Monday, January 31, 2011

Mexican casserole

Vegan potluck. For omnivores. Bonus: It's gluten free, too!

~12 corn tortillas
1 bigass can of vegetarian refried beans (or two normal-sized ones)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 anaheim pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, cut into rounds, then quarter slices
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 butternut squash, chopped (or 1 bag of frozen chunks)
1-3 cups of spinach, depending on how much you like
1 can of tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
1 small can of fire-roasted chopped chiles
1 tsp of vinegar
chile powder

Make this in a big lasagna pan. Think of it like a Mexican lasagna comfort food, but instead of pasta you have corn tortillas. I folded mine and broke them in half to make them easier to fit (flat edges to line up).

I did one layer of tortillas, then topped with a layer of refried beans. Sprinkled the beans lightly with chile powder.

Next layer of tortillas... Top with fajita veggies. I cooked the green and anaheim peppers, the onions, and the zucchini over high heat in a pan until the onions just got a tinge of crisp brown, like a sizzlin' fajita. Spread these evenly over the tortillas.

Next layer of tortillas... First, spread a thin layer of sauce-- can of tomato paste, water, vinegar, canned chiles, chile powder, salsa-- over the tortillas. Top with squash and spinach mixture. I used a bag of frozen squash hunks from the grocery store (so easy) and about six handfuls of spinach. I put the squash and three handfuls with garlic, chile powder, and cumin in a bowl, then microwaved for a minute and half. Stirred, added the rest of the spinach. Nuked for another minute and a half. Stirred. Smooshed the squash. Added some salt and pepper. Dropped clumps of the mix onto the layer of tortillas and spread it around.

Next layer of tortillas. Now mix the remaining beans and remaining sauce together to make a nice thick tomato-y bean-y sauce. Spread over the top of the last layer of tortillas. If you're feeling exciting, add thin slivers of onion or something else vegetal to decorate. (Frozen corn could work.)

Cover your masterpiece with tin foil. You can let it sit like this for hours. (Good for make-ahead!) If you don't have enough room in your fridge because you used a giant lasagna pan and have all sorts of other crap in your fridge, don't fret-- IT'S VEGAN. You're not going to get food poisoning from leaving it out on a cool counter for a few hours. (If it's going to be more than that, make room in the fridge. You should probably clean out your fridge anyway, right?)

Before you serve, cook covered for about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

For fancy-schmanciness, you can top with slivers of avocado and a sprinkling of cilantro when you serve. If, like me, you get to the party and forget that you have an avocado in your purse, just relax, enjoy the night, and remember to take the avocado out of your purse when you get home.

I wish I'd taken a picture of this. And the "yum" faces as people tried it. Even non-vegans went back for seconds at our party.

(If you're not vegan, this would probably be awesome with the lightest sprinkle of cheddar or cojito cheese. But save yourself money and hassle-- just skip the cheese.)


Gracey said...

Okay, I am NOT a vegan or even a vegetarian, but this sounds soooo good. I'm also not a cook (at all), but I'm thinking I need to try this. It sounds delicious. (And I think it's hilarious that it calls for a big ass can of refried beans).

TSquared said...

Gracey, let me know when you try it! It serves a crowd, and even freezes pretty well. In my mind, that's perfect party food. (Oh, and it goes well with beer or wine, too.)
Thanks for reading and cooking with me.