Summer Vegetable Tortilla Casserole


If you want to make a summer casserole, this is IT. This dish incorporates wonderful summer corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and Swiss chard. I threw in all of my beet greens too. πŸ™‚ This dish was originally named Layered Tortilla-Tomato Casserole with Greens and Melted Cheese in Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine by Rick Bayless (one of my absolute favorite chefs). I adapted the recipe by adding more tortillas and vegetables, and by steaming the corn tortillas rather than frying them in oil. FABULOUS!!!

Great to feed the crowd at Fiesta Friday #26 at The Novice Gardener!

Yield: Serves 8 as a main dish

For the 6 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:

  • 8-12 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (or 3/4 oz -about 9 to 12- stemmed, dried chipotle chiles)
  • 12 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 1/2 pounds (9 medium-large round or 28 to 34 plum) ripe tomatoes
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • coarse salt, about 2 tsp

For the Casserole:

  • 6 to 8 cups loosely packed spinach or 1/2-inch long sliced chard leaves (12-oz bunch) (I also included 1 bunch of beet greens)
  • 2 medium (12 oz total) zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 medium ears corn, husked, kernels cup from the cob
  • 1 pound (about 4 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese or other melting cheese
  • 16-20 corn tortillas
  • about 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

To Make the Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:

  1. For the canned chiles, simply remove from the adobo sauce. For dried chiles, toast them on an ungreased griddle or skillet over medium heat, turning regularly, and pressing flat with a spatula, until very aromatic, about 30 seconds. In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water.
  2. While the chiles are soaking, roast the unpeeled garlic on the griddle or skillet, turning occasionally, until soft (they will blacken in spots), about 10 to 15 minutes; cool and peel.
  3. Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 6 minutes, then turn and roast the other side. Cool, then peel, collecting all the juices with the tomatoes.
  4. Working in batches, in a food processor or blender, process the tomatoes with their juices, rehydrated or canned chiles and garlic to a medium-fine puree.
  5. Heat the 2 T of oil in a medium-size (4-quart) heavy pot over medium heat. Add the tomato puree and stir nearly constantly for 8 to 10 minutes as it sears and thickens.
  6. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 1/2 teaspoons.

To Prepare the Vegetables:

  1. In a vegetable steamer, steam the greens, covered, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes for spinach, chard, and/or beet greens. (I steamed the greens in the pasta pot using the large insert.) Immediately spread out on a baking sheet to cool, then roughly chop.
  2. Steam the diced zucchini until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes, then spread out to cool.
  3. Sprinkle the vegetables with 1/4 tsp of salt.
  4. Set out the corn, tomato sauce, and shredded cheese.

To Prepare the Tortillas:

  1. Place 5 tortillas at a time in a tortilla warmer or on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel, followed by the lid of the warmer or plastic wrap for the plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute to make warm and pliable. Cut in half. (I did this as I prepared each layer of the casserole.)

To Make the Casserole:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom, then lay out 8-10 tortilla halves in a single layer, arranging them to cover as much sauce as possible.
  3. Evenly spread on the greens, a scant 1 1/2 cups of sauce and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  4. Top with another layer of 8-10 tortilla halves. Spread on the corn and the same amount of sauce and cheese.
  5. Top with a third layer of 8-10 tortilla halves, the zucchini, and another round of sauce and cheese.
  6. Top with remaining 8-11 tortilla halves, lightly brush or spray the tortillas with extra-virgin olive oil, and top with remaining sauce and cheese.
  7. Cover lightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbling and lightly browned.
  8. Let stand for a few minutes before cutting into squares. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, then use a spatula (preferably a squared-off metal one) to transfer the pieces to warm serving plates.


One Year Ago:

About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

77 responses to “Summer Vegetable Tortilla Casserole

  1. What a original recipe! It looks absolutely yummy!

  2. Looks absolutely delicious!

  3. Wow! This looks amazing. Happy Fiesta Friday and have a wonderful weekend! πŸ˜€

  4. Lovely recipe! I thought it was lasagna first, but then I saw the title and realised it was tortilla layers! What a great idea. Love all those veggies.

  5. Just beautiful, love all the veggies you have sneaked in there πŸ™‚

  6. Oh my, this sounds and looks fabulous! I know my daughter and I would love this, we love veggies. But I have a feeling the carnivores among us would also appreciate this. This would be hard to refuse!

