While a lot of tortilla dishes are meat-based there are also plenty of options for non-meat eaters. So, why not show off with this tortilla casserole the next time you entertain?
Why a tortilla casserole anyway?
Tortilla casseroles are, quite simply, delicious. Not only do you get all the really good deliciousness of all the ingredients inside, but it’s also far less messy to eat than a traditional enchilada. This is because instead of all your tasty ingredients being wrapped up, they’re laid out in a dish. No food ending up on the floor, or all over your hands with this one.
Plus it is FULL of some of the most delicious ingredients: black beans (rinsed and drained), olive oil, sour cream, trader joe’s cheese (2 cups, which makes us very excited) and corn tortillas. You’ be happy to hear that you can also change the whole thing up and make it totally vegan if you want to.
Is this recipe easy to make?
It’s even easier than that. It’s so easy, you’re not just going to like it, you’re going to love it. With a prep time of roughly 2o minutes, a cook time of 45 minutes, your total time is only approximately 45 minutes. So, we completely rate this recipe as a simple and tasty way of showing off your culinary skills, even if you’re making it for the first time.
How to make a vegetarian tortilla casserole
We’ve put together a recipe that uses minimal ingredients to keep things quick and easy. Remember, you can always substitute these ingredients for other things. You can also add to this recipe as you get more comfortable with it. Keep reading to see our suggestions for additions and substitutions.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 c diced green or red onion
2 tsp minced garlic (about four cloves)
8 oz fresh spinach
12-14 oz bag frozen corn
Can of black beans, rinsed and drained
16 oz jar salsa or enchilada sauce
1/2 c sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
12 medium flour tortillas (you can use corn tortillas but then you’ll need more of them). You can also make your own flour or corn tortillas with this handy tortilla press, which we love.
2 c cheddar, jack, or Mexican-style cheese (2 cups shredded)
- Before you do anything, make sure to preheat your oven to 350ºF. Also prepare a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Put a pot on the stove and either boil or steam your frozen corn to get it to thaw.
- While your corn is cooking, chop up your onion and garlic.
- On a second stove plate, pour your olive oil into a pan or skillet and bring this plate to medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3 mins and then add the garlic and spinach, stirring as you do. Saute over medium heat. You’ll know it’s done when the spinach has wilted. Stir occasionally.
- Drain & rinse the beans.
- Once the corn has thawed, add it to the skillet with your onion, garlic, and spinach mixture. Then add all the sour cream or Greek yogurt and 1 1/2 c of the salsa or enchilada sauce.
- Stir up this mixture until everything is combined and your sour cream has completely melted into it, and then turn off the heat.
- You’ll still have the remaining salsa /enchilada sauce(1/2 c) so pour this into your baking dish. Spread it using the back of the spoon so that it covers the bottom entirely.
- Now you can line your baking dish with 3 of the tortillas. Tear the third one in half and line it along the sides.
- Top your tortillas with the mixture of spinach, beans, and corn. Sprinkle this with 1/2 c of cheese.
- Repeat this, layering your ingredients until you’ve used them all up. Your top layer will be the last three tortillas which you’ll top with cheese.
- Cover your baking dish tightly with foil, and bake the tortilla casserole at 350ºF for 20 mins. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10 mins, until cheese is nicely melted and slightly browned.
How can I make it dairy-free?
If you’re a vegan and you don’t want to make your casserole with cheese, yogurt, and cream there are other options available.
Instead of regular cheese, you can use vegan cheese or you can make your very own vegan cheese sauce at home.
Substitute the yogurt with a vegan alternative. You could also ditch the sour cream and use a thick vegan yogurt instead.
If you’re vegan-curious and you want some more information on how to explore a plant-based diet, you can read this article. And you can also take a look here for more vegan facts and figures.
How can I show off even more with additional ingredients?
Very good question. While this is really enough to get friends and family totally impressed, and completely satisfied, there are amazing changes you can make to this recipe that will add lovely twists.
You can definitely use enchilada sauce instead of salsa. Enchilada sauce is thinner because it’s made with stock or water, and it doesn’t have the same freshness as salsa.
There are a variety of cheeses you can use in a tortilla casserole dish. Monterey jack cheese is a delicious option if you’re looking for a semi-firm washed cheese. We love the jack cheese available at Trader Joe’s. You can even use a combination of cheddar cheese and Monterey jack cheese. The more cheese the better. Of course, if you are a vegan, you can opt to buy an appropriate store-bought version or you use your own homemade cheese.
Herbs and spices
When we made this last we used fresh cilantro and ground cumin to give it a bit of an extra bite, and it was delicious! So, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what you can come up with in the kitchen.
Usually there are a lot of questions emerging about this recipe, especially when it comes to the kinds of tortillas you can use. So, here are some FAQs to help you out the next time you’re making tortilla casserole recipes.
Should I use corn tortillas or the flour variety?
This is really up to you. You can use either option. What you should remember is that if you use corn tortillas you’ll need to use a few more of them than our recipe stipulates.
Can I make my casserole plant-based?
Yes! You absolutely can. As mentioned above, you can swap out all dairy-based ingredients with vegan alternatives like soy- and nut-based yogurts.
How do I stop my casserole from getting soggy?
Excellent question. There’s nothing worse than a soggy tortilla casserole. The best thing to do is to fry your tortillas very briefly before layering them into your tortilla casserole dish. This creates a thin barrier so the salsa or enchilada sauce won’t be entirely soaked up into the tortillas. Delicious!
Can I fry my tortillas before I make my casserole?
Before you even put your tortillas into your casserole baking dish, you can fry them for 3 – 4 minutes. This gives them an amazing and delicious crunchy texture and creates a barrier to the sauce, so they retain their crispness while baking.
What is the prep time for a tortilla casserole?
Putting all your ingredients together to make this delicious recipe can take as little as 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Once you’ve gathered everything together and you’ve prepared it in your pan/skillet there are another 20 minutes to 30 minutes’ cook time. Your minutes total time is around 45 minutes.
How healthy is the recipe?
On its own this tortilla casserole is filled with a good ratio of fats, proteins and carbs. If you want to increase your fats, you can always garnish the casserole with avocado or include nuts in the preparation.
Can I use milk instead of yogurt?
We don’t advise using milk instead of yogurt when you make this recipe because it will ruin the casserole. Yogurt gives this casserole recipe part its tastiness, and also helps to make it thick and creamy. Milk will will make your dish watery and soggy.
The final word on showing off with this vegetarian tortilla casserole
Flour tortillas, corn tortillas, shredded cheese (2 cups of cheese, remember!), olive oil, black beans, salsa (or enchilada sauce), corn. Add some cooking spray, a dish, and a ton of love and you’ve got a delicious meal. Even if this is your first time, it’s bound to be a success. This casserole, vegetarian or vegan, needs 10 minutes to 15 minutes prep time; 20 minutes to 30 minutes cooking time. And it’s delicious every time.