Have you ever tried Mexican lasagna? This has all of the goodness you love from lasagna with creamy layers of flavor, but a Mexican twist with corn tortillas, black beans, and salsa,
Instead of an Italian lasagna with noodles you need to pre-boil (or those over-ready ones which tend to stay crunchy!) this one is really quick to assemble. The corn tortillas become soft in the oven when baked with the other delicious layers.
This is an easy and very satisfying meal with fresh flavors. It is vegan with mashed avocados used in place of cheese and black beans instead of cooked ground meat. Unlike traditional Italian lasagna, this version also has no eggs so it is cholesterol-free! The new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that dietary “cholesterol is as low as possible without compromising the nutritional adequacy of the diet”
- Tortillas: I recommend corn tortillas for this recipe. These can be homemade or store-bought. Whole wheat tortillas are fine in this recipe also
- Black beans: or another bean or plant-based protein
- Salsa: any type you prefer
- Bell pepper: yellow or any color
- Avocados: these need to be ripe
- Chili powder or fajita seasoning
- Lime juice: ideally fresh: see note below about substitutes
- Cilantro: fresh or substitute a half teaspoon of dried coriander instead
- Non-stick spray – or just use a little oil instead
Nutrition in Mexican Lasagna
The avocados with lime juice add terrific flavor and essential nutrients like fiber, potassium, and folic acid. Just 1/3 of an avocado has 10% of the folic acid of the Daily Value and 3 grams of fiber! Out of the 8 grams of fat in 1/3 of an avocado, 5 grams are heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. You can learn more about the nutrition in avocados from the California Avocado site.
I made these in these small casserole dishes for single portions, but you could also cook it in a regular casserole pan. Then you have a nice large dish for a family get-together or to make extra for the next days’ meals.
Mexican lasagna will be popular for sure! I made this for an employee nutrition fair once and the table was full of people who enjoyed it, asked for seconds, and were surprised that vegan food tasted so good!
If you’re cooking for someone who would like the lasagna with cooked ground turkey, shredded chicken, or cheese, the individual dishes will help avoid spillover into the plant-based original versions.
And if you’re looking for a quick meal, just microwave each dish for about 2 1/2 minutes instead of baking them!
How to Assemble the Layers
Spray the dishes with nonstick spray, and then add some salsa and spread it around so your tortillas don’t stick. Slice the tortillas into quarters. Spread 3 pieces of corn tortillas around the edges of a small (16 oz) round casserole dish.
Mix the avocados with fresh lime juice, salt, and cilantro. Use ripe avocados that you can squeeze a little. The skin is nearly black when they are ripe. Now, this is for Hass avocados. (I don’t buy the larger green Florida avocados so I’m not sure about how to tell when they are ripe.) You could also use about 3 mini-avocados instead of 2 regular-sized ones.
If you don’t have fresh lime juice, use bottled lime juice or fresh / bottled lemon juice. It will still taste good.
Next, add the mashed black beans, and then the first layer of avocados.
Then add more salsa. Next, add another layer of tortillas, beans, avocados, and chopped bell peppers.
What Else Could You Add?
These could go in the layers or in top of your Mexican Lasagna casserole dishes:
- Toasted pepitas
- Sliced jalapeno peppers: fresh or pickled
- Chopped carrots
- Corn kernels
- Sliced black olives
- Chopped mushrooms
- Sliced green onions or chopped white or yellow onions
- Vegan cheese: I like the cashew-based type
- Nutritional yeast flakes (also provides a savory or cheesy taste)
I chose a medium salsa, but select mild or hot depending on your preference. A little chopped jalapeno in adobe sauce, sriracha sauce, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce will give you more spice too.
What if You Don’t Have Black Beans?
You can definitely use a different legume. Kidney, pinto, cranberry, or red beans would all be great in Mexican lasagna.
I suggest using dried beans that have been soaked and cooked, or cooked in a pressure cooker. I cooked black beans for 26 minutes on high in my new favorite kitchen gadget, a 6 quart Instant Pot. This was 1 cup of rinsed sorted beans and 2 cups of water with natural pressure release. The beans still had some texture but were easily smashed with a fork.
If using canned beans, choose low sodium beans before adding to the Mexican lasagna layers. Vegetarian refried beans would be an easy substitution. Or try mashed edamame.
Crumbled tofu is another great choice for the main protein source in this meal. If you use tempeh, I suggest sauteing small pieces of it first in a pan with a little oil or non-stick spray. They will add to its’ nutty flavor. You could also use cooked lentils. A lot of people like the texture of cooked brown lentils as they have some similarities to ground meat with the small pieces. Another option is frozen soy crumbles.
You can make these up ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for the day, then bake them. After they are baked, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing because the avocados will turn brown: fine to eat but not so nice to look at.
More Recipes You May Enjoy
- Quick Pinto Bean Tostadas with Mango and Cilantro (Vegan)
- Easy Vegan Mexican Pizza
- One pan pasta with chickpeas and tomatoes
- Stuffed Peppers with Butternut Squash and Quinoa
- 15-bean vegetable soup
- Thai peanut tempeh with rice
- Slow cooker vegan chili
- Baby bok choy and tofu stir-fry
Easy Mexican Lasagna with Black Beans
- Oven or microwave
- Small casserole dishes
- nonstick spray
- 1 cup black beans cooked
- ⅛ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 avocados
- 1 tablespoon lime juice fresh
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- ½ cup salsa medium
- 6 corn tortillas 6 inch diameter
- 1 yellow bell pepper large, chopped
- Spray 4-16 oz round casserole dishes with nonstick spray.
- Place the black beans in a bowl. Crush beans roughly with the tines of a fork or a potato masher and mix with chili powder.
- Mash avocados in a separate bowl with a fork and combine with lime juice, salt, and cilantro.
- Slice the tortillas into fourths.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- To assemble the casseroles, first spread 1 tablespoon of salsa in the bottom of each. Next, place 3 tortillas pieces evenly around the edges of the dish, with the points overlapping in the middle. Add 1/8 cup of black beans and about 2 tablespoons of the avocado mixture. Add 1 Tbsp. salsa. Then repeat the layers, starting with the tortillas. Distribute the rest of the black beans, avocado mixture, and top with the chopped peppers.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Vegetarian refried beans
- Frozen soy crumbles
- Or cooked lentils
If you tried this Mexican lasagna, please leave a comment and let me know how you liked it!
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Published 1/15/2020. Updated 1/08/2021.