This Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole is so simple to put together and freezes well for mindful, quick dinners that the entire family will enjoy. This dish is stuffed with loads of black beans (my favorite), corn, peppers, and onions. After you’ve filled your plates at dinner, you’ll be SO glad you have a second serving of this delicious recipe in the freezer for another night! I know what you might be thinking, “why make more work for myself and make two servings”. I’ll tell you why, because there is no greater feeling when the family is running around and you lose track of time and refuse to start cooking at 6 o’clock at night than having a delicious dinner premade and ready for you in the freezer, that’s why.
A Make-Ahead Vegetarian Meal to Freeze
Finally, a make-ahead freezer-friendly casserole recipe that doesn’t taste like soggy leftovers the next day. All vegetarians, celebrate this excellent accomplishment. If you are not a vegetarian or accustom to vegetarian dishes, you should know that this is typically an impossible thing to achieve. If you are like me, making a mindful meal during the week is a CHALLENGE. My motivation to cook after a long day of work is essentially zero and I am OK with everyone being aware of that.
I know you all listen to me say this all the time, but it is tough to keep nutrition top of mind after a long day of work. I long for nothing more than comfy slippers and a nice slice of pizza from my local pizzeria. The problem is, that is not a practical weekly solution for dinner, and you and I both know it. I am proud to say that my takeout menu box has collected a significant amount of dust over the last year, and I have every intention of keeping it that way. With this goal in mind, I am always on the web searching for mindful meals that require less than an hour of preparation and cook time. I adore south of the border flavors and combine with that the ease of putting together this casserole, and you’ve hit dinner gold.
You could go super simple with this and just use the beans and throw in some frozen corn, especially if your freezer is on the light side these days. With that option, you could have this ready to go in no time.
Another option is to do it up with extra veggies — broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, or chunks of butternut squash are all wonderful in enchiladas. They’re also conveniently some of the only items left in my freezer at the moment.
I use Sunkissed Kitchen’s homemade enchilada sauce in this recipe. It makes a large batch (more than you’ll need for this recipe!), so you can also freeze the extra and use it later on down the road.
Tips to Freeze Your Dinners
You have several options when preparing this meal.
One, as Sunkissed Kitchen has done in these photos, use a huge pan, and make a giant casserole. This is enough for several meals. I like to take slices of it and freeze them individually because I am only one person and despite my best efforts, I have not successfully eaten an entire tray in one night. When I am ready to enjoy one, I just have to pop it in my Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven, set it on the Reheat function, and it goes from frozen to tasting fresh as fast as I can prepare a side salad.
The second option is to make 2 small casseroles that will easily feed a family of 4. Dinner is ready for the night, and you have a second to freeze.
I use 2 8×8 pans when I do it this way, and one goes into my Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven to bake. The second gets wrapped in foil and then put in a freezer bag to stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months (however, it’s typically only a couple of days before we pull it out! Maybe I should make 4 at a time.).
Besides cooking 1/3 faster in my Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven, it also makes reheating things a dream! The steam keeps everything moist, all while browning and crisping (do you see the gorgeous crunchy bits on this casserole?). There’s no need to defrost or plan ahead to prepare the 2nd casserole — it will take 7-10 minutes longer to bake if you’re starting from frozen, but that’s no big deal at all!
If you are baking in a standard oven, I recommend pulling your casserole out to defrost 1-2 hours before baking. Then, bake as usual.
Tips for Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
- Switch it Up: I use corn tortillas in this recipe, but flour would work as a substitute. Also, customize the veggies to suit your taste or to use up what you have in the refrigerator. Spinach works well, and broccoli chopped fine would also be useful. If your kids are finicky about vegetables, chopped zucchini or cauliflower also blend into the sauce and cheese and could be a great way to sneak in a few more.
- Make it Gluten Free: Corn tortillas are gluten-free unless you buy the “soft” corn tortillas, which have wheat flour.
- Save time: Buy frozen corn, and use veggies that don’t need to be sautéed first. Finely chopped broccoli or cauliflower, or spinach, mixed with frozen corn, would be excellent without pre-cooking.
- Make it Ahead: See instructions above for freezing this casserole. It is also fine to keep it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before baking if preferred.
- Increase the Protein: Using leftover or rotisserie chicken is a great way to add protein to this meal if you don’t want to keep it vegetarian
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
- Superheated Steam Countertop Oven
- 4 cups enchilada sauce 1/2 recipe of homemade enchilada sauce
- 12-15 corn tortillas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions minced
- 2 ears corn (sub 2 cups frozen corn)
- 2 bell peppers, chopped (I used 1 green, 1 yellow)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 can black beans 15 ounce
- 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cilantro (optional, to garnish)
- In a bowl, add chopped onions and peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt.
- Add peppers and onions to the broiling tray, and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- When the veggies are roasted, put them back in the bowl, and add the black beans and corn. Mix to combine.
- In an 11x11 pan, add 1/4 cup enchilada sauce to the bottom, and then add the first layer of tortillas. If you do not have a pan this size, you can split this recipe into 2 8x8 pans.
- On top of the tortillas, add a layer of the black bean and veggie mixture. Top with cheese.
- Repeat until there are 4 layers of tortillas, and 3 layers of veggies, black beans, and cheese.
- On top of the final layer of tortillas, add 1/4 cup sauce and the rest of the cheese.
- Bake uncovered at 425 for 25 minutes.