A burrito in a casserole dish

The first casserole I think I've ever liked. In fact, I love it.

The first casserole I think I've ever liked. In fact, I love it. by Sarah Henning

Honestly, I hate casseroles.

I don’t know if it’s the word I don’t like or if I just had a gag reflex to tuna casserole as a child.

No idea.

I just know that most of the time when something is called a “casserole” I immediately get anxious and start trying to figure out which sides I might be able to fill up on instead.

And though even as an adult I still have a weirdness about casserole, I am extremely glad I got over it for a night and tried the following dish: Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole.

The second my hubby took his first bite, he immediately announced it to be possibly his new favorite dinner. And at my first bite, I happily agreed. Even the kiddo tried it and liked it (score).

Crowd pleasing, indeed!

Note: We made ours with leftover basmati rice from India Palace takeout. Starting with pre-cooked rice is definitely a huge time-saver on this one.

Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole

For the Tex-Mex spice blend:

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika or 1/2 teaspoon regular paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more as needed

1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)

For the casserole:

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeño, seeded, if desired, and diced

Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices

1 cup tomato sauce or tomato puree

2 to 3 cups chopped kale leaves or baby spinach

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

3 cups cooked wild rice blend or brown rice

1/2 cup vegan shredded cheese such as Daiya (If you aren’t into fake cheese, just use Colby-Jack or omit it all together)

1 to 2 handfuls corn tortilla chips, crushed

Optional toppings:

Sliced green onions

Salsa

Avocado

Corn chips

Sour cream (regular or non-dairy)

Make the Tex-Mex spice blend: In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and coriander (if using). Set aside.

Make the casserole: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Oil a large (4 to 5 quart) casserole dish.

In a large wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers and jalapeño and saute for 7 to 8 minutes, until softened. Season with salt and black pepper.

Stir in the Tex-Mex spice blend, corn, diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, kale/spinach, beans, rice and 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Saute for a few minutes and season with more salt and black pepper, if desired.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the crushed chips over the casserole mixture along with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Uncover the casserole dish and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, until bubbly and lightly golden around the edges.

Scoop the casserole into bowls and add your desired toppings. Serves 6.

— Recipe from “The Oh She Glows Cookbook” by Angela Liddon

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