Happy New Year, friends! I hope you’ve had the happiest of holidays! If you’re struggling with some post-December blues (you’re not alone) or you’re just procrastinating packing up the holiday decorations (again, you’re not alone), I feel like some Mexican inspired food will be a welcome distraction.
Enter Mexican Quinoa Casserole!
I mean, you love Mexican food, right? Of course you do. Because who doesn’t?! Honestly.
This casserole is pretty much all my favorite Mexican dishes in one convenient (s)pot – it’s like tacos, beans & rice, and tortilla soup all mixed into one really easy, filling, and satisfying casserole. Let’s get to it, shall we?
This one’s meatless, so if you do Meatless Mondays or are just trying to include more vegetables and healthy grains in your every day eats, this recipe is a great choice. By the way, I totally encourage you to try Meatless Monday if you never have! January is a great time to try it out..you know, when you need to up the healthy factor after an indulgent holiday season. Um, I might just be talking to myself here. Anyway, you can read up on all the awesome benefits of going meatless one (or two, or three, or however many you wish!) nights a week right here.
I came across a recipe for a similar casserole in the December/January issue of AllRecipes magazine that included a beef filling. Now, I enjoy a decent beef taco filling as much as the next gal, but been there, done that..ya know? I’m always on the lookout for new plant-based recipes and figured this would be an easy one to veggi-fy. Turns out, I was right!
I promise you don’t need & won’t miss meat here! Quinoa & beans – the plant-based protein powerhouses – are sautéed with lots of veggies. We’re talking sautéed onion and tomatoes and bell pepper and corn and kale. Yes, kale! Get pumped!
The filling gets layered in a casserole dish with corn tortillas. I recommend using corn over flour tortillas because 1. I prefer the taste and 2. they seem to hold up better & not get soggy/fall apart from the wet ingredients. And then everything gets topped with a healthy dose of sharp cheddar. I like my casseroles gooey, y’all. (Vegan option – leave out the cheese or use your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese alternative.)
The leftovers still taste awesome re-heated and that’s a good thing because this casserole feeds a crowd! Or, you know, just me for days on end. Whatever you do, be sure to top your scoop (or 10) of Mexican Quinoa Casserole with some sliced avocado and/or a dollop of sour cream. If you’re feeling fancy, go on and add a sprinkle of something green – cilantro or green onions would work here, but because I’m a forgetful grocery shopper, I used chopped parsley. So. Dang. Good.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 15-oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles (such as Rotel)
- 1 4.5 oz can green chiles
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 5 lacianto kale leaves, destemmed & chopped (approx. 2 cups)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8-10 6-inch corn tortillas
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- chopped cilantro/parsley/green onions, avocado/sour cream for topping, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, cook quinoa according to package directions.
- While quinoa cooks, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions and pepper 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, beans, tomatoes sauce, diced tomatoes, chiles, corn, and seasonings. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
- Stir in quinoa & kale to bean & vegetable mixture.
- In a 9×13 baking dish, spread a third of the bean & quinoa mixture. Top with corn tortillas, overlapping if needed to cover. Layer another third of the mixture, top with another layer of tortillas. Top casserole with remaining third of bean & quinoa mixture and shredded cheese, respectively.