I’m Mexican! (With a Vegan Mexican Lasagne Recipe)

by Maris Callahan on January 16, 2009

Vegan Mexican Lasagna Recipe

When my brother was three, he was convinced, for no known logical reason, that his religion was Mexican. Over time, we were able to convince him that not only are our roots nowhere near Mexico, but that in fact, “Mexican” isn’t actually a religion.

What he did eventually learn, along with his actual heritage, was that he liked Mexican food. Now granted, we’re not talking about Mexican-Mexican. We’re talking about On The Border style Mexican, which we know is about as authentic as the Olive Garden is Italian. His favorite restaurant growing up was Casa Lupita, a chain-esque Mexican restaurant in a local strip mall – nicer than fast food, but not exactly fine dining. We’d go there for the colorful tablecloths and outlandish Tex-Mex decor, and order meals that we couldn’t pronounce like chimichangas (and Derek would pick the onions off, which he still does today).

Regardless of authenticity, and regardless of my brother’s finnicky eating habits as a child, I haven’t met too many people who are against homemade tortilla chips, chunky tomato salsa, creamy guacamole and gobs of melted queso. As delicious as all of that can be, when I go out for Mexican or Southwestern food I often find it too spicy, to greast, too salty, not spicy enough…you get the idea. It’s eays to screw up Mexican food, which is why I don’t cook it very often.

There is also a wide perception that Mexican food has to be bad for you – but it certainly doesn’t and to prove it, I made a delicious mexican “lasagna” that I found over at FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

Vegan Mexican Lasagna Recipe

Mexican Lasagna


1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (optional)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

corn tortillas–at least 12

3 cups (28 ounces) fatfree refried beans

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 tsp. chili powder, divided

1/2 tsp. cumin, divided

3 cups black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup salsa

1 can enchilada sauce (or 1 1/2 cups homemade)

2 cups of frozen corn


1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a non-stick pan with a little water (1 tbsp.), sauté the peppers, garlic, and onion for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Set aside.

2. Spray a deep 9 X 13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom with a layer of tortillas (you may cut some of them to fit). Make sure you cover the entire bottom of the pan.

3. Stir the refried beans and spread half of them evenly over the tortillas. Cover the refried beans with half of the pepper-onion mixture and half of the tomatoes; sprinkle with half of the seasonings, half of the corn and half of the black beans.

4. Add another layer of tortillas and repeat the layers of the other ingredients. Spread the cup of salsa over the final layer of black beans. Cover with a final layer of tortillas, pour the enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with black olives.

5. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes or until hot throughout. It will be easier to cut if you allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.


My pan, not quite deep enough, only had room for one layer so the casserole tended to fall apart whenever I cut it, no matter how warm or cool. As evident from the picture above, this was a messy meal and if you’re a parent, consider yourself brave if you try to serve it to children (although, it’s not like I had an easy time getting it from the pan to the plate so maybe I shouldn’t be pointing fingers).

Tell me your favorite Mexican-style meals to make at home!
(And by the way: don’t forget to wish my little brother a Happy 22nd Birthday today! Or, you can just drink a margarita in his honor…)

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi Renée January 16, 2009 at 3:00 am

Hey! I gave you an award. Go here to collect it, then pass it on if you feel like it.
I love it when people try out vegan recipes. It saves me from having to convert them myself!


Matt January 16, 2009 at 3:00 am

I would stab someone (only in the leg or possibly arm) right now for a piece of that mexican lasagna.
not kidding.


Mandy January 16, 2009 at 3:00 am

That looks delicious, I have been in the mood for some Chinese food, but now I have to go out for Mexican at lunch!


alexandra's kitchen January 16, 2009 at 3:00 am

yay, why is it so easy to screw up Mexican food? it makes finding the real stuff that much more satisfying.
This recipe looks delicious!


ANG* January 16, 2009 at 3:00 am

wow this looks like something i could live on. yet ANOTHER thing to add to my list from your blog :)


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) January 16, 2009 at 3:00 am

From one January 16 baby to another, Happy Birthday to your brother! And hooray for Mexican food — real Mexican food is very healthy, uses lots of fish and beans, isn’t terribly spicy (though I always spice it up, as I love spicy food), and is colorful, too. Often the secret is in the condiments; buy authentic peppers and herbs, and the food will taste authentic, too.


Sara January 17, 2009 at 3:00 am

Cute story – this sounds great! I love mexican food, we eat it all the time. I have a great Rick Bayless cookbook that I’ve been working my way through.


Hayley January 18, 2009 at 3:00 am

This lasagna sounds incredible. Your pictures are making me drool – I LOVE refried beans!


Sandie January 18, 2009 at 3:00 am

Whenever our youngest is craving Mexican, she exclaims, “Let’s go to Mexico!” It took my husband and I a while to figure out she actually meant, “Let’s go eat at a Mexican restaurant.”
Truth be told, “Let’s go to Mexico!” sounds like a much better idea to me. We need a vacation!


Melissa January 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

Happy Birthday Maris’ Bro! I drink Margarita in your honor. (truth- I will drink Margarita in pretty much anyone’s honor)
My Aunt once told the waitress at a Mexican resturant that our family was Mexican. It was less than believable seeing how we are pretty much the palest, most freckled people around- oh and she is blond. The waitress just looked at her like she was obviously insane. I asked for more guac and all my Aunt could say was “what you don’t believe me?”
The recipe looks good. Maybe we’ll try this out this weekend. I do love me some mexican food though!


invertir forex February 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Hi, That looks delicious,
tthank you for the info!!


Rory August 31, 2010 at 7:01 pm

This recipe looks delicious and healthy! I Look forward to trying it very soon and would be most interested in seeing more of your favorite vegan recipes!


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