I found a wonderful new thrift store a couple days ago, called Frank & Betty’s, on Higuera. I’m not a big shopper, and rarely do I actually buy anything off the shelf. If I do, it’s one small item that costs less than five dollars.
However, I found thrift store heaven yesterday, and walked out with a whopping 14 items in my arms (including the dishes you see above), which all rattled and clanked the whole way home because I refused – in the name of saving trees – to let the nice employees wrap all the china.
My shopping spree cost me a total of $21.08. Big spender.
And then came dinnertime. Despite my weekly menu planning, I often screw it up and have to scramble in the middle of the week to find something to eat. Enter: Mexican Lasagna.
This is not really a lasagna in the traditional sense at all, but for lack of a better description, this is what I came up with. It’s really just an organized pile of Mexican-inspired ingredients that ends up rather tasty after you pull it out of the oven.Print
For the Rice:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup short-grain white rice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/3 cup cooking sherry
- 2 cups vegetable broth
For the Veggies:
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
- 3 small carrots, shaved into ribbons
- 4-5 corn tortillas
- 1 can refried beans
- 1/2 cup enchilada sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced
- Cotija cheese (optional)
- Sour cream (optional)
For the Rice:
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice just barely starts to brown. Add the minced garlic and spices and stir vigorously until evenly distributed.
- Add the cooking sherry, mix, and let simmer 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook 20 minutes, until tender.
For the Veggies:
- While the rice cooks, prep the veggies. Heat a bit more olive oil in a skillet. Add the veggies all at once and cook about 5 minutes, until they just lose their shape but are still a bit crunchy.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 1-quart casserole dish.
- Arrange tortillas on the bottom of your pan so that they do not overlap too much (you may need to cut them in half). Spread half of the beans over the tortillas and top with 1/4 cup enchilada sauce. Place half of the veggies on top of this and cover with a layer of tomatoes. Cover the tomatoes with some rice
- Repeat the previous step for another layer, finishing with tomatoes. Top cheese, if using, and bake for 15 minutes.
- To serve, top with sour cream, guacamole, and cilantro, if using.
If you’re short on time, do nothing more than make the rice. It is incredible, and I could eat the whole batch with a spoon straight out of the pan. It’s a bit spicy, so decrease the amount of cayenne if you’re sensitive. If you add too much, you can try these tips for cooling down your meal.
What about you? What would you add to this dish to “spice it up?” Be sure to let us know in the comments below and give this recipe a rating at the same time!
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Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on April 23rd, 2014. Last updated: April 6, 2018 at 12:40 pm.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now being merged into Foodal).