It’s about time you met the vegetarian option at my family’s Thanksgiving—enchilada casserole! When I stopped eating meat several years ago, my mom was totally flummoxed on how to feed me. Granted, I was already a full-grown adult at this point, but she’s my mom and she likes to make sure I’m well fed.
Mom has a small repertoire of go-to recipes, and while we were growing up, Mexican “lasagna” was one of them. I always refused to eat it because I didn’t like ground beef (picky little Kate strikes again).
When I came across this recipe for a stacked enchilada casserole full of roasted vegetables and spinach, I sent it her way. It was a hit with the whole family, and so it joined her repertoire of recipes. She makes it (or just the roasted vegetables) for Christmas and birthdays, too.
Of course, I couldn’t help but tinker with the original recipe. I simplified the veggies a bit and divided them across two pans for maximum caramelization. Then I added some black beans for protein, and discovered that Monterey Jack produces an infinitely better end result than cheddar does.
Watch How to Make Enchilada Casserole
I wasn’t really sure what to call this recipe—Mexican casserole? Enchilada casserole? Stacked enchiladas? I’m leaning toward “enchilada casserole recipe,” even though this recipe calls for salsa instead of enchilada sauce. I tried it with both, but it’s easier to make and turns out better with salsa.
I hope this one’s a hit at your house! Please let me know how it turns out in the comments.
Enchilada Casserole Serving Suggestions
- Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
- Fresh Herbed Avocado Salad
- Mexican Brown Rice, as shown in these photos
- Mexican Green Salad with Jalapeño-Cilantro Dressing, or a simplified version
- Skinny Margaritas
More Mexican-ish Recipes to Try
If you love this recipe, check out the following recipes with Mexican influences, or browse all of my Mexican recipes here.
- Loaded Veggie Nachos
- Spinach Artichoke Enchiladas
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
- Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
- Veggie Black Bean Enchiladas
Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Vegetarian
This roasted veggie enchilada casserole recipe is a hearty, vegetable-packed dinner loaded with fresh Mexican flavors! It’s a great gluten-free main dish. Recipe yields 6 to 8 servings.
- ½ medium head of cauliflower, cut into ½-inch chunks
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1” squares
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into wedges about ½” wide
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ¼ cups (18 ounces) red salsa, either homemade or jarred*
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
- 9 to 10 corn tortillas**, halved
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans
- 2 big handfuls (about 2 ounces) baby spinach leaves
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- To roast the veggies (this can be done up to 2 days in advance): Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent the vegetables from sticking.
- On one pan, combine the cauliflower and sweet potato. On the other pan, combine the bell peppers and onion. Drizzle half of the olive oil over one pan, and the other half over the other pan. Same with the cumin.
- Sprinkle both pans lightly with salt and pepper, then toss each one until the vegetables are lightly coated in oil and spices, adding another light drizzle of olive oil if necessary. Arrange the vegetables in an even layer across each pan. Bake until the vegetables are tender and caramelized on the edges, about 30 to 35 minutes, tossing the veggies and swapping the pans halfway.
- When you’re ready to assemble, reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9″ square baker. Stir the cilantro into the salsa.
- To assemble, spread ½ cup salsa evenly over the bottom of the baking pan. Add a single layer of halved tortilla pieces, arranging them so they completely cover the salsa.
- Top with ½ of the beans, ⅓ of the vegetables, ½ of the of spinach, and ⅓ of the cheese.
- Make a second layer of tortillas (I pressed down on the mixture a little here to make room for the next layers). Top with ½ of the remaining salsa, all of the remaining beans, ½ of the remaining vegetables, all of the remaining spinach, and ½ of the remaining cheese.
- Make a third layer of tortillas (again, I pressed down to make more room). Top with the remaining salsa, vegetables, and cheese.
- Cover the pan with parchment paper (I tent mine in the middle and wrap the edges around the handles) or aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake for 10 more minutes, or until heated through.
- Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes, to give it time to set and reach a palatable temperature. Before serving, sprinkle the top lightly with additional chopped cilantro.
Recipe adapted from Perry’s Plate.
