We love taco night at our house. In fact, we love taco night so much, that we’ve created other nights of eating virtually the same food but under a different name. For example, we’ll eat chips and pile all the taco fixings on top and call it “taco salad night”. Or we’ll fill “Scoops” chips with taco ingredients and call it “mini tacos night”. That’s right, we’ll use any excuse to eat corn chips with refried beans, shredded cheese and diced tomatoes. We are pathetic.
Recently, I had an overwhelming urge to feed into my bizarre obsession with tacos yet again. We’ve been having so much Mexican food lately, I knew I would be pushing it a little with another “taco night” so I created a dish that uses similar ingredients, but has more vegetables, is a little heartier and – best of all – less messy to eat.
After much deliberation I decided to call this dish Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna. Lasagna – because it kind of looks like one, plus the word “lasagna” is really fun to say aloud (try it). Mexican – because, well, look at the ingredients. And Vegetarian – because I’m a vegetarian, well, actually a pescetarian, but no way am I putting fish in this baby.
So I made the lasagna and served it last Sunday night, anxious to see what my family would think. I ceremoniously placed it on the dining table and announced: “Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna!” Everyone had some and later that night, when I tucked my five-year-old daughter into bed, I asked “did Mommy make a yummy dinner?” My daughter smiled and as she turned her head towards the wall on her way to dreamland, replied “Yeah…I love taco night!”
Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna
The most important thing about making this dish is that you have to be good at delaying immediate gratification and wait. You have to wait two days for all the ingredients to mold into one another, otherwise, it can get pretty messy. Also, I made this without taco sauce because my three-year-old and five-year old don’t eat spicy food (wimps!) but I added in the sauce later for myself and my husband.
Two tbsp canola oil
One medium onion, cut into thin strips
Two bell peppers of any color, cut into thin strips
Two 8 oz. packages of blue corn chips
One package whole wheat or corn tortillas
One can refried beans
Two medium diced tomatoes
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Taco sauce (optional)
Heat the canola oil and saute onions and peppers until soft.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9”x13” baking pan with cooking spray.
Layer with 1 bag of chips, 6 tortillas, entire amount of peppers and onions, half a can of beans (you can just drop it by the spoonful), entire amount of tomatoes and half the amount of cheese.
Layer again with another bag of chips, 6 tortillas, the rest of the beans and cheese. You can add some taco sauce in between some of the layers if you want.
Bake for one hour. Cool and cover with foil. Refrigerate.
Eat two days later.