When my daughter E. has a friend over for dinner for the first time, my first thought is often the same as what I imagine her friends’ parents think when E. comes to visit for the first time: “Oh no, what will I feed her!”
Most kids come packing all sorts of food baggage: This one hates onions but likes broccoli, that one won’t eat anything green but likes beans, as long as they’re baked in barbeque sauce.
When you’re used to feeding a child who has been vegetarian from birth, you lose touch with what “normal” kids eat: Lose the hummus–it looks “gross” to little Sally; Molly hasn’t ever had sushi, which, of course, means she won’t touch it.
So I tend to stick to very basic recipes when kids are visiting: spaghetti with marinara sauce, bean burritos, and stir-fries (for the kids who will eat vegetables). This can make it appear to their parents that we eat the same boring things week after week, but at least their children don’t starve while they’re here.
Last night, we had a young visitor for dinner, one who I knew liked Mexican food, so I decided to prepare a family favorite that we haven’t had in a long time (since before I started this blog, in fact). It’s based on a recipe for No-Roll Enchiladas that has become very popular over at Fatfree Vegan Recipes, but I’ve renamed it Mexican Lasagna because that’s what my daughter calls it.
It’s a great dish for visiting food critics (a.k.a. kids) and for potluck dinners, and it was a big hit last night, even though our visitor did manage to pick out all the black beans and leave them on the side of her plate. Oh well. Everybody doesn’t like something!
Update March 2020: Several people wrote in saying they add corn to their enchilada casserole, and I tried it and my family loves it that way. In March 2020, I finally got around to taking a photo of the casserole with corn. Frozen or fresh corn taste much better than canned, but if you use frozen, I recommend thawing it first or adding it to the skillet with the peppers, etc.
Mexican Lasagna (or Enchilada Casserole)
- 1/2 large green bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 large red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper finely chopped, optional
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cups cooked black beans 2 cans rinsed and drained
- 2 medium tomatoes diced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- corn tortillas–at least 12
- 3 cups fatfree refried beans 2 cans
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce canned or homemade
- sliced black olives optional
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a non-stick pan with a little water (1 tbsp.), sauté the peppers, garlic, and onion for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the black beans, tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin. Set aside.
- Spray a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom with a layer of tortillas (you may cut some of them to fit). Make sure you cover the entire bottom of the pan.
- Combine the refried beans and salsa and heat until bubbly. Spread half of them evenly over the tortillas. Cover the refried beans with half of the black bean mixture.
- Add another layer of tortillas and repeat the layers of refried beans and black beans. Cover with a final layer of tortillas, pour the enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with black olives (if desired). Cover and bake for about 30 minutes or until hot throughout. It will be easier to cut if you allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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EileenFebruary 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm
This was SUPER!
janzyMay 3, 2014 at 9:21 am
I have made this a few times for pot-lucks and it is always GONE, unfortunately because I wanted left overs! I am making this today and I have wondered each time why on the spices it says ‘divided’. Usually I am adding part at different times in the recipe but this does not say that, just one of those curious things I have to find out! Thanks Susan for another great recipe!
Susan VoisinMay 3, 2014 at 9:46 am
Thanks for pointing that out! I think it’s left over from an earlier version of the recipe. Over the years, I simplified it so that things are added all together, and I think that “divided” is a relic from the earliest version.
trishaMay 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm
I made this with just a couple of revisions. I added a package of vegan chorizo (Torfurky) and the NON Vegans at work LOVED it. I was expecting left overs, but dang, they ate it all! I made the whole thing for $13.70 and that included the most expensive agreement of the chorizo ($3.95) so this is extremely economical and makes about 12 servings! I paired it with a fresh corn salad and grilled pineapple slices and all were hits!
TomMay 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm
I’ve never been disappointed by your recipes! I’ve recently decided to fully commit to going 100 percent fat free vegan due to some health issues and needing to lose weight. This recipe sounded up my alley, but I was worried about missing the meat, sour cream, cheese, etc. I’m happy to say, they weren’t missed at all and this was incredibly delicious! The variety of textures and flavors are wonderful, and the chopped, juicy tomatoes really make the this pop. I also thought this was not at all expensive to make. I tend to buy organic veggies and organic bell peppers are high right now, but you can always buy regular and wash them well. I’ve also had great success with your muffin recipes and your regular lasagna.
ChelseaJune 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm
This was soooooo good!!!!
Sarah WolfJuly 5, 2019 at 8:05 am
This is a hit at my house. This recipe is so easy and delicious and perfect for a party. Thanks for sharing this!
JillJune 21, 2014 at 2:19 am
Well this looks and sounds amazing and I probably won’t wait until Fourth of July to make it! Thanks for everything you do! 🙂
MaryJuly 9, 2014 at 10:42 pm
Just made this! Thank you for a great recipe. I really enjoyed. I threw it together with what I had available, but next time I will really doctor it up and freeze some to eat later. Great recipe.