*Salsa suggestions: I recommend a mild to medium salsa here, depending on your heat preferences. I used Trader Joe’s basic “Salsa Authentica” option here, which I don’t love on its own, but it was great mixed with cilantro and the other ingredients. My mom loves Target’s medium roasted tomato and chipotle salsa (Archer Farms brand), which lends a smoky note. Or, make your own salsa—here’s my favorite salsa recipe—and you can really minimize the sodium content by choosing low-sodium tomatoes and keeping the salt low.
Make it dairy free/vegan: I haven’t tried (let me know if you do), but I’m confident that you could replace the cheese with cashew sour cream. If the end result is a little dry, just top individual servings with a little more salsa.
**Make it gluten free: Be sure to use 100% corn/certified gluten-free tortillas.
Serving suggestions: This recipe would be awesome with a side of Mexican rice (recipe coming soon) and/or simple seedy slaw.
Storage suggestions: This casserole keeps well, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.
Change it up: You could change up the vegetables used here as long as you use about the same volume. You could also add another can of beans to up the protein content.
I didn’t quite follow this as is because I wanted to use what we had on hand and not go out to the store. What I made was pretty good and I will make it again.
Changes in what I made compared to the recipe as written:
I did not have any red peppers so I used a poblano pepper and a few sweet red peppers, the red skinny ones with thinner flesh.
I did not have Monterey Jack cheese so I used a combination of extra sharp cheddar and crumbled queso fresco. I thought of using some crumbled feta instead of the queso fresco and that probably would have been better. As an aside, I never buy shredded cheese and always shred my own. I think that the cellulose powder or whatever it is that they put in pre-shredded cheese to keep it from sticking together, negatively affects the cheese. It’s just not s good.
My jar of salsa was only 16 ounces so that was a bit light. Also, I used a cheap store-bought salsa that I had on hand in the pantry since the winter. It wasn’t bad but next time I’ll use better quality salsa or homemade salsa. After we ate I was thinking that some diced-up chipotle peppers in adobo would have been a good addition to the salsa along with the cilantro. But, as I said, I did not want to go out to the store.
We had a leftover ear of sweet corn from a meal earlier in the week so I cut the kernels off and added them to the beans. Summer corn on the cob is the best and I like that addition.
The next time I will also use a different casserole dish. We don’t have a 9″ square one so I used an 8 1/2″ corning dish, the one that has the glass lid. It’s not quite square because it has rounded corners. It worked OK but the top of the casserole was up pretty high despite me pushing it down when adding layers. Because it was so thick I think I could have cooked it a little longer or at a higher temperature. I have a Le Creuset roaster that isn’t square but would have been better and I’ll use that next time.
Overall a great recipe that also makes great leftovers.
For a side, I made a version of your Mexican brown rice and avocado slices. The rice wasn’t quite the same either because I did not read ahead on the recipe and didn’t realize it was in the oven as long as it was. I followed your basic idea but did it on the stovetop instead.
This has quickly become a family favorite! Thanks for all the great recipes!
This was a hit. Roasted all of the vegetables 2 days earlier which made the assembly quick. I added some corn to the beans & used two good size sweet potatoes. Flavor was perfect. Paired it with some Spanish rice. Lots of leftovers for us to enjoy.
Thank you for sharing, Mary! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
We love this! I’ve made it four times. Once for book group and for our family. I mix petite chopped tomatoes with the salsa so as to not have it too hot. Otherwise make it exactly the same as recipe using Mexican shredded cheese. Thanks for the yummy vegetarian recipe!
You’re welcome, Susan! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Absolutely incredible!! I made the dish in two separate pans, one with added shredded chicken for my husband and it was a huge hit. I took some to my grandma and she said it was her new favorite C+K recipe that I’ve made for her!
Delicious! As soon as I saw this I couldn’t wait to make it – and it did not disappoint! Quick (in terms of prep time) and fairly simple, but SO YUMMY. My whole family loved it.
I’m so glad you made it, Kaitlin! I appreciate your review.
So delish in a 9 inch dish!
This is simply a wonderful recipe!
Because I used the whole cauliflower and and an extra sweet potato, I could press it down enough to get all the layers, so we made two 9×13 casseroles, and got even more delicious servings!
BTW, I just got your book as a birthday present. It is beautiful! Looking forward to reading it. I’ve been enjoying your recopies for awhile now and wanted to have your book and show my support for your website. Thanks!
Everyone, GET THIS BOOK!
