July 15, 2008

tried, tested, true, and tasty

Mexican food is one of my favorite ethnic cuisines. Although it can end up looking like a heap of unidentifiable mush on your plate with everything oozing together (into what I personally consider to be a beautiful mosaic), it's almost always downright delicious. Unfortunately, it's also often really bad for those little tunnels we call arteries. The notion of combining oodles of cheese, deep-fried everything, and lardy beans in the same dish makes my little arteries quiver (and my mouth water...but that's not the point here).


The marvelous Equal Opportunity Kitchen family is hosting the second run of an event entitled Tried, Tested, and True.


For this round, they're promoting healthy recipes. I really wanted to show off one of my favorite Mexican dishes, but I had a little work to do to make it worthy of the descriptor "healthy."


Usually when I make my Mexican lasagna, I use fully-fatted refried beans, seasoned ground beef (or sometimes chicken), and handfuls of pepper jack cheese. This does not scream "good for you." On the other hand, some healthier components--black beans, peppers, corn, tomatoes, and cilantro--are always present in some form.


This time, in an effort to enhance the nutritional aspect of this delightful dish, I skipped the meat and added more beans and quinoa. Granted, this substitution isn't necessarily an advantage since it results in reduced protein, but there's also the reduced fat and increased fiber to consider. I went a little lighter on the cheese as well (I couldn't bear to sacrifice too much), and used whole wheat tortillas and fat-free refried beans (which turned out to be more tasty than the regular type). Egads, that's a lot of beans.


This is an extremely flexible recipe--you can obviously add whatever you like and remove the things you don't enjoy. I really like it my usual way--it's a bit more hearty and happifying (that's not a real word, but you know what I mean)--but I think these changes yield a perfectly acceptable compromise.


Mexican Lasagna
14 oz can enchilada sauce (you can go with 10 ounces if you like it a little less soupy)
6 small whole wheat tortillas
16 oz can fat-free refried beans
1 cup black beans
1 cup kidney beans
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups corn
10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup pepper jack cheese

Combine black beans, kidney beans, quinoa, corn, diced tomatoes with chiles, peppers, cilantro, salt, and spices in large bowl; mix well.
Spread some enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover sauce with two tortillas. Slather half of the refried beans onto the tortillas. Add half of the vegetable mixture; spread out evenly. Add half of remaining enchilada sauce. Repeat layers. Top with remaining tortillas and cheese.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.
Commence happification.

41 comments:

Kim said...

This certainly looks like a tried, tested and true recipe. I'll take mine soupy and interesting use of quinoa, which is a grain I hardly ever think to use.

Peter M said...

Grace, this is a well-composed, healthy and delicious looking dish...a contender!

Lori said...

you happified me! one of these days i need to start eating healthier food. not today....today is chocolate pudding day, but one of these days. and when i do, it'll be this recipe!

Bunny said...

Grace this looks fantastic, I've been looking for Mexican recipes to try,I'll have to double this though cause the guys in my family will be belly aching if they don't get seconds!! Thank You!!

Albany Jane said...

Fat free refried beans have got to be one of the only things that's better than its full fat version.

Lucy said...

Couldn't be any better, just the way I love it!!! Delish!!

Psychgrad said...

Wow! This is almost guilt free! Looks delicious too. Great job!

Thanks for the excellent submission to Tried, Tested and True Two.

LyB said...

Oooh, quinoa, I love it! That is one gorgeous looking dish, I'd be happy to taste test it for you! :)

Sharon said...

I find it difficult to photograph Mexican food without it looking sort of like glop. Well, this looks nothing like glop and is healthy to boot! I think I may try this with ground turkey.

Jeff said...

Unidentifiable mushes are some of my favorite dishes to eat. All those flavors hitting you at once. drooolllll....

I am going to have to try this but umm...I am going to stick with the full of fat version.

Katie B. said...

The oozy bits are the best part!! Looks like you did a tasty job of healthifying this dish!

Sandy said...

I'm a sucker for any kind of Mexican food. I think it's the stringy cheese that I love ... sigh.

Cathy C said...

I love this healthy version -

This will be on the menu for dinner.

Cheers
Cathy
www.wheresmydamnanswer.com

Lisa said...

