This Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole is so easy to put together, and freezes well for healthy, quick dinners. This is stuffed with black beans, corn, peppers and onions, and is a meal that the whole family will enjoy. After you’ve had dinner, you’ll be so glad you have a 2nd of these in the freezer for another night!
I couldn’t leave you hanging with the Homemade Enchilada Sauce recipe I posted on Friday with no new ideas for how to use it, could I?
For this one, I wanted easy. I wanted to be able to put the whole meal together in less than 30 minutes, I wanted it to be enough for at least 2 meals for a family of 4, and I wanted it to freeze well. So simple it was! And simple can be so good sometimes, can’t it?
If you’re just jumping in now, and missed the first few posts in this series, I am posting Freezer Friendly Meals once a week right now as a reader request. If you’re busy (and really, who isn’t? If you’re not, I’d like to know your secret.), and want to feed yourself and your family health, clean food, freezer meals are such a convenience.
I actually myself never froze very much until I started this series– and let me tell you, it is a new habit I am picking up because it has me eating healthier! Instead of grabbing a protein bar for lunch when I get too busy to stop, I am heating up a pumpkin seed veggie burger and wrapping it in lettuce. Yum!
Feel free to check out my Pumpkin Seed Veggie Burgers (these have gotten such a positive response from readers who have tried them!), and my Chicken Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce. Both are enough for several meals, and the results are the same after being frozen as they taste the day they are made fresh. By the way- the enchilada sauce I use for these is homemade, and also freezer friendly. In 15 minutes, you can make enough sauce for 3 large pans of enchiladas, and freeze for easy use later.
We’ve made this twice the past few weeks. Both times, I’ve made a 9×13 pan and an 8×8 pan, and frozen the 8×8. My husband isn’t a huge fan of Mexican food, and I was worried when I had to make so much of this casserole that he would complain – Mexican, again? I on the other hand could eat Mexican food 3 times a day for weeks.. months.. maybe years, and I just don’t tire of it.
But luckily, no issues with this recipe! He loved it, had it for lunch the next day, and then asked when I was going to make the “Mexican lasagna” again. I loved telling him he was in luck, because there was more in the freezer!
This recipe will make a 9×13 pan plus an 8×8 pan. I am sure with a few extra tortillas and some extra sauce, you could stretch it to two 9x13s. Alternately, if you have a smaller family, 3- 8×8 casseroles would take the same amount of tortillas as this recipe.
I have been freezing the 8×8 pan, so I wrap the top in foil, and then pop it in a freezer ziplock bag to keep it fresh. We’ve only had one frozen for 2 weeks at most, but I am sure with this method it would be fine in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
When baking, pull out of the freezer and allow to thaw for 30 minutes to an hour, and then bake as instructed below (you might need to bake it for an additional 10-20 minutes depending on how long it thawed).
Tips for Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
- Switch it Up: I use corn tortillas in this recipe, but flour would work as a substitute. Also, customize the veggies to suit your taste or to use up what you have in the refrigerator. Spinach works well, and broccoli chopped fine would also be great. If your kids are finicky about vegetables, chopped zucchini or cauliflower also blend into the sauce and cheese and could be a great way to sneak in a few more.
- Make is Gluten Free: Corn tortillas are gluten free, unless you buy the “soft” corn tortillas, which have wheat flour.
- Save time: Buy frozen corn, and use veggies that don’t need to be sautéed first. Really finely chopped broccoli or cauliflower, or spinach, mixed with frozen corn would be fine without pre cooking.
- Make it Ahead: See instructions above for freezing this casserole. It is also fine to keep it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before baking, if preferred.
- Increase the Protein: Using leftover or rotisserie chicken is a great way to add protein to this meal if you don’t want to keep it vegetarian.
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
These healthy, vegetarian enchiladas are a delicious meal the whole family will enjoy. The recipe is big, and will make enough for 3 meals for a family of 4. I split the recipe into a 9x13 pan (which is 2 meals), and freeze an 8x8 pan for later. Feel free to free both for easy weeknight meals!
- 4 cups enchilada sauce (1/2 recipe of my homemade enchilada sauce)
- 12 corn tortillas 8 inch (or more small ones)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions medium
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 bell peppers (I used 1 green, 1 yellow)
- 2 ears corn (sub 2 cups frozen corn)
- 1 can black beans 15 ounce
- 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- cilantro (optional, to garnish)
In a frying pan, add olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Add onion, and saute for 7-10 minutes, until browned well. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to season.
Add the bell peppers and corn, and continue to saute for about 5 minutes until softened.
Prepare tortillas. If you can find 8 inch tortillas like I did, it's very easy to cut 4 tortillas in quarters. One layer is only 1 corn tortilla in the middle, and 4 quarters in the corners of the pan. If you use smaller tortillas, you'll need to layer them in the pan differently to cover the whole layer.
In 1-9x13 pan and 1-8x8 pan, add 1/4 cup enchilada sauce to the bottom, and then add the first layer of tortillas.
On top of the tortillas, add a layer of the black bean and veggie mixture. Top the 9x13 pan with 1/2 cup of cheese, and the 8x8 pan with 1/4 cup. You can always use more cheese if your family loves it!
Repeat until there are 4 layers of tortillas, and 3 layers of veggies and black beans.
On top of the final layer of tortillas, add 1/4 cup sauce and the rest of the cheese.
Cover with foil.
If baking right away, heat oven to 425 F, and put in the oven covered with foil for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Uncover for 5-10 minutes and allow to continue baking until the cheese is lightly browned.
If freezing, read the instructions above for thawing and baking.
Other Similar Recipes:
- Enchiladas Verdes, by Pinch of Yum
- Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole, by Family Fresh Meals
- Butternut, Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas, by Vitamin Sunshine
- Leftover Turkey Sweet Potato Enchiladas, by Vitamin Sunshine
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