At the beginning of a new year, many people are looking for ways to improve their diet. Whether it’s adding more produce, eating less fat, sugar, and processed foods, or just watching portions, there are many ways to make good food choices. Take the humble casserole, for example. If the word itself calls to mind rich, heavy dishes packed with calorie-laden ingredients, you could use a fresher, lighter take on this dinnertime standby. We’ve got just the one.
If you think a casserole – or any main dish, really – needs meat to be a fully satisfying meal, this recipe might just change your mind. Mexican-inspired and loaded with good things like fresh veggies, beans, rice, and cheese, this spicy casserole will convince your family that a vegetarian dish can be rich, comforting, and healthy at the same time.
Spicy Mexican Style Zucchini Casserole
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds zucchini, cubed
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (0r to taste)
1 cup cooked long-grain rice
1 cup cooked pinto beans
2 1/2 cups salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and onions; cook and stir until tender, about 10 minutes. Season with garlic salt, paprika, oregano and cayenne pepper, and continue cooking and stirring until fragrant. Mix in the rice, beans and salsa and cook just until heated through. Mix in 1 cup of Cheddar cheese until well blended. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish and top with remaining Cheddar cheese. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
The recipe developer advises that you taste and adjust the spices to suit your family’s preferences. Also, a great serving suggestion: Serve with tortilla chips on the side to scoop up all the good stuff.
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