With summer drawing to a close, I have been slowly getting back in the mood for more comfort food-type recipes. A cross between nachos and an enchilada bake, this taco casserole certainly fits the bill. Layers of crunchy tortilla chips, a bean-and-veggie filling and cheese are stacked in a baking dish and heated until the cheese is nice and melted throughout. The bottom layers become softer, more along the lines of enchiladas, while the top layer keeps that crunch reminiscent of nachos.
A mixture of black, pinto and red kidney beans are used to replace the ground beef in the original recipe, along with a few veggies, like onion, green pepper and corn. The result is a protein-packed filling that is the perfect base for the casserole.
You can really play around with this recipe and make it your own. Change it up with different flavors of salsa, use different types of cheese, or add more cayenne and jalapenos to make it spicy. You really can’t go wrong. The same goes for the toppings: Try shredded lettuce, sliced green onions or even guacamole. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
You can also adjust the amount of chips in the recipe. If you add more chips (although you may need a deeper casserole-type dish if you go that route), it will come out more like nachos and be crunchier overall. Or follow it as written and you’ll get a mix of softer textures and crunch.
This post was originally published on September 3, 2014.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste optional
- 2 cups 16 ounces jarred chunky-style salsa
- 8 to 9 cups about 7 ounces corn tortilla chips
- 1 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 ¼ cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- Assorted toppings such as sliced avocado sliced green onions, sliced jalapenos, diced tomatoes, plain Greek yogurt. additional salsa, hot sauce
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or an oil mister. Set aside.
- To a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pepper and corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add all of the beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne (if using) and salsa. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Spread half of the tortilla chips evenly in the prepared baking dish. Drop half of the bean mixture in dollops over the chips. Sprinkle evenly with half of the cheddar cheese and half of the pepper jack cheese. Top with the remaining chips, then spoon on the rest of the bean mixture, and finally sprinkle on the remaining cheddar and pepper jack cheeses.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is hot throughout, about 20 minutes.
- Serve with desired toppings.