StrataMex, or Mexican Lasagna

A short while back, Amy had a hankering for lasagna, but alas and alack, we didn’t have any gluten-free lasagna noodles on hand. I don’t think they’re that hard to come by, but for some reason, even after half a year of cooking gluten-free, we’ve never picked any up.

This got me to thinking about ways to substitute for the noodles. It’s really the layers we often want, right? Well…half right maybe. We also want delicious noodles, if we’re honest with ourselves. But before the second thought could usurp the first, I’d had a thought: polenta. That could be the base layer. Amy wasn’t quite having this as a traditional lasagna, but she did have the genius idea of a Mexican lasagna–somewhere between a traditional lasagna, a delicious taco, and a seven layer dip. Behold.

mexican lasagna
This guy is 11 strata of spicy, savory glory. Yep, you read correctly, 11. Here’s a pseudo-diagram, as viewed from the side (layered top to bottom):

tortilla chip crumbs
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thinly sliced tomatoes
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Daiya or homemade cashew cheese (pizza style)
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yellow corn
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tofu ricotta
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thinly sliced tomatoes
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Daiya/cashew cheese
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refried beans
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tofu ricotta
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thinly sliced tomatoes
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polenta

mexican lasagna

This is actually much easier to make than it sounds. The only necessary prep is the polenta and tofu ricotta. We used Daiya this time around, though I think it would do really well with homemade cashew cheese (pizza style) too. You’ll either want to already have that on hand, or think far enough in advance to have soaked some cashews. You can also either go the canned refried bean route (we like Amy’s w/green chilis), or homemade (way better, but a little labor-intensive–this is a great recipe for Mexican feast, day two, since there are always extra beans).

Otherwise, you’re really just layering.

Let’s get started. Preheat your oven to 425.

Polenta Layer

  • 1.5 cups uncooked polenta
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano

In a sauce pan, bring the veggie stock to a boil  in high heat and add in the polenta and spices/powders. Reduce heat to low and let cook down uncovered. When it’s firmed up, spoon it directly into the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ baking pan (I think ours is actually like 7.5″ x 12″, roughly).

Tex-Mex Ricotta Layer

  • 1 lb tofu
  • 1/2 bunch kale, de-boned
  • 1 small can (4oz) green chilis
  • 1/2 – 1 jalapeno, seeded or not (to heat preference)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, de-stemmed
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Drain and press the tofu–the more water you can get out, the better. Combine all of the above ingredients in a food processor. You don’t want to over-blend, just blend enough to get all of the kale and cilantro chopped up and the spices mixed in. You want some texture though–it shouldn’t be completely smooth or too runny.

Remaining Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups refried beans
  • 1.5 cups pizza-style cashew cheese or ~half bag of Daiya
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • tortilla chip crumbs (you know, from the bottom of the bag [we save them for just this type of thing])
  • avocado and salsa verde, to garnish

Layer the ingredients in the order above, halving the ricotta and cheese in their respective layers, as they appear twice. Bake covered with foil for about 20 minutes, and uncovered for about 15. This can really cook as long as you like, without worrying too much, as long as you don’t burn the top layer of chips.

Serve garnished with diced avocado (or guacamole) and salsa verde, atop or beside.

mexican lasagna

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Cherub Nuttz on 02.10.14 at 9:02 pm

We has a saying in Catalan: “If you no can have proper lasagna, the duck is like a criminal.”

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