GregJune 26, 2016 at 12:03 am
This dish is not hard to make, and it is surprisingly good and healthy, too. Was not expecting it to be this tasty. But just thought I would try something “vegan” for a change. (No meat, no dairy). Has lots of veggie and bean flavor (oh salsa too). I added fresh chopped spinach to the beans, and fresh corn kernels as another layer (which was recommended). Only 8 Weight Watchers Smart Points per serving.
LeahAugust 2, 2016 at 1:31 pm
Could assemble this the night before and the bake it for dinner the next night? Sounds yummy. Can’t wait to try it!
Susan VoisinAugust 2, 2016 at 1:32 pm
Yes! It’s a great make-ahead dish.
JillJanuary 28, 2017 at 4:54 pm
My friends love this! It’s always such a winner and so easy to throw together.
Jonathan PalaceJune 24, 2017 at 4:55 pm
I added shredded ‘Mexican’ cheese blend . Very tasty.
Lisa HarlowJuly 24, 2017 at 1:19 am
This is really delicious. How many servings does this recipe make? Im counting calories, and couldn’t find that.
Susan VoisinJuly 24, 2017 at 8:18 am
Sorry! It makes 8 servings. I’m glad you liked it.
MarySeptember 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm
cooking now….CAN YOU FREEZE? thaanks 🙂
Sarah KateNovember 10, 2017 at 2:45 pm
Thank you for another incredible recipe! I was thinking about making one of my favs, the spaghetti squash lasagna, when this caught my eye. So, so good!! I shredded Julie and Kittee’s smoked “cheddar” on top which gave it a nice smoky dimension. Adding this to the regular rotation!
EmilyNovember 29, 2017 at 11:05 am
Hi Susan! Thanks for another great recipe! I want to make this in advance for the holiday. How would you recommend I store it and reheat it so that I can reheat it the day of Christmas? Thank you so so much!
Susan VoisinNovember 29, 2017 at 4:09 pm
I think you should just cover it tightly and reheat it gently, covered, in an oven–about 350F. Or you could use a microwave. Merry Christmas!
DianeNovember 5, 2018 at 7:42 pm
I have made this casserole for years, even back when a layer of taco seasoned ground beef or chicken would be one of the layers. I found that using no oil tostadas works wonderfully well to keep the corn tortillas from softening too much. I love this casserole and some version of it is my go to for non vegans. I put my silicone mat on the bottom for no oil and it is naturally gluten free. Some times I put layers of spanish rice, tri color beans or even non dairy cheese stuffed green chiles. .in the mix.
KathrynMay 12, 2019 at 7:33 pm
I am waiting for this to come out of the oven, smells delicious! Mine did not cook in 30 minutes, it’s been in for 45 and is barely warm in the center? I followed the recipe exactly, so not sure why.
GregJuly 13, 2019 at 7:36 pm
Made this tonight for my wife and me. Both of us agree that this was fantastic. I’ve pinned it and it will be a favorite of ours. Will try your corn suggestion next time. I also meant to add some fresh cilantro but forgot. I’m also going to try adding some meatless Chorizo from No Evil Foods. Regardless, GREAT recipe! Thanks!
JaimeJanuary 14, 2020 at 5:47 pm
Absolutely LOVE this recipe. Only one tiny problem that I’ve had. The prep time of 15 minutes is overly ambitious and seemingly impossible. I am not the fastest prepper in the world, but I’m definitely not grandma speed, either. By the time you chop both peppers, the onion, the jalapeno, heat a skillet, saute the veggies, open 6 cans, drain and rinse 2 of them, or 7 if you’re using the olives, heat the refried beans and mix with salsa, then layer all 2 times in a dish, it is way more time than 15 mins. 30 minutes would definitely be more accurate. I can’t wait to make this again, but will definitely need to make sure I’ve got all the time needed.
SusanApril 13, 2020 at 6:21 pm
So delicious – and the leftovers the following day were even better! Being ‘Secure at Home’ during the pandemic has provided me lots of time to try new recipes. The entire family loved this. I served it with quinoa and a kale salad. I am already looking forward to enjoying it again. Thank you again Susan – your recipes NEVER fail to impress!!!!
Nancy WebbJuly 8, 2020 at 6:59 pm
Which Corn Tortillas do you use?
Susan VoisinJuly 8, 2020 at 7:39 pm
I use whatever brand is available so long as the ingredients are basically corn and water.
Anne WeisbeckJuly 11, 2020 at 1:01 pm
I just made a double batch if this and would like to freeze some. Have you frozen it before, and if so (or if not) would you recommend freezing it before or after baking?
Susan VoisinJuly 11, 2020 at 2:25 pm
I freeze it after baking so that all I have to do is defrost and reheat. But I can’t see any reason why it couldn’t be done the other way.
LydiaJuly 15, 2020 at 3:17 am
I made this for the first time last night. It was delicious!
Salette A AndrewsOctober 26, 2020 at 8:25 am
I cut the recipe in half and stack the tortillas whole in a 7-inch Pyrex dish (you could also use a springform pan if you want it to come out really pretty). I then put it in a silicone steamer basket (mostly because the handles make it easy to remove), and put it in the Instant Pot with 2 cups of water. Manual high pressure for 20 minutes.
Susan VoisinOctober 26, 2020 at 10:03 am
What a great idea!