Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tex-Mex Casserole - vegan & gluten free


If you've been following along for a while, you may have picked up that a) I admit to being lazy fairly often b) my recipes are generally low-fuss and c) the ingredient lists aren't usually terribly long.

At first glance, this recipe may appear not to fit into any of the above categories. That first glance would be wrong. It takes about 20 minutes to put together from beginning to oven, and while there are more ingredients than I usually list, the whole thing is pretty easy and very satisfying. I suspect that you have most (if not all) of the ingredients in your pantry already. This was the first meal I made when we got back from vacation, and the fridge was pretty bare. I didn't even have all the ingredients the first time I made it, and it was still delicious.


To streamline it further, make the rice in advance. I like making it in the morning. The rice cooks while I putz around and eat breakfast, so it's all set at night. If you're one of those big batch cooks, make a batch of rice and freeze it in portions. Then just defrost what you need.


This is one of those recipes you can scale up or down, and it's going to satisfy not only lots of dietary restrictions, but it's going to satisfy vegans and omnivores alike.

Tex-Mex Casserole - vegan & gluten free
adapted from Oh She Glows

Don't have ingredient or two? Don't sweat it. Unless it's something major like rice, beans, or tomatoes, you can probably skip it. Want it spicier? Add another jalapeno. Don't like spice? Don't use a jalapeno. Have some frozen edamame taking up space in your freezer? It can definitely go in with the corn (or in place of it). You can halve the recipe and bake it in a smaller pan. If you double it, you'll need to use a second large pan. 

for the spice blend
1 Tbsp (150mL) chili powder
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) smoked sweet paprika or 1/2 tsp (2 mL) regular paprika
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper, plus more as needed
1 1/4 tsp (6 mL) fine-grain sea salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground coriander (optional)

for the casserole
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, ideally two different colors, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded if desired, and diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C (125 mL) fresh or frozen corn
1 14oz/397g can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
1 C (250 mL) tomato sauce or tomato puree
2 to 3 C (500 to 700 mL) chopped kale leaves or baby spinach
1 15oz.425g can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 C (750 mL) cooked rice (wild, brown, or white - your choice)
1/2 C (125 mL) vegan shredded cheese, such as Daiya (optional)
1 to 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed (gf for gluten free folks)

optional topping ideas
green onions, salsa, avocado, additional cheese, fresh chopped cilantro, vegan sour cream

Preheat oven to 375F. Oil a large baking pan.

In a small bowl combine all the spices for the blend. Set aside.

In a large wok, pot, or Dutch oven (when I halved the recipe, I was able to use a large sauce pan), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and jalapeno. Saute until starting to soften (approx 5-7 minutes). Add garlic and cook another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in spice blend, corn diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, kale or spinach, beans, rice, and 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the vegan shredded cheese (if using). Saute for a few minutes and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle the crushed chips and then the remaining cheese (if using) evenly over the mixture. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Uncover the baking dish and cook for another 5-10 minutes or so, until bubbly and lightly golden around the edges.

Serve and top, as desired.

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