Enchilada Casserole

One of the best technology inventions in the past 100 years has to be magazines on a tablet. Since I started cooking I have subscribed to numerous magazines for inspiration, to read articles, to teach myself new techniques, and to looks at the beautiful photographs. I am guilty of hoarding such magazines for years and years to the point where I am overwhelmed by stacks in my closets, under the coffee table, and in boxes. Oops! Tablet versions of magazines are so convenient and compact that you can take several recent editions with you in your purse (bonus: no wi-fi needed). Often I find myself strumming through the beautiful pages during my lunch break at work. Most magazines are now offering bonus tablet recipes too; major motivation to subscribe electronically!

Much to my surprise this month in Cooking Light magazine (one of my absolute favorites for seasonally based fresh foods) I came across a stacked enchilada bake. Their version had chicken, veggies, and looked absolutely scrumptious. It reminded me of one of my signature dishes (enchilada casserole) invented circa 2007. After reading it I headed over to my blog to compare my version to theirs and (gasp!) I haven’t shared it! I couldn’t believe my eyes and naturally searched for the recipe again…no such luck. So this recipe may be several days late and a couple dollars short…but is still amazingly delicious and a family favorite.

This version is vegetarian and contains black beans and spinach because, as a dietitian, I am trained to spot every little place that an extra vegetable can be squeezed in, but you can swap in your favorite items if you wish. You could add chicken, pork, chorizo, or beef. I have swapped the spinach for mashed sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Grilled bell peppers would be lovely. Let your imagination run wild friends!


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 heaping tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano (or mexican oregano)
  • 9-10 corn tortillas
  • 16 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans; drained and rinsed
  • 8-10 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 3-4 scallions
  • salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


Warm a large saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Sautee onion and garlic for 5-8 minutes or until tender.


Add tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano and season with salt/pepper to taste. Now give  yourself a pat on the back because you just made homemade enchilada sauce, woo hoo!


Drain black beans and set aside for a moment.


In an oval casserole dish spoon a layer of enchilada sauce to coat the bottom and arrange one flour tortilla on each end plus a third tortilla to split between the sides.


Add another layer of sauce on top of the tortilla shells then spread spinach in an even layer. Top with a sprinkling of shredded cheese.


Next comes another layer of tortillas, more sauce, black beans, and more cheese.


Add one final layer of tortillas and gently press on them to compact the layers beneath; the casserole dish will begin to really fill up at this point.


Spoon the remaining sauce over the top then sprinkle very generously with cheese and scallions.


Bake for 25-30 minutes until all ingredients are warmed through, the cheese is melted, and the scallions begin to brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.


Top with guacamole and more scallions to serve. This dish has 100% of the satisfaction of making homemade enchiladas with 1/4 of the work. It can be assembled ahead of time then baked when you are ready and is even more delicious for lunch the next day. Enjoy!

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