There’s something so nice about dinner baking in the oven while you’re free to do other things. There’s also something really nice about a lasagna that doesn’t involve the whole cooking the pasta first thing.
Maybe I’m having a lazy-feeling week?
But seriously, who doesn’t like Mexican (inspired) food?
Especially when it's this easy!
This tasty Easy Cheesy Mexican Lasagna is an ideal entry level type of vegan entrée for those that fear giving up cheese. This was a big topic with one woman I worked with this week – and I remember my own doubts that I could live – happily – without cheese. Spoiler alert: I could and I do!
Vegan cheese substitutes have gotten SO much better in recent years. In this recipe we use just 4 ounces of shredded vegan cheese to give our lasagna that cheese-appeal. (I like Daiya brand pepperjack shreds.) Unlike animal cheese, this is cholesterol-free. Bonus
Check out the first five layers: first-roasted tomatoes, tortillas, seasoned pinto beans, sautéed zucchini and onions and a sprinkle of vegan cheese...
Then we repeat the layers and top with tortillas, salsa and the last sprinkle of cheese before popping it in the oven...
This is a hearty and comforting dish for a crowd! Pair it with a nice salad and you have a complete meal.
Or dinner AND leftovers for another day.
Who doesn’t like to cook one dinner and get TWO?
NOTE: If you're having company or just want to make it in advance, the lasagna may be completely assembled ahead of time. Just refrigerate it and then bake in the oven right before serving...
1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 lb zucchini or yellow squash (or combination of both), grated
pinch of sea salt
2 - 15oz cans of pinto beans or black beans, drained
1 TB chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp raw cocao or cocoa powder (unsweetened, not cocoa mix!)
28oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
6-9 corn or flour tortillas (corn for gluten-free)
4oz shredded vegan cheese (I like Daiya brand pepperjack)
1 cup salsa
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Brush ½ tsp of the olive oil on the bottom and sides of a 9x13” dish. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the other ½ tsp of olive oil and cook the onion, zucchini and a pinch of sea salt until the onion is translucent and the zucchini has softened and released some of its moisture. (This will prevent the lasagna from being watery!)
In a bowl, gently mix together the beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano and cocoa powder until the beans are coated.
Now you are ready to layer your lasagna!
Do it in this order:
1/3 of the fire-roasted tomatoes
2-3 tortillas (depending on their size, you want to cover most of the bottom on the dish)
½ the bean mixture
½ the zucchini and onions
1/3 of the cheese
Repeat. Then top with the last of the tomatoes, the last 2-3 tortillas, the salsa and the last 1/3 of the cheese. Cover with parchment and foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncovering for the last 5 minutes if you’d like a crispy top. (I love it this way, but my kids do not, so I keep it covered even if I don’t understand it!)
Take out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
Leftovers maybe to reheated in the microwave or by going back in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Somebody had to give it a try... (It's called taste testing!)