Sunday, April 10, 2011

Santa Fe Vegetable Tamale Lasagna

I will admit that I do not like ugly food... meanwhile, my husband will always say that ugly food tastes great.  I almost didn't post this recipe because I wasn't happy with the way it photographed.  I know, I know, how vain.  It does taste great, and the only advice I would give you is to make sure that your sauce is highly seasoned as the rest of the ingredients are pretty mild and the dish will mellow in baking as the flavors meld.  Next time I make this, I am going to make sure that my sauce is super spicy because that's how I like it.

This is a great Meatless Monday idea if you are looking to reduce the amount of meat you eat. This is a meal on itself, but would make a great side dish too.  It's very filling and satisfying. 

I clipped this recipe out of the newspaper a long time ago, so long in fact, that the paper is no longer even publishing!  Seattlelites know I'm talking about the now defunct Seattle P-I, I really miss that paper.  Now, I don't even read 'paper' papers... it's so easy online.  It's a recipe that was iinspired by Rick Bayless's Aztec Tamal Casserole.

"Santa Fe" Sauce:
1 - 28 oz plum tomatoes, undrained

1 - 4 oz roasted green chilies, chopped, undrained
1 jalapeno, minced. Seeds and core removed and discarded.
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 cup white onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped

1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 cup vegetable stock
1-2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Tamale Lasagna ingredients:

18 Corn tortillas
1 1/2 cup Zucchini, minced
8 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped

8 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1 1/2 frozen corn, thawed

1/2 jar (8 oz) roasted red peppers
4 cup Santa Fe Sauce


Combine tomatoes and chilies in a blender and make a coarse puree. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until lightly browned. Increase heat to medium high, add garlic and minced jalapeno and cook 1 minute. Add tomato and chili mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced and thickened, about 8 minutes. Add stock, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Stir in salt, remove from heat and stir in One fourth cup of cilantro. Makes about 4 cups of sauce.

Tamale Lasagna: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Assemble your ingredients to make assembly easy:

  • Corn
  • Chopped zucchini
  • chopped spinach (quickly microwaved to wilt)
  • Grated Cheese
  • Drained, roasted peppers
  • Corn tortillas, approx 9 cut in half, the others whole
  • Santa Fe Sauce
To assemble casserole, lightly coat a round 2qt 9inch baking dish with
vegetable oil spray. Note: Press down after each layer to make sure that you can fit it into the pan and to reduce air pockets.

  1. Place a layer of corn tortillas on the bottom, top with cheese and the roasted peppers, and one scoop pf sauce.
  2. Add another layer of corn tortillas, using the half tortillas to fit around the edges and a small piece to cover any empty space in the center. 
  3. Repeat process with spinach, cheese, sauce and tortillas. 
  4. Next layer, repeat process with corn, cheese, sauce and tortillas.
  5. Next layer, repeat process with zucchini, cheese, sauce and tortillas.
  6. Top with more sauce.
  7. Save the rest of the cheese to top later (see below).

Cover with foil and place in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover, top with cheese and bake about 10 minutes more, or until lightly browned and cheese is melted.

What else could I do with this?
Great options using the corn tortillas instead of noodles, so look to see what you have that would work to layer up and bake!
  • Shredded chicken, corn, cheese and salsa.  You could assemble this ahead of time and first one home throws it in the oven.  Dinner is served!
  • Green salsa or enchilada sauce would be great with the veggies too.
  • Black beans, sour cream or ricotta with more veggies would make a filling vegetarian option.

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