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.
I just made this for the first time and I loved it!! It will definitely enter my regular rotation. I did make a few changes according to what I had on hand and my preferences: I used refried beans in place of the kidney beans. I omitted the green pepper and corn but added a small can of diced green chilies. I subbed corn tortillas for the chips but I crisped them in my toaster over at 350 first to give some crunch and prevent sogginess (as I've seen suggested previously). I toasted my spices with the onion and garlic before adding the wet ingredients. I used 4 Tbsp of olive oil rather than 1 since it was looking dry. Finally, I diced up a yellow squash and a zucchini and sauteed them after I added the garlic and spices. The little chunks are a very nice touch!!
Ashley Jennings says
So happy to hear you enjoyed it Rachel! Thanks for letting us know! And those changes sound delicious 🙂
My husband does not like beans (I love them!) and we do not eat a lot of meat, but we are not vegetarians. I was going to sub the beans for cooked ground turkey, but would the meant dry out when I bake for an additional 20 minutes in the oven or do you think it would be fine? Thank you 🙂
Ashley Jennings says
Hey Lauren! I think it should be just fine! Hope you enjoy!
Deborah Mickow says
We don't eat meat at all. Totally vegan. We added some "Beyond Meat Beef crumbles to the beans and, vegan cheese, it was Awesome!! Thank you...This recipe was a "Winner"!!!!!!
Ashley Jennings says
So happy to hear it! Thanks for letting me know Deborah!
So I’d like to make this dish for tomorrow nights dinner but i won’t be home tomorrow so I’d like to make it today. Can I prepare this today and put all the ingredients in the casserole and put in the fridge and then bake tomorrow? Or will the chips get too soggy? Or should i make it today and reheat tomorrow? Thanks!
Katie Trant says
I think that the chips would get too soggy if you let it sit overnight, but leftovers definitely reheat well!
What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?
Doug K says
Great recipe. I swapped the kidney beans for chili beans, otherwise made as is and was really good....but for those that choose to eat eggs, the real winner for me was making breakfast with the leftovers. I heated up the leftovers in an electric skillet which also crisped up the chips, fried up eggs next to the heated leftovers. Plated the leftovers and topped with the eggs....best huevos rancheros ever!