Sunday, 22 November 2009

Mexican Lasagne and our Jetset Baby

The suitcases are almost packed and the perishable food in our kitchen is almost gone. By the time you read this we will probably be flying to Scotland. Hence, the cooking in our house lately, has been of the fridge-clearing type. I have tried hard not to be tempted to buy too much food. Instead I have turned my attention to odds and ends that need using.

I found a packet of corn tortillas that I had bought in a moment of enthusiasm and were now past their use by date. It seemed an ideal time to make tortilla stacks. Usually I layer wheat tortillas and chilli non carne, cover with cheese and cook for about 15-20 minutes. But I had some rice leftover from using up boxed curry one at the end of a tiring day. I remembered using rice in my burritos and decided to put it in the tortilla stack and it somehow morphed into a Mexican Lasagne with lots of layers. Perhaps inspired by my recent visit to the Tart ‘n’ Round Café, I made it both gluten free and vegan.

It was a success. Layers of rice and vegetables, tomato sauce, tofu cheese sauce and my attempt at Philippa’s parasalmond, it was a rich and interesting combination of colours, flavours and textures. I didn’t miss either wheat or dairy but it was lighter than a conventional lasagne. However, this is not always a bad thing. In the heatwave that followed making it, I was quite glad of a light main meal for a couple of nights that we could just pop in the microwave.

I am glad it worked because it was my last great cooking project before we go. Since then dinner has been made up of whatever needs using. I made a crustless quiche of mushrooms, spinach and vegie sausages, and have used some sausages and pasta sauce from the freezer.

Before I go, a few more quick notes. Thanks Ashley at Eat Me Delicious for sending me an One Lovely Blog award. I also wanted to comment on two arguements that I have heard recently. One came from a hardened omnivore, Sarah Palin, who said “If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat.” (Check out Jugalbandi’s post for an entertaining commentary on this.) If you believe this then surely you would also think it is ok to eat humans. The other comment from a vegan that seemed to not be thought through was that “we are the only species to drink another animal’s milk”. But if we are just following other species’ examples then surely we wouldn’t farm, wouldn’t cook and would forage for nuts and seeds and occasionally kill other species to eat. Just shows that both omnivores and vegans don’t always think about the implications of their arguments when they justify their diets.

But enough procrastinating! I will leave you with my Mexican Lasagne and return to my suitcases and my jetset baby. I expect this blog to be quiet for a few weeks. I am not quite sure what sort of internet access we will have in Scotland but I imagine we will wont have time for much blogging. I hope however to tell you about some good food in Scotland in the not too distant future.

Mexican Lasagne
Serves 6

Tomato sauce:

  • 2 x 400g tins of diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 chipotle chilli in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup lager beer
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (salt free)
  • 400g tin of kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Rice and vegetable filling:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • half a bunch of kale, finely sliced
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, thinly chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, finely chopped
  • handful cooked and chopped broccoli florets
  • 5 button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 400g tin of corn, rinsed and drained (I forgot)
  • 2 cups cooked rice, approximately
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • pinch cayenne powder
  • juice of quarter lemon

Tofu cheese:

  • 350g firm tofu, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise (I used soy)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • ¼ cup soy milk


  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp veg stock powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp almond meal
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 12 corn tortillas (312g packet)

To make the tomato sauce: put all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes or till sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.

To make the rice and vegetable filling: heat the oil in a large frypan and fry carrot and kale for about 5 minutes over medium heat or til kale is soft enough for you. Add remaining ingredients and fry for another 5 minutes over medium heat.

To make tofu cheese: mix all ingredients in a medium to large bowl using a fork til you have a thick sauce.

To make the parmasalmond: mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. I found mine quite salty, especially on the first night, and would omit the stock powder next time.

To assemble lasagne: layer corn tortillas, rice filling, cheese sauce, tomato sauce, corn tortillas, rice filling, tomato sauce, corn tortillas, cheese sauce, tomato sauce and parmasalmond in a large lightly-greased baking dish (I used my large roasting dish). Bake at 220 C for about 30 minutes till browned and crispy. Can be reheated in the microwave, and it tastes even better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two.

On the stereo:
John Peel: Right Time, Wrong Speed: 1977-1987: Various Artists


  1. Have a wonderful, beautiful, delicious trip!! Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures when you return!! :-)

  2. have fun in Scotland, Johanna..! :)

  3. that was quite a cookathon Johanna, the tortillas was a stroke of genius. All the best for your trip to Scotland - how cool to think that a gourment green giraffe will be in the UK ;o)
    Happy travels, Nic x

  4. Enjoy your trip, I hope you bring some nice weather with you, I think we could do with it!

  5. Scotland ... I dream of going to Scotland! Have a fabulous and safe trip with everyone including that jet set baby.
    I think the Mex-Lasagne is super!

  6. This may be strange but I really love reading about how other people use their leftovers. They make for some interesting and inventive dishes. This mexican lasagne sounds fantastic!

    Have a safe trip and have fun!

  7. I love your Mexican Lasagne Johanna. It is inspired! I almost always have my chilli in flour tortillas with salad leaves and sour cream, but next time I am going to try layering it this way. Mmmmmm, can't wait!

    Looking forward to catching up with you in Edinburgh.


  8. Hope you have a phenomenal visit (and that you packed lots of sweaters!) :D The lasagna looks wonderful. And thanks for the "food for thought" for both omnis and vegans. See you again soon, lassie! ;)

  9. this looks so good I actually 'holy fuck' out loud at work. I've been thinking about using wonton wrappers/tortillas as lasagne sheets for aaagesss ... woohoo!

  10. Goodbye, goodbye! Can't wait to see what you eat in Scotland.

  11. hello and thanks to all who have made comments - I have managed to get wireless so hope I might make posts while we are away but blogger is doing something weird and not showing the comments - although am hoping they will eventually just appear!!!

  12. ok so the comments seem to be displaying now - don't know what blogger was up to but glad I can see them and hope others can!


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