Vegetarian, gluten free, nut free

Mexican is one of my all time favourite cuisines. Give me a hot chilli any time the weather is cold, or a gorgeous bowl of fresh guac in the summer and I’m a happy woman. But my real vices are melty cheese tacos and crispy tortilla chips slathered with more melted cheese, crème fraiche and spicy salsa! Of course, these are not foods I want to be indulging in too regularly! Enter this healthy Mexican Casserole…

 

 

This dish feels like the ultimate comfort food, but is so packed full of goodness you can feel really good about eating it. Quinoa makes up the base of this and combined with the spicy passata sauce, yogurt and cheese, has none of the bitterness sometimes associated with quinoa, and just the perfect amount of crunch. The yogurt adds wonderful creaminess in place of sour cream, and the sweet corn brings a little sweetness to balance the spice, the bell peppers some crunch.

 

The highlight of this casserole for me, is the crispy top layers of tortilla chips with melted cheese! Just enough to be satisfying without compromising the healthiness!

 

This dish can be made prepared in advance and then baked the following day if required (just don’t put the tortilla chips on until you’re ready to bake, otherwise they’ll get soggy), but leftovers are also delicious served cold.

 

This spice quantities I’ve specified are with my own kids in mind, so go ahead and adjust them according to your preference.

 

Serves 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

 

Ingredients:

14 oz (400g) cooked quinoa (if using uncooked, 5oz (130g))

15 oz (450g) tomato passata, or 1 tin canned tomatoes.

17 oz (500g) cooked kidney beans, drained weight

4.4 oz (150g) canned sweet corn without added sugar

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 medium brown onion, diced

1.5 tsp dried paprika

1 tsp dried coriander

1 tsp dried cumin

½ tsp chilli powder

3.5 oz (100g) plain yogurt

2.8 oz(80g) mature cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1.4 oz (40g) baked tortilla chips

½ lime, juiced

Tabasco or chipotle sauce, to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180 °C / gas mark 4.
  2. If you’re using dried quinoa, start by cooking it according to the packet directions but for ¾ of the required time. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a skillet. Fry the onions until softened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander & chilli powder to the onions. Fry for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add the passata or canned tomatoes, season with salt, bring to a gentle simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained beans and sweetcorn, diced bell peppers and quinoa.
  7. Add the passata mix, yogurt and 2 oz (60g) of the cheese. Add the lime juice and combine well.
  8. Taste and add salt and tabasco/chipotle sauce to your liking.
  9. Tip the mix into a baking dish of approx. 10 by 10 inches (26 x 26cm).
  10. Break up the tortilla chips and sprinkle over the top, followed by the remaining cheese.
  11. Bake in the oven for 30 mins.

 

Have you tried this dish? Do you have any other healthy comfort food dishes you’d like to see? Let me know what you thought in the comments!