Hooray! I’m glad you love this recipe and got my cookbook. Be sure to let me know what recipes you love, Larry!
We loved it, Thank you so much! I am looking forward to trying your other recipes and will definitely spread the word about your website.
Thank you, Marlene! I’m delighted you enjoyed it.
I’ve made this twice using your recipe for Every Day Red Salsa and it was wonderful. This time I forgot to add the spinach so I threw some on top and made a salad with the rest, and it was still very good. Next time I make it I’ll bake it in a 9×13 pan and use the whole cauliflower as another reviewer Love the leftovers!
That’s great to hear, Jacqui! Thank you for your review.
That was so delicious! I tried it for the first time tonight, wasn’t sure about the salsa, but the rest it is amazing. It’s one of my favorite vegetarian dishes!
I think this is the best Mexican casserole I have ever made! The roasted vegetables were amazing and my husband didn’t even mention the absence of meat!! I served it on a bed of finely shredded romaine and topped it with a big dollop of homemade chunky guac and a drizzle of plain Greek yogurt. We had sliced fruit with yogurt/honey dressing, which was so refreshing along with the casserole. There are only 2 of us, so I have 4 more meals “for 2” freezing and we can’t wait to enjoy this again… and again… and again… and again!!!
Was it a bit time-consuming to make?… Sure!! Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!!! I think when I make this again – which I will – I will add sliced black olives.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for creating and sharing this over-the-top yummy recipe.
Hooray! I’m glad you love it, Bobette.
This sounds delicious and the comments are incredible. But I can’t tolerate cilantro. If I leave it out, what should I substitute it with? Thanks
You can omit it if you prefer, Suzanne.
I adore this recipe and have made it numerous times over the past few years for my husband and me.
I’ve never tried freezing this dish, as I usually scarf it all in a few days, but I was wondering if that might be an option.
That’s great to hear, KT! I appreciate your review.
I cannot tell you how many times we have made this….in winter it’s such a hearty lunch to take into work and he batch covers lunch for a few days! Hearty and healthy….
I love to hear that, Kerry! Thank you for your review.
I need this to serve 8 adults so I’m thinking of making 1 1/2 version of the recipe. Would you then make it in a 9×13 cassrole?
It may be too much, but I’m not sure without trying it. Sorry! Let me know how it turns out, Lisa.
Hi! I’m thinking about this for a savory Easter brunch item on my buffet- could I make and assemble the day before then bake in the morning? Thank you!
I haven’t tried it. It may get soggy. But I do know it can freeze ok based on other comments. Let me know if you try preparing in advance!
Oh freezing it would be even better- frozen prior to baking or after it’s baked?
We love this dish! It’s the most requested one by the grandkids. Can it be put together and frozen to be eaten at a later date?
Others have tried it and didn’t mind the results. Let me know what you think, Pam!
I came across this recipe because I was looking to make something a little different for the family. Oh my gosh was this a huge hit! My mother-in-law who normally doesn’t care for veggies, she ate every bite and loved it. I can’t say enough about this wonderful recipe. I followed the instructions exactly except I make your red salsa to put in it. This is going to be a family staple from now on. I also just ordered your book! Thank you for sharing these awesome recipes :)
I was so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog, Cookie. I had a dog I was similarly close to and lost and it is so painful. I admire the work you do and I appreciate your ethics.
I am told I am a good cook and take pride in what I serve and I can always count on your recipes to meet my standards.
Though it has been 6 years since I lost my Libby, and I have 2 other dogs and a cat now, it is not the same. No dog will be able to replace my sweet girl. She used to like to take walks through the neighbourhood, and twice she brought food home to her pack (us) without having touched it herself—one time it was fries from Chick-fil-a, and once it was a Lunchable. Can you imagine the restraint? She was the best dog ever. I can tell by what you wrote that you loved your Cookie the same. Bless you. I am sorry for your loss.
I will be making this recipe tonight—along with the avocado salad. They both look YUM!
Thank you for sharing, LM.
Great looking recipe! In the notes there is a reference (Or, make your own salsa—here’s my favorite salsa recipe—and you can really minimize the sodium content by choosing low-sodium tomatoes and keeping the salt low). I don’t see any link to your favorite salsa recipe.
Will be making this soon!