Looks good to me! I really miss all of those messy Mexican dishes I learned to make when I was in Texas. They are quite versatile, as you point out. You can make them just as healthy and/or as "happifying" as you like! Cheers to that!

Melanie said...

Yum, that looks REALLY good and kudos to you for "lightening" it up.

Ann said...

I am passionate about Mexican food! Your dish looks delicious!

mindy said...

Kudos to you, Grace, for healthifying this one so successfully! I'm working on doing the same with some of my recipes--the last was brownies with wheat flour, ground flax, and powdered mexican cocoa mix. WTF was I thinking? They were awful!

noble pig said...

Oh it's perfect...love it so much, and I love the mush too...it's a beautiful update my dear!

farida said...

Mexican lasagna looks very good! Full of healthy ingredients, what's not to like. A must try.

Half Baked said...

Great recipe! Both heathly and delish:)

Helene said...

I just discovered your blog. This recipe looks so delicious.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I think you did a great job here - healthy Mexican is great (as is the not so healthy stuff) - but this you could eat whenever to fill that craving! Looks sublime.

kimberleyblue said...

oh yummo! that looks great - so cheesy and delicious!

Kevin said...

That Mexican lasagna looks really tasty! I like the use of quinoa in it.

The Blonde Duck said...

Down here in SA, where we're pretty much "North" Mexico, Mexican food is a daily thing. Honestly, I don't think it's that bad for you as long as you subsitute stuff like you did--wheat or corn for flour tortillas, lard beans for fat tree...of course, like you, I adore Mexican food and could eat it every day. My ateries probaly look like a 50-year old pipe, but I'm happy.

I'm sorry I made you cry at work. I was really (really really really) upset. My mom called and told me that an hour before she came down to celebrate her birthday, then NO one talked about it all day, so I had a lot bottled up. Thanks for caring though. It made me feel better.

KJ said...

kudos for searching out a healthy version. it's good to know that healthy doesn't have to be limited to mung beans and brown rice.

cookinpanda said...

I like it! I'm completely intrigued by the use of quinoa here. I love anything grainy so I'm sure it works pretty well with this lasagna. Overall, great healthy adjustments.

Sophie said...

oooh Grace! This is so exciting! I am soooo making this...and it's healthy? Double the cool points for you, my friend! Great entry :).

Bobby said...

I don't make alot of mexican food but I gotta say this looks great. Nice and Spicy!

giz said...

I think I've been whining enough about not getting any Mexican food near me - I'm making my own and this recipe is just way too nice to pass up. What a gorgeous dish chalked with incredible flavours. Great submission Grace - love it!!! and thank you!!! and you da best.

Indigo said...

'Oozy mush' is, I think, the most appealing way to describe a meal that I've ever heard. They should put it on menus, and in recipe books. Or at least, they should put that first picture on menus and recipe books. And posters. Ffkdgkdj I'm in love.

Lorraine E said...

That looks so good, especially the food porn closeups! I like the idea of replacing meat with beans. Have you tried TVP? I sometimes use that hydrated with a beef stock cube and water in place of mince too. It's not quite as tasty as beef but it has fibre and lower calories and fat so I kind of pretend it's as good as ;)

Leslie said...

Nice..very nice you hotel SNOB! LOL

Cakespy said...

I believe some would call this "Food Porn". Ohhh it looks delicious.

Vicarious Foodie said...

This looks so good! But yeah, not usually what I consider health food, especially since I always smother my Mexican food with sour cream.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Mexican + Lasagna = quite a contradiction in terms, but it works. The dish looks wonderful! Cheesy and creamy and delicious!

Bellini Valli said...

This just sounds like something I need to scoop up Grace. I love these kinds of dishes:D

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

interesting use of quinoa....I feel similarly about Mexican food, messy looking pile of delicious ooey gooey stuff covered in cheese.

Elle said...

Great changes! I love the addition of quinoa. I'd definitely be happy with a plate of this!

creampuff said...

I want some now!

emily said...

This looks magnificent! I can't wait to try it for my husband. We're always looking for hearty dishes that he wouldn't miss the meat in.

Though, let's be honest...we'll probably try it with the meat, too.

Fabulous pictures!