Vegan Tortilla Casserole

 

Vegan Tortilla Casserole

Confession – I don’t only read vegan blogs. I’m often inspired looking at blogs that feature food I wouldn’t eat. One of my favorite non-vegan blogs is Pinch of Yum. It is beautifully written and photographed by Lindsay Ostrom. Her food looks delicious and the recipes include plenty of spices to get my creative juices flowing. She recently published a recipe for a vegetarian tortilla casserole. She actually uses tofu in her filling, so you can see why I like her! I set out to make a vegan tortilla casserole after seeing her post. Mine is made with black beans, green chiles, homemade enchilada sauce and vegan cheese.

Vegan Tortilla Casserole

The homemade enchilada sauce recipe is simple and can be made in just a few minutes in the blender. The recipe makes 4 cups and you will only use 2-3 cups in your casserole. I’ll be showing you a recipe for vegan beef and cheese burritos soon where you can use any leftover sauce. This recipe is delicious with homemade enchilada sauce, but I have also made it with canned sauce. I like the Hatch brand and the Frontera brand.

Vegan Tortilla Casserole

One thing I did not change from Lindsay’s original recipe was to cover it with her Magic Green Sauce. This sauce is everything I love – spicy and tangy with a bit of texture. We have used it in falafel bowls and sandwiches, as well as on tofu. If you like herby sauces with a kick be sure to try this sauce drizzled over the casserole. It is magic!

Vegan Tortilla Casserole

The casserole is great to make ahead and doubles really well for a large group. The leftovers are also delicious.

What are your favorite food blogs? I’m always looking for new recipes and inspiration.

Vegan Tortilla Casserole
 
Spicy, soul soothing black bean vegan tortilla casserole. Delicious right out of the oven and equally tasty for lunch the next day.
Ingredients
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 TB garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilies
  • 2 15.5 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz vegan cheese shreds
  • 3 cups enchilada sauce - homemade or store-bought
  • Black olives (optional - for topping)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, salt and diced green chilis. Stir to combine and then add in black beans. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  4. In greased casserole dish spread ¼ cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish. Layer pan with 4 tortillas. Take half of the bean mixture and spread over the tortillas. Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese over beans. Pour 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the cheese. Now repeat process - layer 4 tortillas, top with remaining bean mixture, ½ cup cheese and 1 cup of enchilada sauce.
  5. For final layer top with remaining 4 tortillas. Pour the remaining cup of enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with black olives if desired.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and wait 5 minutes before serving.

Enchilada Sauce
 
Easy, spicy enchilada sauce made in your blender.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups tomato sauce - make sure no salt is added
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 TB garlic
  • 3 TB chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional - leave out for a milder sauce)
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded if you want the sauce less spicy)
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 TB tamari
  • 1 TB agave
Instructions
  1. Add everything to your blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

 

Meatless Monday: Spicy Vegan Fajitas

Vegan FajitasWhen I was about Trey’s age my family moved to Dallas. In addition to the major culture shock (who knew 8 year old’s carried a purse!?!) we were introduced to Tex-Mex. My favorite Tex-Mex dish was fajitas. I loved the sizzling platter of food that arrived at the table and how you got to assemble each fajita on your own. Like most kids getting to add just the right amount of toppings for myself was ideal. I am always looking for easy weeknight meals that take less than 30 minutes to make, and vegan fajitas fit that bill. This Meatless Monday meal is a spicy, satisfying and quick meal for your family.

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Homemade Salsa

Homemade-Salsa-Labeled

Last week on my way to the Farmer’s Market I was dreaming of chips and salsa. I love good Mexican food and unfortunately we don’t have any great Mexican restaurants near us. Since I had Mexican food on the brain I decided to use the fresh tomatoes and peppers from the market to make homemade salsa. This is a delicious, smooth salsa that can be adjusted to your preferences. We have been using it in quesadillas and dipping chips in straightaway all week.

Homemade Salsa

I bought 3 pounds of beefsteak tomatoes at the farmers market. This is not the place to use heirloom tomatoes. Roma or beefsteak tomatoes work really well here. The first step is to seed your tomatoes. In my experience if you don’t remove the seeds your salsa will end up being very watery.

