The simple exchange of corn tortillas for wheat pasta in this lasagna recipe completely transforms this dish. It takes it out of the conventional and makes it feel new. And once you see where this recipe is heading, you can play along, adding fresh corn from your garden or the farmer’s market, for example, and garnishing with cilantro. This recipe calls for conventional tomato sauce but also salsa, as well as chili powder and cumin. And you can make the traditional lasagna filling of ricotta or cottage cheese, but add a little garlic and a sprinkle of oregano to make things more interesting.
Because of the corn tortillas, lasagna is gluten-free. It’s a recipe I shared in my cookbook Unbelievably Gluten-Free. Old meets new in a fresh, authentic way. And did I mention that this is a great do-ahead recipe for parties because you can freeze it, thaw and bake until bubbly?
MEXICAN LASAGNA RECIPE:
Serves: 6 to 8 | Prep: 20 to 25 minutes | Bake: 30 to 35 minutes
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the baking dish
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
Olive oil, as needed
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup tomato salsa
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pound ricotta or low-fat, small curd cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or crumbled cojito cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
12 corn tortillas (8 inches in diameter)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack, Colby or Cheddar cheese
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Most a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray and set it aside.
Crumble the beef or turkey into a large nonstick frying pan, and place it over medium heat. If the meat sticks to the pan, add a little olive oil. Cook, stirring, until the heat is cooked through and browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain off the fat. Add the corn, tomato sauce, salsa, chili powder, and cumin. Stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer over medium-low until the flavors come together, 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the ricotta or cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan or cojita, oregano, and garlic in a medium-size bowl and stir to combine.
To assemble the lasagna, overlap 6 tortillas in the baking dish. Spread half of the meat mixture evenly onto the tortillas. Spoon all of the cheese mixture on top of the meat. Layer the remaining corn tortillas over this, and top with the remaining meat mixture. cover with foil and place in the oven.
Bake until the lasagna heats through, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, remove the foil, sprinkle the cheese over the top, replace the foil, and let the lasagna rest on the counter 20 minutes for the cheese to melt. After serving, any leftovers can be reheated at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.