Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mexican Lasagna ala Chef AJ

I spent a good part of my morning putting together an "eat the rainbow blackbean soup". I was so excited about it. Took a lot of photos. See how pretty?
 

 

 

 

Thought it would be wonderful! Not. I mean, it was okay, but it didn't have that BAM factor that I love when I eat. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe it's one of those dishes that taste better the second day. I mean seriously, eating a plant strong diet doesn't have to taste so so. I have had some delicious meals this year!

So while we could have just eaten it anyways for dinner I wanted to try something else. I was a hungry monster all day. So out comes my no fail Chef AJ Unprocessed cookbook. You really need to order it on Amazon. She has a great story to tell. And then there are the recipes. And delicious desserts are included. It is TOTALLY nutritarian (others sometimes include agave and salt and while I know it can be left out I just get a little irritated) and I gaze longingly yet lazily at the Disappearing Lasagna (the best dish ever) and flip the page and there it is: Mexican lasagna. And I have all the ingredients in my kitchen. After all it is only four:

4 cans low sodium oil free refried pinto beans
2 packages of 16 oz. frozen corn, defrosted
6 cups salsa or homemade pico de gallo
2 boxes whole wheat/brown rice/whole grain lasagna noodles.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the defrosted corn with the refried beans in a large bowl. Put 3 cups of the salsa on the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Put a layer of lasagna noodles on top of the salsa. I don't know about you, but I am so over boiling lasanga noodles. I don't care if the box doesn't say no boil, I don't boil it no matter what. And it turns out perfectly cooked. My daughter, on the other hand, did the same thing with brown rice lasagna noodles and she said they were a bit chewy. Maybe whole wheat works better.  So maybe boil but not quite as long as usual? Half the time perhaps. On top of the lasagna noodles, spread half of the refried beans/corn mixture. Then lay down more lasagna noodles and the other half of the refried beans/corn mixture. Now this is where the recipe called for yet another layer of noodles but I ran out (I used some leftovers I had stored in a ziploc). So I just put the rest of the salsa on top, sprinkled on some chopped olives and added some Daiya mozzarella cheese. If you have enough ingredients, put on that third layer of noodles and then the salsa. I threw it in the oven for about 45 minutes. I halved the recipe since there was only two of us. I used an 8x8 cake pan and it was perfect! Chef AJ also recommends some sliced green onion on top! Next time I make it I will definitely do the ENTIRE recipe and not just halve it. This is definitely one to have the next day as leftovers. The salsa I used is the Costco one, big container for like under $5.00. It is a little spicy so if you have kids, you definitely want to go for a mild salsa. Next time I make it I might try substituting thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant for the noodles. Just to cut down on the starches.

Best. Thing. Ever. Add some avocado on top and it is heaven. My husband kept saying how delicious it was. YUM YUM!




2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the warning about the soup. I was on the schedule to make tomorrow. I'm glad we know now.

    The Mexican lasagna looks great. I wonder if we can put other leftover pasta like a South of the Border Pasta Bake?

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  2. Hey, I just saw this!!! Thank you for posting.

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