I apologise if this recipe seems a little similar to the refried bean enchiladas I posted last month. I actually only just noticed the similarity just now, but oh well. After I published those enchiladas, I had so many of you telling me that you'd made them and loved them, and I was seriously craving them again (they're reeeeally good) - but rather than making the same thing again (which would make for an even less interesting blog post than this one), I guess I subconsciously thought I'd give them a new lease of life as this Mexican bean lasagne. Never mind!
Luckily, this Mexican bean lasagne is just as delicious as the beany enchiladas were. Once again, I used my favourite refried beans* to add a creamy, spicy, Mexican vibe to this veggie lasagne. I've never been sponsored by the company that makes those beans, but I bloomin' well should be. I'll happily advertise them til the cows come home (as long as I can munch on a tin of beans while I'm doing it).
I love combining cuisines, and Italian+Mexican is one of my favourite combinations. I've now tried it both ways round - adding Italian flavours to Mexican foods (think pizza enchiladas!), and now by adding Mexican flavours to an Italian veggie lasagne. Both ways work beautifully, and mean that I never have to choose between my two favourite cuisines - why stick to just one good thing when you can have both?
I didn't make my Mexican bean lasagne overly wet because I like being able to cut neat squares of lasagne from the dish (in certain parts of my life, I'm very meticulous... if only the state of my living room matched the tidiness of my lasagne). If you prefer a saucier lasagne, feel free to add more cheese sauce, or to add a tin of tomatoes to the spicy bean filling. I think it'd be great either way.
Just don't forget the garlic bread! If we're going for the best of both worlds here, we may as well make the most of it.
Mexican bean lasagne
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For the Mexican bean mixture:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 125 g green beans, sliced (~ 1 cup when sliced)
- ~ 5 medium mushrooms, diced
- 400 g tin black beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 ¼ cups, when drained)
- 435 g tin refried beans (~ 1 ⅓ cups)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon hot chill powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Black pepper
For the cheesy sauce:
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon plain flour
- 400 ml milk (~ 1 ½ cup)
- 100 g cheddar cheese, grated (~ 1 cup when grated)
- Black pepper
- ~ 12 no-boil lasagne sheets
- Extra cheese for topping (optional)
- Fresh coriander (cilantro), to garnish
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the chopped vegetables. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until fairly soft. Add the black beans, refried beans and spices, and season to taste. Depending on the kind of refried beans you used, you may want to add additional spices or seasonings at this point (the beans I used were already fairly spicy). Mix thoroughly - you may need to add a dash of water if the mixture seems too thick. You could also add a tin of tomatoes if you prefer a saucier lasagne.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and add the flour. Mix well, and cook over a low heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring the mixture until smooth each time before adding more. When you have added all of the milk and you have a smooth sauce, add the grated cheese and plenty of salt and pepper. Cook for another minute or two, to melt the cheese.
- To assemble the lasagne, start by adding about 1tbsp of cheese sauce to the base of your baking dish, and spread it around - this helps to prevent the lasagne from sticking. From this point onwards, it doesn’t really matter what order you layer up your sauce, beans and pasta. I layered up pasta, then beans, then sauce, until all the ingredients were used. I finished the lasagne with the last of the cheese sauce, and sprinkled some extra grated cheese on top.
- Cover the lasagne loosely with foil, and bake for around 1 hour at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F). When the lasagne sheets are nearly soft (check them with a sharp knife), remove the foil, and bake for a further 20 minutes or so, to crisp up the top. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before cutting, and serve topped with fresh coriander (cilantro) if desired.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for ¼ of the recipe (though you could probably get 6 pieces from the recipe if you've got small appetites).
If you love fusion food, here's another idea you might enjoy - Greek fajitas:
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