We are so encouraged by your response to our upcoming trip to Cambodia – thank you so much for everyone who has voiced their support! It means so much to us to know you are behind us in this effort.
Currently, we’re working on determining recipes that might be fun to cook with the girls at the Culinary Training Center. We’ve taken a look at the menu for their restaurant (set to open in early March), and there are a few Mexican and Italian items on the menu, so we know we’ll be in good company. (We’re looking forward to learning more about Cambodian food too – this week, we’ll learn a few things from a student from the Training Center who is here in Indy training! Stay posted for more on that.)
But in the meantime, how about some more culinary fusion? Much like Greek quesadillas and Mexican pizza, we loved the idea of Mexican lasagna. Some good friends of ours served a version of it to us recently, which served as the inspiration for our own take.
Believe it or not, the process of creating this recipe was on par with the spicy kale lasagna, which we had to make so many pans of to perfect that I cringe at the thought of it to this day. However, somehow I thought the Mexican version might inspire “getting it right the first time”.
Lasagna is tricky business. It seems easy, but it’s hard to get it right. Here are some learnings from this time around:
-Yes, do cover with aluminum foil when you bake, especially if you are using “no boil” noodles (unless you want cardboard on the top).
-No, do not overstuff the layers! While it seems fun, it makes for a mess when trying to devour it. Minimalism is best.
-Yes, do use crushed tomatoes (and not drained diced) if you want the right consistency.
-Yes, do add some seasonings (and just a bit of hot sauce!) – it does pay off, even if it adds a few extra minutes of prep time.
Luckily, we made those mistakes so that you don’t have to! What results is an incredibly delicious, easy entrée that would be perfect for serving to guests, and is especially easy to whip up in advance!
What You Need
9 x 9 square baking dish
9 ounces “no boil” whole wheat lasagna noodles
15 ounce can black beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
8 ounces Mexican blend cheese, shredded (or Monterrey Jack cheese)
1 bunch green onions
Fresh cilantro – enough for a little over 1/2 cup chopped
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
Hot sauce (like Cholula)
What To Do
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2 Chop the green onions into thin slices, using both the white and green portions. Finely chop the cilantro (about 1/2 cup; reserve some for the garnish). Drain the beans (if using canned).
3 In a 9 x 9 square baking dish, do the following:
-Tomatoes: Spread a thin layer of tomatoes on the bottom of the pan. (This helps to cook the bottom layer of noodles, and ensures it does not stick.)
-Noodles: Place one layer of noodles on top of the tomatoes. You may have to break a noddle to fit into the last part of the pan (we actually chose to not use the entire pan and skipped the last 1/2 noodle – it made it easier for serving!)
-Filling: On top of the noodles, sprinkle on a handful each of black beans, green onions, corn, and cilantro, and spread carefully with a layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle on a layer of cheese, then sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and a few pinches kosher salt. Drizzle with a bit of hot sauce.
-Repeat the layers with the remainder of the ingredients (keeping in mind you’ll have to pace your ingredients accordingly): Noodles / Filling / Noodles / Filling / Noodles.
-On the top layer of noodles, spread the last layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
4 Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. Sprinkle with remaining chopped cilantro and serve warm. Serve with sour cream if desired.