You’re not going to believe how delicious a healthy, Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole can be until you’ve tried it!
Yes, healthy casseroles do exist.
How do you make a vegetable casserole that tastes good?
Well, cheese helps. 🙂 But there is a ton of flavors you get from the beans, peppers, corn and spices. The sauces brings it all together, quinoa takes the place of traditional corn tortillas for an even healthier twist, and the cheese is just sort of icing on the cake.
Could you add chicken to this enchilada casserole?
The funny thing is I actually intended to include chicken in this recipe. However, when I got home, I found our rotisserie chicken had been turned into a soup by the mister. Fine! I’m not complaining. I love that I’m not the only one who cooks around here, ya know what I’m sayin?
So I had to get a little creative a take this casserole in a vegetarian direction. And it was on of those happy accidents.
You could however, add chicken to this dish without changing anything else, and it would be excellent.
Quinoa + Refried Beans = “Meat”
When I discovered the chicken had been used up, I decided to come up with a vegetarian replacement for the texture and flavor of the meat.
I use a combination of refried beans and quinoa to make a faux “meat.” I also figured that since this was starting to head and a healthy direction, I’d skip the traditional corn tortillas that traditional enchiladas employ. The quinoa played the carb role in a much healthier way and added a nice texture at the same time. Win-win.
So you really don’t need any actual meat here. Once the vegetables, cheese and enchilada sauce blend with this combo, you truly don’t even realize you’re missing the meat.
Could you add seafood or other proteins to this otherwise vegetarian Mexican casserole?
This is a great base recipe but if you want to make it again and again, you can alter it a little each time to keep things fresh and an easy way to do that is my adding more protein.
Vegetarians can add chickpeas, more beans, tofu or cooked seafood to this.
If you’re not a vegetarian and you want to mix things up by making this using meat, you can do that too. Shredded chicken or ground beef would work well in place of or in addition to the refried beans and quinoa. Just include a layer of chicken, beef or pork and everything else stays the same.
Is this vegetarian casserole freezer safe?
Yep! You can make this ahead of time and freeze the whole casserole or you could precook the quinoa and keep that ready to go in the freezer so all you have to do is microwave it to defrost, then prep the casserole.
Are there any shortcuts for making this quickly, like on a weeknight?
A few shortcuts include: buying peppers and onions already diced and buying precooked quinoa. This cuts out a bit of prep time and makes things easy enough to prepare on a weeknight. But really, even if you’re starting from scratch, this can be pulled off on a weeknight. To allow for cook time, start cooking the quinoa early in the evening.
Need a freezer and oven-safe casserole dish?
Want more vegetarian recipe ideas?
This healthy vegetarian Mexican casserole was featured on Inspire Me Monday!