If you love bean and cheese enchiladas and easy weeknight meals, then this vegetarian enchilada casserole is going to become part of your dinner menu rotation in no time!
And, well, if you’re new to this Lasagna-style casserole, it’s probably going to make it into the rotation rather quickly, too. You’re going to love how quickly it comes together, how each layer is filled with a variety of vegetables and not-too-spicy but perfectly balanced homemade enchilada sauce, and of course…cheese!
What is Enchilada Casserole?
A casserole is prepared in a casserole dish and baked in the oven. It can be layered (like with Italian lasagna), or a uniform mixture of starch, protein, and veggies. It’s one of the classic staples in the Midwest diet (unless you’re in Minnesota, then it’s hotdish).
So, this recipe is not rolled enchiladas. Enchilada casserole has the flavor, texture, and sauciness of enchiladas, without having to roll tortillas. Instead, the filling is layered between the tortillas, like when you make lasagna.
Of course, there’s still lots of cheese and sauce, too. It’s the perfect solution for when you want a filling meal, full of Mexican-flavors, without the process of rolling enchiladas!
What You’ll Need + Substitutions
The filling of this tortilla lasagna is loaded with veggies, and the beauty of that is that you can mix and match depending on what you already have in the fridge. That makes it economical (no wasted food, no excess grocery bill!) and easily adjustable to your family’s preferences. WIN!
Please be sure to see the full recipe card below for all ingredient measurements.
- Mushrooms: diced mushrooms give substance to the filling and provide a lovely umami flavor, making them a perfect substitute for meat. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you can easily leave them out or substitute them with more veggies or beans.
- Black Beans: my favorite in tacos and enchiladas! Feel free to use another variety of bean.
- Yellow Onion: my preferred onion, but red or white onion will work too, the onion flavor will be more pronounced. Along with it, we have garlic for added aromatics.
- Red Bell Pepper: a bell pepper adds nutrients, texture, and a pop of color! Feel free to substitute with yellow, orange, or green bell pepper, too.
- Frozen Corn: keeps it easy!
- Jalapeno & Diced Green Chiles: both add subtle spice and depth of flavor. The jalapeno is not overpowering because we remove the ribs and seeds. If you want it spicier, leave them in. Remember, peppers can vary on the spice level.
- Spices: a few spices are added to the filling…you know we love to layer those flavors! A little cumin and chili powder do the trick.
- Shredded Cheese: use what you like! I prefer a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack. Pepper jack cheese would add a nice spice. Shred your own cheese from a block for the best melt!
- Enchilada Sauce: homemade or storebought will work for this recipe.
If you’re looking for another meat-like addition, add a can of jackfruit! The shredded texture works so well in this recipe!
What kind of tortillas should I use?
I recommend using corn tortillas for this recipe. They hold their structure a little better in the casserole and have more flavor. If you have flour, you can use them in a pinch, keeping in mind they do get softer.
Using corn tortillas will keep this recipe gluten-free, just be sure to check the specific brand you use!
Let’s Make a Meatless Enchilada Bake!
There are three parts to making this recipe: prep the filling, assemble, and bake! If you haven’t already made homemade enchilada sauce, you’ll need to do that too! But never fear, with this 10-minute recipe, it comes together quickly!
Make the Filling
The filling is first sauteed in a skillet on the stove to make sure the vegetables are slightly tender, and to develop the flavor as they all cook together with the aromatics and spices.
I like to start with the mushrooms in a dry skillet because as they cook, they release a lot of liquid. As it evaporates out, the mushrooms are ready to absorb all of the yummy flavors!
Once the mushrooms are browned and a majority of the liquid has evaporated, add a little oil along with the diced onion, bell peppers, and jalapenos. These veggies go in first because they are sturdy and take longer to saute.
Similar to cooking pasta, we’re going to cook the veggies to “al dente” – tender with a bit of crisp – so they don’t overbake with the casserole.
Be sure to add a pinch of salt for flavor, keeping in mind the salt level of your enchilada sauce, too. Next add the bursts of flavor: garlic, diced green chiles, along with thawed corn, beans, and spices. Cook for just a couple of minutes until fragrant, and stir in 1 cup of enchilada sauce.
Assemble Like Lasagna
Prepare the baking dish with a spread of enchilada sauce across the bottom for a saucy base. Then, the first layer of corn tortillas goes down. I like to cut the tortillas in half, and sometimes quarters, and place them around the pan as evenly as possible.
Then, spread about 2 cups of the veggie mixture across the tortillas, and then a layer of cheese. Continue this process: tortillas, veggie filling, and cheese, two more times. On the third and final layer, pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the veggies before you add the cheese.
Time to Bake
Bake the casserole uncovered for around 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dish is bubbly. Let it sit for a few minutes to set up before serving.
Serving Enchilada Casserole
When it’s time to serve, cut slices as you would a traditional lasagna. If you’ve given time for the casserole to set, they should come out with clean edges (although, a little melty cheese is always welcomed).
Garnish with a variety of toppings. Some favorites include sour cream or avocado sauce, cilantro (always), and diced red onion for a little bite. Fresh tomatoes add a lovely hint of fresh acidity, too.
Side Dish Ideas
If you’re looking for something else to serve alongside vegetarian enchilada casserole, try one of these ideas:
- Cilantro Lime Rice or Cheesy Mexican Rice
- Pico de Gallo and tortilla chips…or guacamole
- FITK’s reader-favorite easy queso dip
- Or the other popular Elote corn dip
- Add some greens with a Southwest Salad
Storage & Freezing Tips
Let the casserole cool, and either cover the dish or transfer individual portions to an airtight container. Place in the fridge for up to 3 days, reheating in the microwave or oven as desired.
To freeze, cut into individual portions and let cool completely to prevent freezer burn. Place in an airtight, freezer-safe container. To protect it further, press a piece of plastic wrap across the top before putting the lid on the container.
Defrost frozen servings in the microwave, or thaw in the fridge overnight. Once defrosted, heat through until warm.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Vegetarian Enchilada Layered Casserole (Lasagna-Style)
- 2 cups red enchilada sauce
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, diced
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1-2 Tablespoons Jalapeno (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped, optional
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 ounces diced green chiles
- 15 ounces canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 15 corn tortillas, cut in half
- 2 ½ cups shredded cheese*
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Prep a 9×13 pan by spreading ½ cup enchilada sauce across the bottom of the dish.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes with a pinch of salt, as the water evaporates. Add oil to heat. Then, add diced onion, bell peppers, and jalapeno. Saute for 2-3 minutes.8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, 1 teaspoon neutral oil, 1 cup yellow onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1-2 Tablespoons Jalapeno (ribs and seeds removed)
- Add garlic, diced green chiles, beans, thawed corn, and seasoning. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 cup enchilada sauce.2 garlic cloves, 4 ounces diced green chiles, 15 ounces canned black beans, 1 cup frozen corn, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Layer corn tortillas across the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread approximately 2 cup of veggie filling across the tortillas. Sprinkle a layer of cheese across the top. Lay another layer of tortillas, filling, then cheese. On the third layer, pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the veggies, then top with cheese.15 corn tortillas, 2 ½ cups shredded cheese*
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melty and bubbly. Let the casserole rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice into it like lasagna.
- Serve and garnish with cilantro, red onion, avocado, or sour cream as desired. Enjoy!
- Shredded Cheese: use a combination you love; cheddar & Monterey jack is my go-to. Shred it yourself for the best results!
- Jackfruit: if you want to add jackfruit, drain and shred it before hand, then add it with the chiles.