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Mexican Lasagna

I love Mexican food. When I was in med school, I used to hang out at a Mexican restaurant in the city called Mexico Lindo. I was there so often everyone got to know me very well. The owner knew I was a struggling student and gave me free food all the time. I learned enough Spanish to be able to order my dinner and flirt with the handsome waiters. That, along with the Spanish I was learning at the hospital, made for very interesting although strange conversational skills. I could ask for yellow rice, tell someone how sexy I thought they were or ask them what color their phlegm was 🙂

Anyway…I could eat Mexican or any kind of Spanish food everyday for the rest of my life and be happy. But I married a man who loves Italian food. Tom loves pasta and he loves lasagna. I’m ok with pasta but I’m not a big lasagna fan. Too much noodle to filling ratio for my taste. What to do?

Well, the key to marriage is compromise and so I made Mexican Lasagna. Delicious layers of spicy picadillo, corn, black beans, a flavorful, tangy Mexican tomato sauce, pepperjack cheese and corn tortillas instead of lasagna noodles. It’s everything you love about lasagna but Mexcian!

For the picadillo, I used Sunshine Burgers which are soy-free and gluten-free. Amy’s Sonoma Burgers are also soy- and gluten-free. If gluten and soy are not concerns, any burger crumbles would work or even lentils if that’s what you prefer. The Mexican Tomato Sauce starts with a homemade sofrito which makes it rich in flavor. You can use whichever vegan cheese you prefer but I wanted the combination of a cheese that melts and the spicy Pepperjack flavor so I used Daiya.

This is the kind of dish that tastes even better the next day so if you can, make it the day before you plan to serve it. You can garnish the lasagna with gucamole or vegan sour cream. Serve it with a salad or rice and you have a hearty, filling and decadent meal that’s muy delicioso.

Mexican Lasagna

For the Mexican Tomato Sauce:

1 Tbs. Sofrito (see recipe here)
1-14 oz. can of tomato sauce
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot, add the sofrito over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce and the spices. Stir well and heat through. Set aside.

For the Picadillo:

1 Tbs. olive oil
¼ large red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and diced or 1-4 oz. can of green chiles
3 Sunshine burgers, frozen or 2 cups cooked lentils
7 oz. of the Mexican Tomato Sauce (see recipe above)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. Mexican chile powder
1 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 4 minutes. Add the bell peppers and the chiles and sauté for another 3 minutes. Crumble the Sunshine burgers into the skillet (or add the lentils) and mix it with the peppers and onions. Add the sauce and the spices to the pan. Mix it well and cook until the burgers are heated through. Transfer the picadillo to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet to use for the bean/corn mixture.

For the Black Bean/Corn Mixture:

1 Tbs. olive oil
¼ large red onion, diced
1-15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Mix in the beans and the corn and cook until heated through. Turn off the heat and add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

For the Lasagna:

Cooking spray
12-15 corn tortillas
Black Bean/Corn Mixture
7 oz. of the Mexican Tomato Sauce
1 ½ cups Daiya Pepperjack shreds
Parsley or cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Guacamole (see recipe here) or vegan sour cream, for toppings

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 11 casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread some sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.

Layer the tortillas to cover the bottom of the casserole dish. You may need to cut some tortillas in half to make sure the whole dish is covered.

Spoon half the picadillo onto the tortillas and spread evenly with a spatula. Top with half the bean/corn mixture and ½ cup of Pepperjack shreds.

Apply a second layer of tortillas. Top with remaining picadillo and bean/corn mixture. Spread them evenly and add some more sauce and another ½ cup of Pepperjack shreds.

Apply a third layer of tortillas. Top with remaining sauce and Pepperjack shreds.

Spray the top of the lasagna with cooking spray. Cook for about 30-40 minutes until the tortillas have browned a bit and the cheese is melted.

If you are going to eat it the same day, let it stand for about 15 minutes so the lasagna can set. Garnish with parsley or cilantro. Serve with guacamole or sour cream, as desired. Enjoy!

The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.

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2 Responses to Mexican Lasagna

  1. Rhea Parsons February 4, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    Barb, that’s very diplomatic of you 🙂

  2. Barb@ThatWasVegan? February 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    This looks great- although I’m split between your team and Tom’s… I love italian AND mexican!

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