One of my favorite things about cooking is that the possibilities are endless. One’s culinary repertoire can stretch as far as one’s imagination goes (albeit probably with a few failed attempts along the way). And in a global society such as ours, inspiration can be found far and wide as more recipes are accessible and foreign ingredients are imported.
Love at first bite
When I first came across a variation of this dish, it came with the name “Mexican lasagna.” I love the concept —Mexican flavors arranged like an Italian favorite. It’s a great idea and could creatively be applied to other cultures’ flavors, too. And this recipe did not disappoint.
The name game
The name, however, did. My boyfriend Albert, who is Latino, was very confused by the title “Mexican Lasagna.” Lasagna is not Hispanic at all, so he declared that there would never be “Mexican Lasagna.” Well, the dish exists — be it with a misnomer or not — so I just changed the name to “Tortilla Lasagna.” It tastes just as great, and it is one of our favorite dinners.
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 chili pepper (optional)
A small handful of cilantro, divided
1 T olive oil
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3 oz tomato paste
1 T Activz Mixed Veggie Powder
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
15.5 oz can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
1 ½ c Mexican-blend cheese, divided
4 large tortillas, choose between flour and corn
Preheat oven to 390°.
Chop the onion, bell pepper, chili pepper and cilantro.
Using the olive oil, sauté onion, bell pepper and chili pepper on medium-high heat until soft, about 8 minutes. Add canned tomatoes. Fill the can halfway with water and add to the mixture. Stir in tomato paste.
When the sauce is even, stir in Activz Mixed Veggie Powder, chili powder, salt and most of the cilantro (saving a little for garnish). Simmer covered on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
Drain the black beans. In a medium bowl, stir together beans, corn and 1 cup cheese. The corn does not need to be defrosted.
In the bottom of a 9” springform pan, spread a little of the sauce. Cover with one of the tortillas. If your tortillas don’t fit the pan just right, tear and arrange as needed to cover the bottom and do the same with each layer. Spread a third of the bean mixture and cover with a quarter of the sauce. Add another tortilla, and repeat the layering two more times. On the top tortilla, spread the last quarter of sauce and sprinkle with ½ cup cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. Run a knife along the inside of the pan and remove the spring form. Slice it like a pizza. (I recommend putting the pan on a baking sheet because the filling can get a little messy.) Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and serve.