What to feed a vegetarian?

I have several friends that are vegetarian, and I have one cheap and easy recipe that everyone, vegetarian or not, loves. Even my brother-in-law who hardly eats had TWO helpings the other day!

You will need: about 10 Tortillas (corn or flour); one can refried beans; one can black or pinto beans; one can Rotel tomatoes (that’s tomatoes with chilies); one can corn; one cup (dry) rice; 2-3 cups shredded cheese.

Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

If you are making this for a vegetarian, make sure to get vegetarian canned beans. Refried beans are often made with lard, which is pig fat, and other beans are usually flavored with bacon. For the rice, I generally use brown rice. It takes longer to cook, but it adds a great texture to the casserole, and it’s healthier.

Cook the rice according to the directions. Once it’s done mix the refried beans, whole beans, drained Rotel, and drained corn all in the same pan, to avoid making extra dishes. You can add some chili powder and garlic salt at this point if you’d like. I usually add some cayenne also, because we like it SPICY. Optional additions: raw chopped onions, or bell peppers. Now is a good time to taste it to make sure it has plenty of flavor.

Use your basic 13×9 casserole dish. Spray a little bit of baking spray on the sides and bottom. Lay tortillas down in the bottom of the dish, coating the bottom. This doesn’t have to be perfect, and I usually tear big chunks to cover holes.

Spread about half your rice and bean mixture on top of the tortillas. Try to keep them in place. Sprinkle about half the shredded cheese on top of this. Add another layer of tortillas, the same way as before. Spread the rest of the filling mixture on top, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Once it’s bubbling around the sides and the cheese on top is all melted, it’s done!

I usually cut the casserole with a knife before trying to lift it out, or else the tortillas can pull the whole thing apart. It also lifts out of the pan beautifully and cleanly because of the tortillas on the bottom.

Variations: low carb – leave out the rice, use corn tortillas. This is the perfect way to use up leftover taco meat or chicken bits also, assuming you aren’t cooking for a vegetarian. You can mix in leftover salsa, or enchilada sauce as well, for an extra kick.

It’s also very tasty with a side of sour cream, raw tomatoes, or my super easy guacamole.

You can also double this recipe very easily, or even just expand it by adding an extra can of beans or refried beans. On the rare occasion we have leftovers, it reheats perfectly, and still tastes fantastic. Yum!!

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September 13, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Cooking.

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