Creating an Easy, Plant-Based Enchilada Mexican Casserole
Enchiladas are a traditional Mexican dish. They involve corn tortillas wrapped around a stuffing and covered in sauce. The filling can be meat, cheese, or vegetables. The sauce is usually either Roja, a red sauce made from red chili peppers, or Verde, a green sauce using tomatillos. This is a delicious, authentic dish. Yet, I wanted to create something that would be easy, simple, and could hold up well for a few days. I decided to transform these Enchiladas Rojas into a healthy, plant-based Mexican casserole.
The Essentials of Authentic Mexican Enchiladas Rojas
Most American versions of enchiladas are covered in cheese and sour cream. However, in Mexico, this style of enchilada is called “Enchiladas Suiza” which means Enchiladas in the Swiss style. Cheese may or may not come on your authentic Mexican enchilada. It depends on the region of the country in which you’re eating.
Turning Enchiladas into a Plant-Based Casserole
I love the flavors of traditional Enchiladas Rojas, however, the dish doesn’t hold up well. Tortillas tend to break apart after heating and dipping in chili sauce. My goal with this casserole was to honor the traditional flavors of Enchiladas Rojas. Yet, I also wanted to create something healthy, plant-based, that would hold well if made in advance.
I kept the essentials of the original recipe:
- Red Enchilada Sauce: This version uses the convenience and delicious flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes as the base. You get to skip the step of charring your own tomatoes. Paired with ancho chili, garlic, a few key Mexican spices, and a splash of vinegar, you get authentic flavor in a few short minutes.
- Corn Tortillas: Again, this is essential to authentic Mexican enchiladas. While some parts of northern Mexico use flour tortillas, corn dominates through most of the country. Choosing a high-quality corn tortilla means fewer ingredients. All you need are corn, lime, and salt.
- Plant-Based Filling: For the enchilada casserole filling, I wanted something hearty, satisfying, and typical of Mexican cuisine. Black beans, corn, peppers, and onions create the base. However, you could also use pinto beans, zucchini, or mushrooms. All of these ingredients are common in Mexican cooking.
That’s it! Once you have the basic components, you layer it together into a hearty, satisfying casserole. This recipe is:
- Hearty and Satisfying
- Full of Mexican Flavor
- Great for Batch Cooking
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I think you will love how it brings the flavors of Mexico to your kitchen in a healthy, plant-based, approachable way.
Chef Katie’s Healthy Eating Tips for Easy Red Enchilada Black Bean Mexican Casserole:
Extra Sauce: Make a double-batch of the sauce and keep it
Gluten-Free: Corn, black beans, and corn tortillas are naturally
Mexican Oregano: This type of oregano is grown in Mexico. Though it is related to Greek oregano, it has a more earthy flavor (and a bit less leathery). It is traditional to Mexican cooking. If you can’t find it, substitute with Marjoram or regular Greek oregano.
Freezer-Friendly: This casserole is incredibly freezer-friendly. Make a double-batch. Assemble the casserole, then tightly wrap in foil. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge. Keep wrapped in foil and bake at 375F for 40 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Single and Smaller Portions: For smaller portions of this recipe, use a smaller pan. Mini loaf pans and regular loaf pans work great if you’re feeding less people. The mini loaf pans work best for single-serving sizes. Use regular loaf pans for 2-3 servings.
Watch this Cooking Video to Learn More:
Easy Red Enchilada Black Bean Mexican Casserol
- Servings: 6
- Ready in: 1 hour
- Yield: one 8×8 or 9×9 square casserole
Easy Red Enchilada Black Bean Mexican Casserole
For the Black Bean Mexican Casserole Filling:
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Easy Red Enchilada Sauce:
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 dried Ancho chili seeds and stems removed
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoons red cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 10 tortillas 4 whole and 4 cut in half and 2 cut into quarters
- Preheat your oven to 375Line an 8×8 or 9×9 square baking dish with parchment paper or foil.
- To make the Black Bean Mexican Casserole Filling: In a wide saute pan, saute the onion and green bell pepper until starting to brown, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder and saute until aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Add the corn and black beans. Cook 3 more minutes, until everything is hot and the flavors come together. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. While the onions and green bell peppers saute, you can make the Easy Red Enchilada Sauce.
- To make the Easy Red Enchilada Sauce: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour ½ cup of the red enchilada sauce into the Black Bean Casserole Filling. Stir to combine.
- To assemble and bake the Easy Red Enchilada Black Bean Mexican Casserole: Spread ¼ cup of the Red Enchilada Sauce onto the bottom of your pre-lined baking dish. Place one layer of the tortillas on top. Use the quartered tortillas to cover the corners of the dish. Try not to overlap the tortillas too much. Spread 1/3 of the Black Bean Casserole Filling on top of the tortillas. Repeat with another layer of tortillas, the filling, the tortillas, and the filling. Use up all of the filling. Your top layer should be tortillas. Pour on the remaining Red Enchilada Sauce.
- Cover the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro or avocado and serve!
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 3 g||4 %|
|Saturated Fat 0 g||0 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 607 mg||25 %|
|Potassium 611 mg||17 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 44 g||15 %|
|Dietary Fiber 10 g||42 %|
|Sugars 7 g|
|Protein 8 g||17 %|
|Vitamin A||17 %|
|Vitamin C||83 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|