The remedy for getting back into the swing, and keeping yourself and your family healthy, is to have homemade meals you can prepare in advance (or order from The Wildflower Chef!) and bake in less than 30 minutes. For these reasons, I’m a huge fan of summer casseroles. Utilizing the most abundant, seasonal ingredients, I can make a filling dinner with leftovers to spare.
Traditionally, when we think of casseroles we often conjure images of unappealing ingredients, like canned tuna, cream soup, and processed cheese. However, casseroles are making a wholesome comeback. In fact, our local Pennsylvania newspaper, Daily Local News, recently featured some fresh takes on summer casseroles— and they asked me to contribute a recipe!
To give my clients’ casseroles an honest, real-foods makeover, I incorporate a lot of delicious vegetables, lean meats, and gluten-free alternatives, like spaghetti squash. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- Chicken & Rice Bake: Broccoli and broth put a healthy spin on a retro classic.
- Spaghetti Squash: Topped with marinara sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, and spinach, this is my low-carb, gluten-free go-to.
- Ratatouille: Use up the last of the summer squash (or eggplant) by layering it with sliced tomatoes and baking it in a casserole dish.
Vegan & Gluten-Free Enchilada Casserole
(Based on a recipe for Vegan Enchiladas from OhSheGlows.com)
1 cup sweet potato, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls spinach, chopped
2½ cups enchilada sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1½ tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice or to taste
Salt, to taste
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)
Chopped cilantro and green onions, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch-by-8-inch casserole dish or whatever you have on hand (more on this later). Precook the chopped sweet potato by simmering it in a small pot of water for about 5 to 10 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and reduce heat to low and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the chopped pepper, precooked sweet potato, black beans, and spinach. Cook for about 5 to 7 more minutes on medium-low heat.
- Next, add enchilada sauce to the skillet. Stir well and add cumin, lime juice, salt, garlic powder, and chili powder. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Scoop about ¾ to 1 cup of the mixture onto the bottom of your casserole dish and spread out in a thin layer. Begin layering tortillas and filling, alternating, until casserole dish is filled. (I have done this in very small individual pans or in larger casserole dishes. You want to end up with 3 layers of tortillas. You can overlap their edges a bit.) Sprinkle with vegan cheese if preferred.
- Bake tortillas for 20 to 25 minutes. Top with cilantro and green onion.
Free Consultations with The Wildflower Chef: Need help in the kitchen now that school is in session? I’m offering complimentary 20-minute food consultations for anyone looking for healthy meal prep tips. Click here to schedule your timeslot. Offer ends September 30, 2016.