posted by on Cheese, Dinner, Mexican, Protein, Vegetarian, Vegging In

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After a string of dinners out and simple meals at home (a.k.a. veggie burger and whole wheat toast), I wanted to make a proper meal, and more importantly, try a new recipe. So it was perfect timing when Cooking Light‘s “Best of Fast and Healthy Meals in 30 Minutes or Less” special issue plopped on my desk with a recipe for Mexican casserole.

I adapted the recipe to accommodate my pantry—and my hungry boyfriend—and the results were amazing, thanks mostly to the veggie protein crumble, which you can find at Whole Foods. It’s my new obsession.

What to get:

  • 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 oz) package meatless fat-free crumbles
  • 48 baked tortilla chips (about 1 9 oz. bag)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheese (Monterey Jack is ideal, but I used a three-cheese mixture from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • Salsa to taste

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Heat 3 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and jalapeño; cook 1 minute. Stir in chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and crumbles; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Arrange half of tortilla chips in an 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top evenly with crumbles mixture.

3. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in skillet over medium heat. Add beans, mashing with the back of a wooden spoon until chunky and thick; cook 2 minutes or until heated, stirring constantly. Stir in lime juice.

4. Combine tomato, cilantro, and salt. Layer beans and tomato mixture over crumbles mixture in dish. Top with remaining tortilla chips, pressing to slightly crush. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 375°F for 13 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Cut casserole into 8 equal pieces; top each serving with 1 teaspoon green onions, a few slices of avocado and salsa.

Serves 4-6

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