Get ready to wow your family and guests with this delicious, total comfort food Vegan Cheesy Mexican Tortilla Bake! This recipe is not only incredibly easy to make, requiring just 8 ingredients, but is also healthy, oil-free, gluten-free and made from cashews, salsa, dairy-free yogurt and spices. It is loaded with flavor and absolutely delicious!
Servings: 9large casserole slices or an 8X8 square dish
FOR THE CHEESE (Makes 2 1/2 cups)
1cup (150g)raw unsalted cashews (See NOTES below for subs and lower-fat option)
1cup (240g)mild heat runny/not too chunky salsa (I love Trader Joe's or Sprouts Mild, you can use a medium heat if you don't mind the dish being on the spicy side, not recommended with kids)
3/4cup (180g)PLAIN dairy-free yogurt (I used Silk Soy yogurt found at Kroger OR SO Delicious "Unsweetened" Plain coconut yogurt)
1/4cup + 1 tablespoon (75g)water
1 1/4teaspoonssmoked paprika
1 1/4teaspoonsground cumin
3/4-1teaspoonfine salt (this will vary depending on the salsa used. Start with 3/4 and keep in mind the final taste after baked you want to stand out)
FOR THE CASSEROLE
9small corn tortillas, cut into fourths
Two 15ozcans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1cup (240g)salsa for middle layer
2cups (293g)sweet corn (I used frozen)
Optional: Green onions for garnish
The yogurt CANNOT be subbed here for milk, that will RUIN the recipe. The yogurt is thick, creamy and tangy and using a milk will not only make it bland, it will make the rest of the dish watery and soggy. Follow the recipe for the correct results.
First, prepare your cheese sauce by adding all of the ingredients listed under "cheese sauce" to a high-powered blender. I did not soak my cashews since I have a Vitamix, but if you do not have a strong blender, you will need to soak your cashews overnight, drain and rinse. Otherwise, your sauce will be gritty. Taste it and tell me how darn cheesy that tastes! The cheese sauce tastes insanely delicious and cheesy straight out of the blender, but gets even cheesier after it's baked! If you are just wanting to use the cheese sauce for nachos or another recipe, I would add it to the stove and heat it just to thicken it up slightly. It is delicious on nachos!
Preheat your oven to 375°F and lightly spray a 8 1/2 by 8 1/2 square casserole dish like ceramic or stone with nonstick spray. Layer about a 1/3 of the cheese sauce on the bottom and spread out with a spoon. REFER TO VIDEO for easy visual tutorial. Lay on top of the cheese sauce 6 of the cut tortillas per each row for 3 rows.
Add 1 can of the beans on top of the tortillas and spread out. Add the other 1 cup of salsa and spread out over the beans. Layer 1 cup of the corn. Layer another 1/3 of the cheese sauce on top of the corn and spread out. You will notice there is only 1 layer of salsa in the middle. This is just to add another layer of flavor and moisture, it definitely didn't need 2 layers of salsa.
Repeat the steps by adding the remaining tortillas, then the beans, corn and remaining cheese sauce. Cover everything well and top with a piece of foil gently covering the dish. This is so the cheese sauce doesn't bake up and harden too quickly.
Bake with the foil on for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is getting a nice firm orange-brown look on the edges. I baked it for about 8 minutes without the foil but if you prefer the cheese to be more firm, just bake it a bit longer. Just keep in mind that the longer you bake it, the drier the top cheese layer becomes after it is removed from the oven.
Garnish with fresh green onions. I loved the crunchy, fresh element of the green onions to the warm cheesy flavor.
This dish reheats very well also. I just reheat leftovers in the microwave and mmmmmm, delicious.
Please note that for best results, I recommend the 100% cashew version. It is incredibly rich and delicious and only recommend the below if allergic to cashews or greatly needing to watch your fat intake.To make this nut-free: You can sub all of the cashews with white beans, making sure to blend really well. Just PLEASE note that this is ONLY recommended if you absolutely cannot have cashews. I tested it with all beans and while it was good, it was not as rich and creamy delicious as with the cashews (obviously since beans are fat-free) and the husband said it tasted like beans, but did agree it was still good and tasty. Please keep in mind I recommend the cashew version for best results to where non-vegans will love it too.For lower fat: I also tested a version with half white beans and half cashews and it was still very delicious.Nutrition per square slice (based on 9): 287 calories | 9.9g fat | 9.6g protein | 43.1g carbs | 8g fiber | 8g sugar | 568mg sodium