Savoury, vegetarian, packed with filling protein: this Italian-inspired single-serving casserole covers all the bases of a balanced meal and leaves you feeling satisfied.
Do you ever create recipes that you feel everybody should try right this very second? No intro needed and never-mind-how-unspectacular-this-looks? Yes? Well, this is one of them for me. So go and make this right this very second. Okay, okay, I get it. You’re playing hard to convince today and want me to sing the praises of the dish before you even ave a glance at the actual recipe. I get it. Luckily, offering just that for this casserole isn’t hard. Because – remember – it’s amazing.
- Easy to prepare.
- Packed with protein.
If you’ve been around for a while already you might remember my excitement when I finally found tortillas without any sketchy ingredients last year. It’s funny how that’s been almost exactly a year ago to the day and I’m just now back on the tortilla kick. Which reminds me I should remake that vegan enchilada bake before I run out of tortillas again ..
Moving onto today’s dish, though. For one, this isn’t your average tortilla bake because it is not Mexican [not like any of my recipes were completely authentical but you know that]. Rather, I went the Italian route – or at least I deem any thing spiced this way Italian. Parts of this recipe were inspired by a recipe for a pasta bake I saw on another blog [but what I turned it into is completely different so I’m not making sense here …] and what my mum calls her ‘vegetable bolognese’. That is in fact nothing like meat bolognese at all but delicious in its own right so I won’t lecture her about that one.
The deliciously doughy tortilla, the creamy filling and plenty of full-bodied vegetable ragout-like sauce make this one satisfying dish. If I haven’t convinced you yet … well, you’re missing out.
Vegetarian Tortilla Bake
- 1 flour tortilla [may use a gluten-free one]
- 3/4 cup passata/tomato sauce
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small carrot, diced finely
- 1/2 medium zucchini [~ 100 g], diced finely
- 1 tsp dried mixed Italian herbs**
coconut oil for frying and greasing the pan
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1/3 cup chickpeas
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- optional: a handful of chopped broccoli [I’ve made this without but the time I took pictures had a package of frozen florets leftover so I added some thawed and chopped ones to the filling]
- Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add about 2/3 of the chopped vegetables. Stir, cover and let cook for around five minutes or until vegetables are at your preferred level of tenderness. I like mine to still have some bite to them but it’s up to you.
- Pour in the tomato sauce. Season with pepper and herbs. Cover the pot again and let simmer while you prepare the filling. If the sauce looks too thick, add about a 1/4 cup of water.*
- For the filling mash the chickpeas with a few tablespoons of water. I chose to leave some whole chickpeas in there but you could also blend all of them for a hummus-like puree. Stir in cottage cheese, cumin and nutrional yeast. Add pepper to taste.
- Add a few spoonfuls of sauce to your prepared casserole dish. Cover with half of the tortilla. Spread with half of the filling and the reserved chopped vegetables. Cover with the remaining tortilla and pour the vegetable sauce on top.
- Drop dollops of remaining cottage cheese filling.
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Let sit for a few minutes before serving.
* You want the sauce to be on the thinner side but not soupy as the tortilla soaks up a lot of liquid while baking.
** The blend I used consists of oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme so these could be substituted.
… and fresh herbs straight from the garden for decorative purposes make everything better.
Where do you get the inspiration for your cooking?
Have you ever used tortillas in a non-Mexican dish?