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A piece of vegetarian tortilla casserole on a plate.

Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole


  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 6 to 8
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s a great late-summer, early fall vegetarian entrée. It’s a layering of enchilada sauce, tortillas, sautéed summer vegetables, herbs, and Monterey Jack cheese. It’s an assembly that lends itself well to improvisation — use what you have on hand: mushrooms, Swiss chard, kale, eggplant would all work well here. The key? The homemade enchilada sauce, which takes 15 minutes to make and is so, so tasty.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 2 ears corn, shucked, kernels stripped
  • 1.5 cups cooked black beans, see notes below
  • enchilada sauce
  • 9 to 12 tortillas, see notes below
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan over high heat, add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When it shimmers, immediately add the diced onions and bell peppers. Season with a pinch of salt. Turn heat down to medium. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often to ensure the vegetables are not burning. When the vegetables are soft, add the zucchini, season with a pinch of salt, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, just until the zucchini loses its rawness. Finally, add the corn, season with a pinch of salt, and cook for a minute more. Turn off the heat.
  2. Add the black beans to the skillet and stir to combine. Taste. Season with salt to taste. 
  3. Heat the oven to 425ºF. Coat the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a thin layer of the enchilada sauce (roughly 3/4 cup). Arrange a single layer of tortillas over sauce, trimming edges to fit.
  4. Scatter a handful each of cilantro and scallions over the tortillas. Spoon a layer of the vegetable-bean mixture over top. Sprinkle a layer of cheese over top. Spoon a layer of sauce over top and use the back of a spoon to spread it out. Repeat the layering: tortillas, herbs, veg+beans, cheese, sauce, until you have three (or four if you wish) layers of tortillas. 
  5. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the final layer of tortillas. Scatter a final layer of herbs over top. Add a final layer of cheese. 
  6. Bake enchiladas in the middle or top rack of oven until the cheese topping bubbles and browns in spots, 15-25 minutes. Garnish with more fresh cilantro and scallions if you wish. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Notes

  • Black Beans: This is my favorite way to prepare black beans: Simplest Slow Cooker Black Beans (instructions for using the Instant Pot are included in the recipe.) 
  • Tortillas: I am partial to using flour tortillas but if you prefer using corn tortillas, go for it. When I have a stash of Caramelo tortillas on hand, that is my preference. When I don’t, I look for the tortillas made from a blend of flour and corn (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods) or I make them from scratch (here’s a sourdough version.) If you are using store-bought tortillas, toast them on both sides in a skillet until they begin to lightly brown. 
  • To freeze: Assemble the casserole, stopping after you top the final layer of tortillas with sauce. Cover the dish tightly with a few layers of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw and bake: Bake covered at 375ºF for 20 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle over a layer of scallions, cilantro, and a final layer of cheese.  Increase the heat to 425ºF and bake until the cheese is beginning to blister, about 15 minutes.
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Sauté, Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican, American

Keywords: tortilla, casserole, vegetarian, beans, vegetables, enchilada