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Cook: Vegetable Enchilada Bake

There’s something in my Texas blood that makes me crave spicy Tex-Mex food right after big fod holidays.  The richness of the turkey and gravy and macaroni and cheese, which is always on our family’s table, in my mind necessitates something spicy very soon after.  If you’re like me, this dish is for you.  Or if you just like cheesy, saucy, flavor-packed Tex-Mex then, again, this dish is for you.  Are you vegetarian?  This dish is for you.  It wears a lot of hats.

I love traditional rolled enchiladas, dipped in sauce or oil, filled with cheese or meat, then topped with more sauce and cheese.  I’ll tell you, though, it’s a time suck.  There are multiple steps and dishes to dirty (and then clean).  The weeknight solution to all the steps is a layered enchilada “bake.”  Think lasagna, but with corn tortillas.

Serve with a little sour cream on top, maybe some chopped green onions, and if you wanted to add more cheese I wouldn’t be mad at you.

This casserole has all the flavors of a really great veggie enchilada, but is much simpler.  The vegetables, cut in large chunks, really hold their own against the sauce and cheese so you know what you’re eating.

And here’s the secret about the potatoes: their starchy goodness gives the impression, even to a meat eater, that they’re eating meat.  Sure, it doesn’t taste like beef, but the feeling (read: the need to lay flat after consumption) is the same.

I hope you all had a stress-free holiday and are gearing up for the New Year.  Maybe you’re thinking about making resolutions that involve more veggies and less meat, and if so, this could be the tipping point.  Give it a try.

Here’s the recipe:

Vegetable Enchilada Bake


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups (about a handful) of spinach
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (less if you can’t handle the spice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups, give or take, of Enchilada Sauce (I used about a can and a half of the Original Old El Paso enchilada sauce)
  • Feta cheese
  • Grated Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with foil and spraying with cooking spray.  Add chopped potatoes and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper, then roast for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  Add zucchini, peppers, and onions and toss, cooking until tender.  Season with chili pepper, cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are nice and tender.  Add spinach by the handful and toss, wilting it into the vegetable filling.  When potatoes are cooked, add to the filling and toss to combine.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. In a 9×9 inch baking dish, layer a couple of tablespoons of enchilada sauce.  Then add enough filling to cover the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle feta cheese and grated Jack, then top with 4 corn tortillas.  Repeat this process, layering sauce, then filling, then cheese, and then tortillas two more times, until all of the filling has been used.  Finish with a layer of tortillas, then sauce, then a little sprinkling of cheese and top with chopped cilantro.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.  Serve with sour cream or other taco toppings.

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