Healthy Mexican Casserole with ground turkey, veggies and beans layered between tortillas and baked until gooey cheese on top. A healthy comfort meal loaded with classic Mexican flavors!
Mexican casserole with tortillas has layers of juicy seasoned meat, sauteed peppers and mushrooms, beans, and a tasty tomato sauce. All in one bite- like deconstructed Mexican stuffed peppers!
Busy weeknights are no match for this easy Mexican casserole because it is a great make ahead meal to have ready to pop in the oven an hour before you’re ready to eat. Have it on the weekend for a lazy Sunday dinner and have leftovers for lunch the next day.
This is the best casserole for serving a crowd. Your guests will be so impressed at how delicious it is and never know how easy it really is. In fact, I love to serve up one-pot meals whenever I can; lazy cabbage rolls, Instant Pot vegetarian chili, chicken burrito skillet, turkey and zucchini skillet… there are tons to choose from!
Ingredients for Healthy Mexican Casserole
- Ground meat: You can use ground turkey, chicken, or beef. Your choice will alter the flavour of the dish slightly, but either choice is just as delicious.
- Veggies: Chopped onion, minced garlic, chopped bell peppers, sliced mushrooms. You can also use whatever veggies you have in your fridge. This recipe is very flexible so use whatever you’d like!
- Seasonings: Low sodium taco seasoning, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne.
- Oil: For frying. Can use olive oil, coconut oil or I use avocado oil.
- Beans and corn: Low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained. Can replace with refried beans. Fresh, frozen, or canned corn.
- Spice: Diced green chiles. You can also use minced jalapeno. Remember the heat comes from the seeds! The amount is at your discretion.
- Tomato sauce: Low sodium plain tomato sauce.
- Cheese: Cheddar, Tex Mex, or Colby shredded cheese. Grate your own – it melts better.
- Tortillas: Small corn tortillas. You can also use regular flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are thicker, and sturdier and will hold up to moisture better than flour tortillas will. The difference will be in the texture and taste of the casserole.
- Optional garnish and toppings: Green onion, cilantro, lime, yogurt/sour cream and avocado (or guac).
- Cooking spray: I use Misto, but you can use what you have.
How to Make Mexican Casserole
- Prep: Preheat the oven and spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. This casserole is tall, so make sure to use a deep dish (they vary!). Preheat a large non-stick skillet and swirl oil to coat.
- Saute: First saute onion and garlic for a few minutes. Then add bell pepper and mushrooms for a few minutes. Sauteing in stages helps to avoid extra moisture and achieve fragrant veggies. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add meat: Now cook ground turkey, constantly stirring and breaking up the meat. Once fully cooked through, transfer to the bowl with the veggies.
- Combine everything: Add remaining ingredients to the bowl: taco seasoning, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, black beans, green chiles, corn, and most of the tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Layer: Lay 6 tortillas in prepared baking dish. They will overlap a bit. Spread half of the meat/veggie mixture, topping with 4 tortillas. Top with more meat/veggie mixture, finishing with 6 tortillas overlapping. Spread remaining tomato sauce on top.
- Bake: Cover the dish and bake until almost done. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese, baking uncovered until cheese has melted.
- Cool: Remove from the oven and let stand. Allowing it to cool to warm will allow for neater slices. Garnish with optional green onion and cilantro. Cut into slices with a serrated knife and serve warm with lime wedges, diced avocado, and yogurt/sour cream.
Variations and Substitutions
- Substitutions: Sub corn tortillas with 3 cups cooked quinoa. Use Rotel, a delicious blend of tomato and green chili, in place of tomato sauce. Replace ground meat with 3 cups cooked shredded chicken.
- Vegetarian: Omit the meat or use crumbled tofu/meat substitute and you’ve got yourself a vegetarian Mexican casserole!
- Level up: In place of avocado, make delicious guacamole.
- Leftovers: If you have leftover meat and veggie mixture, use it as a topping for nachos, inside tacos or burritos, or a delicious topping to a green salad!
How to Store, Freeze and Reheat
Storing: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freezing: If you are making it ahead of time, allow assembled and unbaked casserole to cool completely. Wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and cover with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. If freezing leftovers, store in an airtight freezer friendly container.
Reheating: Allow casserole to thaw on the counter for 45 minutes to prevent the dish from shattering. Then bake as per recipe adding about 20 minutes. If casserole is cooked, reheat in the oven while covered for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
More Healthy Casserole Recipes
- Spaghetti squash casserole
- Ground turkey quinoa casserole
- Turkey pasta bake
- Healthy chicken and rice casserole
- Hashbrown breakfast casserole
- Cabbage roll casserole
Healthy Mexican Casserole
- 1 lb ground turkey chicken or beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 large bell peppers finely chopped
- 5 oz brown mushrooms sliced
- 2 tsp taco seasoning low sodium
- 1 tsp chili powder low sodium
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne to taste
- 1 tbsp oil for frying
- 15 oz can low sodium black beans rinsed & drained
- 4 oz can diced green chiles
- 2 cups corn fresh or frozen
- 2 x 15 oz cans tomato sauce low sodium
- 16 small corn tortillas 5 inch
- 2 cups cheddar tex Mex or Colby cheese, shredded
- Green onion cilantro, lime, for garnish (optional)
- Yogurt/sour cream and avocado for serving (optional)
- Cooking spray I use Misto
- Prep: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray large 9 by 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat.
- Cook veggies: Add onion and garlic, saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add bell pepper and mushrooms; saute for another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large bowl and return skillet to the stove.
- Cook meat: To the skillet, add ground turkey and saute for 5 minutes, constantly stirring and breaking into small pieces with spatula. Transfer to the bowl with veggies.
- Combine: Add remaining ingredients to the bowl: taco seasoning, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne, black beans, green chiles, corn and 1 1/2 cans of tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Assemble: Lay 6 tortillas in previously prepared baking dish overlapping a bit. Spread half of meat veggie mixture, topping with 4 tortillas, followed by remaining meat mixture, finishing with 6 tortillas overlapping and spread remaining tomato sauce on top.
- Bake: Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
- Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with green onion and cilantro, cut into 8 slices with serrated knife and serve warm with lime wedges, avocado and yogurt/sour cream, if desired.
Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Make ahead: Assemble and cool casserole. Then wrap tightly with 2 layers of plastic wrap and then foil on top. Freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, warm up on a counter for 30 minutes to prevent dish from shattering and bake as per recipe from frozen adding 15-20 minutes.
- Use veggies you have on hand, they are flexible.
- Replace diced green chiles with minced jalapeño. Amount of seeds will make casserole less or more spicy.
- Use refried beans in place of black beans.
- Flour or any other tortillas are OK.
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