Vegetable Enchilada Casserole

Vegetable Enchilada Casserole is a vegetarian dream come true. Meatless MexicanI’m gonna share my Vegetable Enchilada Casserole recipe with you, but first let me say this: By nature I am a social butterfly…Put me in a room with complete strangers and we will be pals within 5 minutes.  Any of my closest friends will tell you I am a chatterbox.  Yes, I’m the girl that talks to the ticket taker at the movie theater, and calls the cashier at the super market by their first name. Getting to know people makes me happy.  I also like to cook and feed my nearest and dearest, any time of the year it doesn’t have to be a special occasion. Open your mouth and you’ll find I’m now feeding you.

If this story is boring you… just skip down the Vegetable Enchilada Casserole! 🙂

That story continues here: Needless to say I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE entertaining guests at my place.  Bringing the social aspect and the force of an appetite together is sheer heaven to me.  But for some reason the word “intimate dinner party” never enters that equation.  It’s always a loud boisterous, people trying to talk over each other, laughing out loud, and eating frenzy.  Yeah, with that being said….I always have to prepare enough food for an army.

That’s how my Vegetable Enchilada Casserole was born….I was putting together a menu for a gathering and wanted a big enough dish to feed all the loud mouths that were coming over. It has been on my rotating menu ever since as a showstopper!

Vegetable Enchilada Casserole Ingredients:

  • 24 – king size corn tortillas
  • 3  1/4 – cups of vegetable oil
  • green chile sauce (recipe below)
  • 8 – green onion stalks (chopped)
  • 1/3 – cup of pepitas
  • A basket of mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
  • 1- onion (diced)
  • 3 – large zucchini (sliced into rounds)
  • 1- yellow bell pepper (deseeded, and cut into strips)
  • 1- small can sliced black olives
  • 1/2 – tablespoon of crushed red chile flakes (the kind you put on pizza)
  • 1/4 – cup fresh cilantro leaves (take off the stems)
  • 1- package of Queso Fresco (Cacique is my brand of choice) (crumbled)
  • 2- cups sharp Cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 2- cups Monterey Jack cheese (grated)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large frying pan over a med-high flame fill with 3 cups of vegetable oil and allow to get hot.
  3. In an additional large frying pan, fill with 1/4 cup of vegetable oil over a medium flame and wait till it gets hot, then pour in 3 to 4 cups of your green chile sauce in, and allow the oil and chile to combine.  Then lower your flame to a simmer.
  4. Divide your stack of corn tortillas into 4 equal parts.
  5. Dip a single corn tortilla into the hot vegetable oil, and let it fry on each side for 30- 40 seconds. You don’t want your tortilla to be too hard that it ends up looking like a tostada, but you don’t want it to rip in the layering process either. What you’re looking for is a tortilla that is slightly hard but still bendable.
  6. With tongs remove the fried tortilla from the oil and immerse it into the green chile sauce. Then take the tortilla out of the sauce and place it in a 9 x 13 pyrex glass pan and start to build your first layer of fried green chile corn tortillas. Once the bottom of your pan is covered in tortillas, it is time for the next level.
  7. Arrange zucchini rounds in a single layer on top of the tortillas, then continue to layer with cilantro, pepitas, green onion and queso fresco crumbles, salt and pepper.
  8. Add another layer of fried corn tortillas dipped into the green chile, to completely cover the queso fresco layer.  Think the same concept as layering lasagna.  Once you are done with your new fresh canvas of corn tortillas…
  9.  Place a single layer of mushrooms, onion, sliced black olives, red chile flakes, and 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese.
  10. Lay down another layer of fried corn tortillas dipped into the green chile.
  11. Then layer yellow bell pepper strips, salt/pepper, and 1 cup of Jack cheese.
  12. This is your last layer of fried dipped in green chile corn tortillas…. then top with the remaining cheddar and jack cheese.
  13. Place in the oven and let bake for 40-45 minutes!
  14. Serve with Sour cream and avocado slices!

Green Chile Sauce:

  • 8- jalapeños
  • 4- serranos
  • 8- guero chile (yellow chiles)
  • 7- tomatillos
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 1- teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 1- cap full white vinegar
  • pinch of oregano
  • 1- teaspoon of garlic powder
  • black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a big pot, boil all the chiles and tomatillos for about 30 minutes or until soft. Set aside water from boiling chiles you will need it later. Allow to cool. Remove stems from all chiles, and as an option deseed chiles for a less spicy blend.
  2. In a blender, add chiles, garlic cloves, Lawry’s, vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, and 1/2 cup water from boiling chiles. Do this in batches till all your ingredients are blended.

*If you have a time constraint on your hands a shortcut to this recipe is to skip making the chile yourself, and use 2 large cans of Green Enchilada Sauce.

 

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