Mexican lasagna is a terrific dish to whip up when you're craving a hot, cheesy pan of lasagna with a mildly spicy, south-of-the-border twist. With layers of fire roasted tomato sauce prepared with lean ground beef, spices and diced chilis, plus black beans, corn and a blend of cheeses, this flavorful lasagna recipe is the epitome of zesty comfort food!
A Zesty Take on Classic Lasagna
As a recipe developer and self-confessed “recipe-tweaker”, I must admit that lasagna is one of those wonderful dishes that I really appreciate playing around with and creating different flavor profiles for.
Somehow, lasagna just beckons to me to come up with ways of preparing it with a variety of sauces, spices, fillings and cheeses, experimenting with those aspects of it that make it such a cozy and comforting dish.
And while a more traditional or classic lasagna with its red sauce, meat and cheese layers is delicious just as it is, this Mexican lasagna recipe offers a bit of a more zippy, south-of-the-border slant to this beloved favorite, with some vibrant ingredients.
My Mexican lasagna is layered with a mildly spicy, homemade tomato sauce prepared with fire roasted tomatoes, diced green chilies, spices, herbs and lean ground beef.
Then, some corn and black beans are sprinkled in between the layers for added texture and color, with a nice blend of Mexican cheeses added in to tie the flavors together and create that delectable cheesy lid that's a must with lasagna.
The result is a comforting, ooey-gooey cheesy lasagna recipe that's a little bit unexpected and colorful, one with a flavorful twist that's the ultimate in zesty comfort food!
How to Make Mexican Lasagna
Mexican lasagna is prepared in exactly the same way that traditional lasagna is prepared, only using ingredients that lend a more bright and spiced, south-of-the-border flavor. It's all about layering in lots of tasty morsels!
My delicious fire roasted tomato sauce is infused with notes of cumin, coriander, chili powder and dried oregano, plus lots of onion and garlic, some diced green chilis and a whisper of cilantro for a fresh, herby flavor. This sauce is spooned in between layers of tender lasagna noodles along with other tasty ingredients, then baked until bubbly.
Here's a glance at my Mexican lasagna recipe:. (or just jump to the full recipe)...)
- To begin, I prepare my sauce and allow it to simmer for a short time to help develop the flavors and thicken it slightly.
- While the sauce simmers, I'll boil my lasagna noodles according to package instructions, or just until al dente, then drain and set them aside, holding them warm.
- To assemble the Mexican lasagna, I do a total of 3 layers: I begin by adding a small amount of my sauce to the bottom of my baking dish, then layer some noodles over that; next, I add more sauce, about half of my corn/black beans, and some cheese, and then I repeat with a second layer.
- The final layer is topped with sauce and the remainder of the cheese, then the lasagna is baked until bubbly and the cheese is melted, about 20-25 minutes.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 636 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- Olive or avocado oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 pound lean, ground beef (I used 85/15 ratio)
- Black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 3 tablespoons, heaping, diced green chilies (I used hot, but feel free to use mild)
- 2 tablespoons, heaping, tomato paste
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans crushed, fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra leaves for garnish
- 12 lasagna noodles, to cook according to package instructions
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can corn kernels, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onions
- Preheat oven to 350°, and prepare a large casserole or baking dish.
- Place a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of the oil; once hot, add in the onion, and saute for several minutes until it begins to become softened.
- Crumble in the ground beef, breaking it up with a spatula or a wooden spoon, and stir it into the onions to cook for a few minutes; once the meat is no longer pink, add in a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, plus the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and oregano, and stir to incorporate.
- Stir in the garlic and the diced chilies, and once the garlic becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste, and stir to combine, cooking the paste for about 30 seconds -1 minute.
- Add in the fire-roasted tomatoes with their juice, stir, and allow the sauce to very gently simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
- While the sauce simmers, boil your lasagna noodles according to package instructions.
- Finish the sauce by adding in the chopped cilantro, and taste to make sure you have enough salt/pepper.
- To assemble the lasagna, add a little of the sauce to the bottom of your baking or casserole dish, then place 4 cooked lasagna noodles on the bottom; next, add a bit more sauce, then about half of the black beans and the corn, followed by about a cup's worth of the cheese; do another layer the same way.
- Layer on the third (and final) layer of lasagna noodles, then the rest of the sauce, followed by the remaining 2 cups of cheese, and place into the oven to bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and gooey.
- Finish the lasagna with a sprinkle of green onion, plus a few cilantro leaves, and serve.
Tips & Tidbits for my Mexican Lasagna:
- Lean ground beef, or some substitutions: I like to use organic, lean ground beef in this dish (85/15 ratio or even leaner), but other great options are ground turkey or chicken, or even sausage.
- Vegetarian Mexican lasagna: To prepare this recipe in a vegetarian style, simply omit the meat and substitute either a pound of the ground soy (resembles ground beef), or a different meat alternative. You could even leave the meat element out altogether, or even add some chopped mushrooms for texture.
- Blend of cheeses: A Mexican cheese blend is super convenient here, but you could also just use one type of cheese such as jack, pepper jack, mozzarella, or all cheddar.
- Control your level of spiciness: Because I like things more on the spicy side, I opted for spicy diced green chilis (in the small can) for the recipe, but you can use mild if you prefer, especially if serving kids or folks with more sensitive palates.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!