Sometimes, I get a craving for Mexican food. Not just any Mexican food, not the stuff I can get at the restaurant down the street, but ooey-gooey Midwest-meets-Texas, not-at-all-authentic Mexican, the kind where things come out of a can and the whole meal is covered in cheese.
My mother has a recipe for something called “Taco Dip” that calls for sour cream, salsa from a jar, cream cheese, canned beans, canned chili and about half a block of cheddar cheese. My sister, my mom and I would eat it for dinner sometimes when my dad worked nights. The flavors, spicy and rich, were so different from what we usually had — the sour cream blended with the salsa just right, the beans reached the kind of texture you can only get in a microwave, and we’d dig in with awful, salty tortilla chips and scarf down the whole plate.
That taco dip was in the back of my head when I decided to make this casserole.
I had originally planned on making this recipe from Pinch of Yum, but then I realized I had it confused with this recipe, and then I just decided to throw both of them out and try to create what I had in my head — a gooey mess of Mexican flavors, but with a healthy side.
This casserole has some of the flavors of my mom’s Taco Dip, but black beans instead of refried, corn and peppers filling the vegetable quotient, enchilada sauce adding kick and quinoa for filler and a little more protein.
You can serve this any way you want…jalapenos, sour cream, fresh white onions, extra cheese, tortilla chips, whatever. Just enjoy before we finally have lovely spring-like weather and all you want to eat are salads and berries.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp corn flour (masa)
- 2 cups water
- 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water or stock
- pinch salt
- 4 bell peppers (I used 2 green, 1 red, 1 yellow), chopped
- 2 jalapenos, chopped
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 10-ounce package of frozen corn
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat oil over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth, then cook until starting to brown. Whisk in water, tomato sauce, chili powder and cumin; stir in garlic. Let simmer for 15 minutes, then set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring water or stock and quinoa to a boil, then cover and simmer on low until all water is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
- Place chopped peppers and onion in a cast iron skillet; sprinkle with one teaspoon each of chili powder and cumin. Roast in over for 20 minutes, or until slightly browned. Repeat with corn.
- Combine quinoa, peppers, onion, corn, 2 cups of the sauce and black beans in a large bowl and stir well until completely combined. Spread into a 9 x 13 pan and cover with shredded cheese.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and the cheese is all melty. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos or whatever you want.
- You could make this vegan by skipping the cheese and serving the mixture in tortillas…if you wanted. But I mean, if you’re not vegan, don’t skip the cheese.