Homemade Salsa

I like smooth salsa, as does Trey, so I let the food processor do the work in this recipe. I added all of the ingredients to the food processor and pulsed it until it was the right texture. Then the real fun began…taste testing. This recipe, and most salsa recipes, are just a methodology. How much salt and acidity you need will really depend on the sweetness of your tomatoes and the spiciness of your peppers. You need to taste the salsa and adjust accordingly.

Homemade Salsa

I love the taste and texture of my salsa, especially after it has been in the refrigerator overnight. This gives all the flavors a chance to marry. Try making homemade salsa yourself this summer. It will be a perfect addition to your tacos, quesadillas and breakfast burritos.

Homemade Salsa

Homemade Salsa
 
Restaurant style smooth, spicy salsa. Delicious on its own with chips or added to tacos, quesadillas and burritos. Adjust the seasonings to your preferences.
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds Fresh Tomatoes, seeded
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 small Red Onion, diced
  • 2 Jalapeños, see note
  • ½ cup Cilantro, stemmed
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients to your food processor. Pulse until your ideal texture has been reached. Taste for seasoning. Adjust salt and lime juice to your preference. Serve!
Notes
Seed your jalapeños for a milder salsa. Leave some seeds and ribs for a spicier salsa.

 

The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast Burrito

“This would be good in a burrito” is one of my husband, Harrison’s, ultimate compliments.  The guy LOVES his burritos.  For years he took Trey to San Francisco for “Dadurday”.  Every Saturday they took BART to the Mission and had burritos at his favorite spot, Pancho Villa.  Sometimes he gets 2 burritos – one for lunch and one for dinner. A friend of his asked me once, “Doesn’t he ever get tired of burritos?”.  The answer is most definitely, “No!”. To say Harrison was excited when he saw we were having burritos for dinner last week is an understatement.  He hasn’t been to San Francisco in awhile and needed a burrito fix. These Vegan Breakfast Burritos hit the spot.

Vegan Breakfast Burritos 2

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Vegan Quesadillas to save your meal plan

The vegan quesadilla has been saving my meal planning lately. I grew up with my mom planning out a week’s worth of meals and she made those meals each night as planned.  No food wasted, no questions asked.  I plan out my meals just the way she did, but inevitably something comes up 1-2 nights a week that throws the whole thing off.  I need at least one meal that is fast, easy and the whole family will eat.  The vegan quesadilla has become my savior.  I keep all of the ingredients on hand.  I add 1 “free” night to my meal plan where I don’t plan anything.  I know that I can make these if needed.  It is easy to customize to everyone’s preferences and is ready in less than 20 minutes.  I can also make them ahead if Trey has a game or a late practice.  He can inhale them in the car either before or after.

Vegan Quesadilla Group

Last night was definitely a vegan quesadilla night.  I was exhausted and everyone was starving.  The first thing I did was cook a package of Beyond Meat Feisty Crumble.  It adds a lot of flavor to the quesadillas and makes them hearty enough for Harrison.  While that was cooking I made black beans using the method for my Black Bean Tostadas. Last week I used the Pacific Foods Refried Black Beans I bought at Target for the quesadillas.  That is definitely the way to go since the whole idea is to make this meal easy and streamlined.  I’ll be stocking up on those for my pantry!

Vegan Quesadilla

Once the “beef” (or “meatish” as Trey calls Beyond Meat) was cooked and the beans were ready I started to assemble and cook.  I take flour tortillas from Trader Joe’s and spread each one with Earth Balance while I heat up my cast iron skillet.  Each of us likes different fillings.  Harrison’s started with a layer of black beans, then Papalote Salsa (available at Whole Foods), then Daiya cheddar shreds, the Beyond Meat and finally sliced avocado.  I cooked the quesadilla on the first side for 4-5 minutes and then flipped it over and cooked it for another 3 minutes until crisp.  Harrison likes his quesadillas topped with Tofutti sour cream and pickled jalapeños.

Vegan Quesadilla 2

I cooked Trey’s, decidedly more plain, quesadilla at the same time Harrison’s was cooking.  All Trey wanted in his quesadilla was black beans, salsa and cheese.  He did top his with sour cream and pickled jalapeños after we sat down.  The kid loves his spice!  He also loves to take these quesadillas to school for lunch.  I am a big fan of cooking lunch and dinner at the same time.

