whizzed in and no longer visible. (In my Vitamix, I started on 3 then cranked it to 8 and it took 15 seconds)
Heat oil in a large non stick skillet. Add garlic and onion, cook for 1 minute. Add capsicum, cook for 1 minute. Add zucchini and cook for 3 minutes until charred. Remove skillet from heat.
Smear a bit of Enchilada Sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Place 1 tortilla in the middle, then tear on in half and place on either side (see step photos or video).
Top with half the Hot Filling. Scatter over half the black beans, half the corn. Drizzle over 1 cup Enchilada Sauce and 3/4 cup grated cheese.
Repeat with another layer so you have 2 layers of filling. Then for the last layer, top with tortillas then cover 2 cups of Enchilada Sauce (Note 3) and scatter over remaining cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and golden. Stand for 5 minutes, then garnish with fresh coriander and serve.
1. My casserole dish is 30 x 25 x 6 cm / 12 x 10 x 2.5 inches, 18 cup volume.
2. You can use corn tortillas if you prefer, but I find flour is more similar to actual lasagna.
3. This makes about 5 cups of Enchilada Sauce but I find the tortillas were a bit too soggy for my taste if I used it all. So I use 1 cup for each of the layers, then 2 cups for the topping. Make a quick soup with the leftovers or use it as a Sauce (see below for more ideas!)
4. Difference between this fresh Blender Enchilada Sauce and a stovetop one (like in my Beef Enchiladas) - Flavour wise, this is much fresher and has stronger spices, coriander / cilantro and garlic flavours compared to a traditional stovetop version. This sauce has stronger flavour because it is the seasoning for the vegetables. In comparison, the beef in my Beef Enchiladas are seasoned when cooked. So the Enchilada Sauce seasoning isn't as strong.
5. Other uses for this Blender Enchilada Sauce: Definitely traditional enchiladas! Toss a bit of chicken and veggies in this sauce, roll up then top with this Blender Enchilada Sauce, cheese then bake until bubbly. 🙂 It also makes a fantastic soup base. Saute some garlic, onion and veggies, add the Blender Enchilada Sauce plus some chicken stock / broth for more depth of flavour. I also use it as a salsa to serve on the side of tacos, fajitas, in burritos.
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings and that low fat cheese is used. If full fat cheese is used, it is 410 calories per serving.
STEP BY STEP PHOTOS
BOTTOM LAYER – I forgot to top the bottom layer with cheese!!!?
2ND LAYER AND TOP – Phew, remembered the cheese this time!!
Vegetarian Mexican Casserole nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings.
LIFE OF DOZER
This post is brought to you in partnership with Vitamix Australia. I am so honoured to have been selected to partner with such a high quality brand! I was compensated for this recipe, however, if I had not been blown away by my Vitamix Blender, I would have politely declined the offer. Here’s proof how much I love my Vitamix: it has been elevated to the very exclusive status of a permanent position on my kitchen bench. Extremely valuable real estate, reserved for only the very best and most commonly used appliances! – Nagi x