    • My carnivorous husband loves practically anything with tasty sauce and tons of melted cheese! πŸ™‚

      • That’s my thought exactly. My husband and son would have a hard time turning this down, with all that cheese! I bought a package of muenster cheese, meant for sandwiches. Not a chance! They were gone in a matter of minutes, before any sandwich was even made! πŸ™‚

  7. Wow, thanks for bringing this to FF, I love the combination of zucchini and corn together, it looks like a great dish πŸ™‚

  8. this looks delicious! thank you for sharing. xo

  9. That is a wonderful recipe…and tortillas are a great idea too.

  10. I think I’d never miss the meat when I eat this. Thanks for sharing! Happy FF to you! πŸ™‚

  11. Oh wow Josette!! Welcome to Fiesta Friday!! I’m so happy to see you here…and so SO happy to see this outstanding casserole. Thank you so much for bringing this to the table! It kind of looks like a lasagna… and the veggies with the cheese, with that chipotle tomato sauce… just brings it over the edge. I have to agree with your choice in steaming the tortillas. I tend to like them soft and kind of gooey. ❀

    • Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ The thought of frying all of the tortillas in 1/2 cup of oil seemed unnecessary- they didn’t dry out in the casserole with all of the veggies and cheese. Happy Fiesta Friday to you!! πŸ™‚

  12. lovely and original recipe!

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  14. Looks delicious, love all the vegetables and all the cheese!! πŸ™‚

  15. Really? Tortillas in a casserole, that sounds intriguing.. like lasagna? πŸ™‚

  16. I like recipes that make use of whatever is in season in the garden. I bet this would be great with any kind of summer veggies. Thank you for sharing this at FF.

    • So true! Any greens for sure. I am such a chard lover but kale would easily work too- or a combination of greens would be lovely. I think that beet greens always add something special. πŸ™‚

  17. Wow, Josette! This is beyond Yum! For all of us who are trying to get in as many veggies in the day, this is the most delicious way to do it! Thanks so much for the awesome recipe! πŸ˜€

  18. Sort of like lasagne! I have all my garden veggies ready for this recipe. Thanks! Yum!

  19. Josette, this looks and sounds amazing – I love the idea of layering steamed tortillas with veggies, cheese an a spicy sauce – thanks so much of sharing and a very happy Fiesta Friday to you!

  20. This looks SO good! Hearty yet healthy and summery enough. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Sue

    Okay, there is not ONE THING wrong with this dish. I love it. The first dish I ever ever cooked was for my grandma when she was visiting and I made Enchilada Stack from Teen Magazine . . . but the only veg it had was canned green chiles. But ever since then this type of melting layered tortilla and cheesy goodness has been on my top 10 along with burgers, bread, eggplant parmesan, potato gratin, lasagne and I can’t remember what else right now. I die for these tortilla things. I want a giant slice please!

  22. I love this dish! So pretty and tasty looking

  23. Oh my, that looks delicious, a nice hearty meal, love it, thanks for sharing, pinned!

  24. Love the sound of that tomato-chipotle sauce, it would be just bursting with flavours. The casserole looks so colourful, so tasty, if only I can really pick up a fork and dive in… πŸ™‚

    • Thank you!! I was worried that the sauce was too spicy- I downgraded the number of chipotles for my crowd actually- but when all of the other components are added it was really just right! (I am really the only super-spicy lover in the family!)

  25. So delicious looking, and what a great alternative to lasagna. Happy Fiesta Friday.

  26. This looks so good! πŸ™‚ I like that it is meatless too!

  27. Oooo, this looks amazing! I’ll have 2 pieces if there’s enough to go around? πŸ™‚

  28. Love this. I can make this too.. since it is vegetarian and healthy.

  29. Casserole made of tortilla… how interesting and satisfying!

  30. What a good looking and yumm dish Josette :).

  31. I need to try this! Check out what’s cooking in my kitchen over at!

  32. This looks wonderful, Josette. I love all the veggies in your casserole!

  33. Happy Fiesta Friday! Great recipe, really original!!

  34. It looks amazing!
    Happy FF!

  35. Pingback: Rakshabandhan Special Menu, Day 3 and bringing 4 Menus : Italian & American Kitchen and South Indian Platter | simplyvegetarian777

  36. I’m not sure how I missed this post. I have all of these ingredients from my CSA basket this week. Thanks I think “it’s what’s for dinner tomorrow”.

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