Vegan Quesadilla 3

I made my quesadilla on the panini press to save time.  That let all 3 of our quesadillas cook at the same time.  This panini move was a mistake though.  It makes the quesadillas too flat and gives them a weird texture.  I filled mine with beans, salsa, cheese and  sliced sweet potato that I had left over from earlier in the week.  Aside from my panini error the flavors were good.  Next time I’ll be adding the Beyond Meat to mine as well.

These quesadillas would be awesome for Cinco de Mayo next week…with margaritas of course!

Quick Black Bean Tostadas

Quick meals are a staple of a busy life.  Even before Trey arrived I liked to have a few meals planned for the week that took less than 30 minutes to get on the table.  Once he arrived it felt like all meals needed to be quick!  Over the years I have built up my repertoire of quick vegan meals.  Which is a good thing because now that we have added sports practices and homework to our plate, weeknight meals have to be fast and easy.  I came across a recipe for tostadas in our newspaper awhile ago and decided that a veganized version would make a filling, flavorful and fast meal.  The tostadas start with a crispy tortilla spread with black beans and topped with a salad tossed with a refreshing lime dressing.

TostadaThe newspaper recipe showed me how to create the crispy tortilla base in the oven with just a little oil.  In my case I use canola oil spray.  Once you spray the tortillas with canola oil on the top they go in the oven for 12-15 minutes and come out nice and crispy.  Make sure they are very crispy when they come out of the oven.  They don’t get any crispier as they cool, so if they are a bit flexible when they come out of the oven they will not be completely crispy when it is time to serve.

TortillasWhile the tortillas bake I work on making the black bean base.  The base is a mix of canned black beans, salsa and a bit of water.  For this recipe I used the Hatch Valley Salsa from Trader Joe’s.  We are loving this salsa these days.  It is very spicy and I love that it is shelf stable.  I buy a few jars at a time and store them in the pantry.

TJ SalsaI take 1/2 cup of the salsa and add it to a small pan with a can of drained black beans and 1/4 cup of water. The beans cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Beans before cookingAfter cooking for 10 minutes the beans are very soft and the salsa has cooked down a bit.  At this point you can smash the beans down to whatever texture you like with a spatula or wooden spoon.  In my case I like them to have some texture, but be spreadable.  You will be spreading them on top of the crisp tortillas so you don’t want the individual beans rolling around.

Cooked BeansWhile the beans and tortilla are cooking you can get the salad ready.  I place thinly sliced romaine hearts, sliced onions and minced cilantro in a large bowl.  The dressing is just lime juice, olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper.

Salad ToppingOnce the salad is tossed it is time to assemble the tostada.  Spread the black beans on the crisp tortillas.  Top each tortilla with salad and sliced avocados.  Of course skip the avocado for anyone who is an avocado hater, like my son Trey.  We also top ours with Tabasco, vegan sour cream and pickled jalapenos.

Tostada DInner

What are your favorite family-friendly, quick weeknight meals?

Quick Black Bean Tostadas
 
A quick, weeknight meal full of flavor that your whole family will love. The crispy tortilla, warm black beans and fresh salad are a delicious combination.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 10 Corn Tortillas
  • ½ Tablespoon of Canola Oil or spray oil
  • 1 Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ Cup Salsa (use your favorite)
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • 4 Cups sliced Romaine Hearts (or your favorite crisp lettuce)
  • ¼ Cup Sliced Onions
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, minced
  • Dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Agave Nectar
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  • Optional Toppings
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Vegan Sour Cream
  • Pickled Jalapenos
  • Hot Sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spread tortillas on 2 large baking sheets. Brush the top of each tortilla with olive oil (or spray the top with canola oil). Bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp.
  3. Add black beans, salsa, and water to a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and lower heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. While the beans and tortillas are cooking, assemble the salad. Start by making the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake it until they are well combined.
  5. Place the lettuce, onions, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add half to ¾ of the dressing and toss. Add more dressing according to how much dressing you like on your salad.
  6. After the beans have cooked for 10 minutes they should be very soft. Remove the pan from the heat and use a wooden spoon or spatula to smash the beans. Smash the beans until they reach a spreadable consistency, but still have some texture.
  7. To assemble the tostadas spread smashed black beans on a crispy tortilla. Top with salad. Add any additional toppings you are using on top of the salad. Serve.
Notes
Double the recipe for a larger family.

For leftovers double the beans, crisp tortillas and dressing. This makes a quick and easy lunch. All you will need to do is make the salad, warm the beans, and assemble.