Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vegetarian Recipe for Green Chile and Pinto Bean Layered Mexican Casserole

Vegetarian Green Chile and Pinto Bean Layered Mexican Casserole
This Vegetarian Green Chile and Pinto Bean Layered Mexican Casserole is a perfect Meatless Monday dish

This new recipe for A Month of Daily Phase One Recipes is the firstborn child of my Green Chile Mexican Casserole with Ground Beef and Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken (that are also Phase One), and once Jake and I had the idea of trying to create a vegetarian casserole with some of those same flavors, it took us three tries to get it right.  But this final version is a definite winner, with all the flavors that make bean and green chile burritos such a favorite of many people.  Even though casseroles aren't too photogenic, I love them for the way the flavors combine to make a sum that's greater than the parts, and a leftover casserole like this in the fridge is always a nice benefit.

Dried beans are a limited food for Phase One of the South Beach Diet, but in a dish like this with other ingredients like whole green chiles, green bell pepper, and cheese, you can eat a moderate serving.  Still, I wouldn't have more than the 1/8 serving size I'm listing if you're eating this for Phase One.  And of course, this is my Meatless Monday dish for this week, and I'm betting the whole family will like this one.  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)

Some people have told me they can't find the whole green chiles that I use to layer in these casseroles, but in Salt Lake I can find them at several stores, near the Mexican food.  If your store doesn't have them, I'd try a Mexican market.  (If you need gluten-free be sure to choose a brand of green chile sauce that doesn't contain wheat.  One is La Victoria.)

Drain the pinto beans into a colander and rinse with cold water.

In a different colander, drain the whole green chiles.

Heat the oil in a large pan, then saute onions, green peppers, minced garlic, and ground cumin.  Season with a little salt.

Add the drained pinto beans, cook about 3-4 minutes, then mash slightly.

Add the green chile enchilada sauce and cook until it's mostly absorbed by the beans, then turn off heat and stir in the sour cream.

One at a time, open the whole chiles with your fingers and wipe with paper towels to dry them and remove seeds.  Make into two stacks.

Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray and make a layer of half the green chiles.

Then make a layer with half the bean mixture.

Followed by a layer with half the cheese.

Make another layer each of whole green chiles, bean mixture, and cheese.

Bake with the lid on or covered with foil at 375F/190C for about 30 minutes.

Then remove the lid and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and the top is starting to brown.  (You can put it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown more if desired.)  Serve hot.

Vegetarian Green Chile and Pinto Bean Layered Mexican Casserole
(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn and Jake with inspiration from Green Chile Mexican Casserole with Ground Beef and Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken.)

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped small
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
salt to taste
2 cans (15 oz. each) pinto beans
1 can (27 oz.) whole green chiles (Mild green chiles, not jalapenos)
1 cup Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (from a 15 oz. can; you can freeze the rest.  Use a gluten-free brand like La Victoria for gluten-free)
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
2 cups low-fat grated cheddar cheese (I used Four Cheese Mexican Blend from Costco.)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Spray an 8X8 inch glass or crockery casserole dish with non-stick spray.  (I used my favorite Anchor Hocking 12 Cup Bake-and-Store Glass Casserole Dish, but any dish that's close to this size will work.)

Drain the pinto beans into a colander, spray with cold water until no more foam appears, and let beans drain.  In another colander drain the whole green chiles.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and peppers and saute 4-5 minutes, until they are just starting to brown.  Add garlic, cumin, and salt and cook another minute or two, then add the drained beans and cook 3-4 minute, then mash the beans slightly.  (We used a potato masher, but you can use a large fork.)  Add the cup of green chile enchilada sauce and simmer until the sauce is mostly absorbed by the beans.  Then turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.

While the bean mixture is cooking, open the whole chiles with your fingers and wipe with paper towels to dry them and remove seeds.  (This will take about 10 paper towels, but don't skip this step.)  Divide the chiles into two stacks.

In the casserole dish make a layer with half the whole green chiles, half the bean mixture, and half the cheese.  Follow with another layer each of whole green chiles, bean mixture and cheese.

Cover the casserole with the lid or with foil and bake about 30 minutes, or until cheese is all melted.  Remove the lid and bake about 20 minutes more, until casserole is bubbling and starting to brown on top.  (You can put it under the broiler for a few minutes if it seems done but you'd like the cheese more brown.)  Serve hot, with condiments like salsa, Green Tabasco Sauce, sour cream, or guacamole if desired.

This will keep in the refrigerator for several days and also freezes well. 

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South Beach Suggestions:
Dried beans are a low-glycemic ingredient that's allowed for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but serving size is limited for Phase One.  Be sure not to eat more than the 1/8 casserole serving size if you're eating this for Phase One.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Phase One Meatless Main Dishes:
Cauliflower-Crust Vegetarian Pizza with Mushrooms and Olives
Vegan Picadillo Lentil Stew with Sweet Bell Peppers and Green Olives
Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Greek Lentil Soup with Tomatoes, Spinach, and Feta
Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro   

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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  1. Yes, please. I bought one of these casserole dishes, on your recommendation, and I've been playing around with all sorts of bean, cheese and chile casseroles. Can't wait to try this one.

  2. Lydia if you like bean and green chile burritos, you'll love this!

  3. I love a good casserole and especially one with all of these great Mexican flavors!

  4. I'm so excited to try this tonight! Thanks for the recipe!!

  5. Yum!! This sounds delicious. I was looking for a group dish to bring for Super Bowl Sunday and I just found it! :)

  6. Green Chile and Pinto Bean reipe is so nice.Surely i will prepare this weekend.Thanks

  7. This is making me hungry! Something about winter makes me crave casseroles.

  8. I made this the other night, but added chicken(more protein)I loved it and my husband was licking his plate! We had a lot left over, since we both have just had weight loss surgery.I will definitly make it again, but freeze or make half of the recipe.

  9. Kalyn, I really loved this casserole. I too had trouble finding whole green chills, even at a Mexican market. Finally found them at Meijer.
    For our taste, it needed more spice, so we just added at the table. Maybe the next time I make it I might incorporate more spice into the casserole itself.
    Thanks for this recipe!

  10. Made this tonight for dinner -- what delicious comfort food! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. This sounds fantastic! I just made a big batch of pinto beans and am looking for ways to use them up.

  12. I'm so glad you posted this. I was looking for a yummy Mexican themed casserole for a barbecue on Saturday. This looks like just the thing!

  13. Great phase one meatless monday! Different from all the typical mexican dishes i make over and over! I did add a dash or two of jala
    peno hot sauce. My husband went for seconds.. unusual on meatless monday lol Thanks for all you do Kalyin.. you are me new "go to" for just about every thing I make!

  14. Thanks Lisa; so glad it was a hit!


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