You, or your kids or your significant other, probably like Mexican food. After all, what’s not to like…oozing cheese, fresh guacamole, rich sour cream? In an effort to satisfy my Mexican food cravings while keeping it at bay by adding more veggies, I came up with this vegetarian recipe for Zucchini Enchilada Lasagna Casserole. By adding the black beans I have also added some protein to the dish to beef it up a bit – but still keeping it vegetarian friendly.
Truth be told, it started off as just zucchini enchiladas, but the lasagna is quicker and neater to assembly. If you have the desire, feel free to fill individual tortillas with the filling and top with sauce and cheese before baking.
First things first…the sauce. I use my own that I’ve shared on this site, Enchilada Sauce, but won’t be offended if you take a shortcut and go for the store-bought version; just pay attention to the amount of sodium that tends to be in most canned or jarred products – my version will definitely pack a better punch and is used in the nutritional calculation estimate below. You’ll need two cups, which works perfectly when I still have pint jars of homemade enchilada sauce in the pantry.
I like corn tortillas for this recipe, but they don’t work as well for enchiladas as they have a tendency to break when rolled. There are any number of whole wheat, flax, 7-grain, or sprouted wheat tortillas on and in the market now. Pick what works best for you within your budget and grocery story offerings, but check the label for things like high carb or low fiber content, by which I mean to aim for the opposite.
If you have decided to roll your enchiladas instead of layering them in a lasagna fashion, you may want to steer clear of the corn tortillas, because as I mentioned, they will tend to break.
Is it a lasagna or a?
This is definitely not an authentic enchilada recipe, nor is it a true lasagna, though it’s not too far from this definition of lasagna: Merriam-Webster’s defines lasagna as “stacked layers of pasta alternated with sauces and ingredients such as meats, vegetables and cheese, and sometimes topped with melted grated mozzarella cheese.” Layers of a grain product (tortillas, not pasta)–check. Alternation of ingredients–check. Vegetables and cheese, topped with more cheese–check. In fact, the inspiration for the assembly of this dish came from my mother’s Mexican lasagna recipe.
Is this dish any closer to being an enchilada than a lasagna? Returning to Merriam-Webster’s, I read that an enchilada is “usually corn tortilla rolled around a savory mixture, covered with chili sauce, and usually baked.” Let’s see: corn tortilla–check; savory mixture–check; baked–check. Sauce but not a chili sauce–half credit. But as I explained in the beginning, some days I’m just too lazy to roll the enchiladas.
For this recipe you really just need a few minutes to pull everything together. We estimate 15 minutes of prep, and 45 minutes of cooking time, that includes 30 minutes in the oven. So, really you are putting in minimal effort – and building your lasagna is half the fun. You do a quick dice and grate of the vegetables. Feel free to use your food processor if you would like, but a box grater (large side) will work fine as well for the zucchini.
Then, you quickly saute the vegetables together and black beans together with a little enchilada sauce to make a flavorful combination. Moments later you are assembling the layers of your lasagna and getting it ready to pop in the oven.
I recommend you place foil or cover it for the first half of the cooking time (15 minutes) so the casserole does not dry out. This method has worked for myself and Chester and we hope it works for you as well.
As always folks, please let us know what you thought of this recipe in the comments. We’re always here to answer your questions and look forward to hearing from you. Is that all you need to know before we dive right into the recipe itself? Yes, that’s the whole enchilada!
Zucchini Enchilada Lasagna Casserole
- 1 teaspoon olive oil extra-virgin
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 2 cups enchilada sauce
- 4 cups zucchini about two medium, shredded (large side) and squeezed dry
- 2 cups corn thawed if using frozen
- 1 15.5 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 16 6” corn tortillas
- 2 cups 2% Mexican cheese blend
- 14 ounce can of black olives
- 14 ounce can diced green chilies any heat
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or Sour Cream optional, side
- Spray a 9x13 pan and set aside, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large pan add oil and onion, saute over medium low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, shredded zucchini, corn, and black beans. Stir well to combine and break up any clumps of zucchini; saute for 5 minutes to cook off any excess liquid.
- Add spinach, stirring until spinach wilts and is combined with mixture.
- Layer ingredients in the following manner: tortilla layer (5 tortillas, you will have to break one in half to get full coverage), 1/2 of the vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, a sprinkle of black olives and chilies.
- Repeat that layer.
- Top with tortilla layer, last 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce (spread out with the back of a spoon to cover the entire layer), and last 1/2 cup cheese, sprinkle with remaining chilies and black olives.
- Cover with aluminum foil, bake for 15 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered for a total of 30 minutes or until warmed through.
- If desired, serve topped with plain Greek yogurt before serving.
- This reheats well in the oven, so if it manages to stick around you're good. Just pop it in a low oven (300 degrees F) for about 20 minutes or until warmed through. I would bring it to room temperature first if at all possible.
- Vegan option: make it with vegan cheese and use vegan sour cream instead of the Greek yogurt.