I’m a picky eater. An obnoxiously picky eater. I don’t like fruits and vegetables. I’ve tried, but I just don’t like them. I like carbs and cheese. It’s how I’m built. Trust me when I say that I’ve actually expanded the things I will eat pretty extensively over the course of my adult life. It’s still fairly limited, though.
My husband, on the other hand, is only moderately picky. He’s also trying to lose weight, which means he gets slightly annoyed when I try to cook carbs and cheese. Lucky for him, I love love love to cook just about anything, whether I’m going to eat it or not. The act of cooking brings me plenty of joy. I don’t have to be the one putting it in my face.
This dish has some carbs and enough cheese to turn your head, but it’s also loaded with veggies, including tomatoes, onions, peppers and corn. There are also black beans, which might be a super food. Let’s say they are. They taste super, so even if they’re not as healthy as I would like to believe, they’re still awesome. And with fall finally starting to make its presence known in the form of more rain and afternoon highs in the low 80’s, layers of baked carbs, cheese, and veggies seem like exactly the right thing to do.
Since this dish is vegetarian, you can make it fairly inexpensively. I had to buy nearly every ingredient for this dish, and I spent less than $20. And this makes eight servings. My husband will be eating this for lunch and dinner for the next four days.
If you wanted to make this vegan, it could probably be done by using vegan cheese. You might need to check the labels on your beans and tortillas. I’m not an expert on this, but I think it’s totally feasible to adapt this recipe to be completely free of animal products, if that’s your thing.
Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the ones you love. While my husband is eating and loving Mexican lasagna, I’ll probably be eating blue box mac and cheese. It’s a rough life. Eat your veggies, kids!
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 bell pepper, whichever color is on sale
- 2 serrano peppers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes with peppers (any combination of 2 cans of tomatoes will do)
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can whole kernel corn
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 whole wheat tortillas
- Preheat your oven to 400 and find your deepest round baking dish, 9 or 10 inches in diameter, at least 2-1/2 inches deep.
- Smash your garlic clove with the flat side of your knife and peel the skin off. Toss the whole clove into a skillet with your olive oil and heat over medium. Don't forget to pull this out at the end. Chop your onion, and peppers and add them to the pan. Sprinkle them with salt and allow them to cook and soften for about 15 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes, then fill each can about 1/4 of the way up with water. Swirl it around to get the tomatoey goodness off the side of the can, then add the water to the pan. Squeeze in the ketchup and allow it all to simmer together for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, assemble your filling by mixing together black beans, corn, and most of the cheese. Hold a bit back for the very top.
- Now it's time to assemble. Start with a few spoonfuls of sauce spread around the bottom of your pan, then lay down two tortillas, overlapping Venn diagram style. Next, add a third of the filling, and some more sauce. Repeat this two more times.
- Lay down tortillas 7 and 8 on the top. Spread the last of your sauce over these, then top the whole thing with some extra shredded cheddar.
- Bake this in the oven for 30 minutes. You will probably want to put a baking sheet underneath your pan to catch any drips.
- When the time is up, let your dish hang out for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. Slice into wedges like a pie and serve it to your veggie loving friends and family.