Tortilla stacks are a wonderful dinner, in my opinion, and are such a versatile dish once you get used to the basics. My mum often made a “Mexican” version of this, which had refried beans, onions, salsa, and sometimes ground beef in it. This particular recipe I discovered in a cookbook my friend Ramsay brought with him to Australia (check it out at the bottom of the post, you know a cookbook is good when it gets schlepped to the other side of the world!), and is a bit of a twist on the recipe my mum used often.
I would say that this is a cheap, healthy dish that works great for leftovers, except that every time we serve this up it never seems to make it to the leftover stage! Everyone just gobbles it right up. Oh well, I guess I can’t really complain, can I? It takes a bit of love and care to make, but is well worth the effort.
Roasted Vegetable Tortilla Bake
Makes: 6 servings, approximate
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes prep, 30-40 baking
Difficulty: Easy, though time consuming
- 1-2 packages of your choice of tortillas (you’ll probably need just less than 10 tortillas): whole wheat, plain, spinach, spelt for a gluten free option, your choice! purchase tortillas that are the right size for the pan you will be using—springform works best, but a deep round casserole or ceramic dish works quite well too
- vegetables for roasting: eggplant, potato, yam/kumara, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, bell peppers/capsicums (my most successful tortilla stacks with this recipe have had eggplant, half of a giant yam, one red onion, and a large handful of mushrooms)
- 1/2 small jar of tomato pesto or basil pesto
- 1 medium sized jar of your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce (or your own homemade, try my recipe, but you’ll have to make it a bit smoother and have more liquid)
- about 500g grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
- optional: 1 lb (500 g) cooked ground beef, 1 medium jar of creamy pasta sauce (or your own homemade white sauce, try my recipe here)
Slice your root vegetable(s) into thin pieces and microwave until they are soft the whole way through, but not mushy. (You can also roast them if you prefer, but microwaving them is a lot faster!). Slice up your softer vegetables (eggplant, onion, mushrooms, peppers/capsicums, zucchini, etc.) and toss lightly with oil and a few spices, such as basil, oregano, or rosemary, and roast for about 20 minutes in the oven, until softened but not mushy.
If you’re adding in ground beef, now’s the time to cook it. Cook just until you can no longer see any pink, and drain any excess fat or juices.
Once all of your vegetables are fairly pre-cooked, it’s time to start layering! I’ve usually had a helping hand to do this, and it goes a lot faster. So call over your cook’s assistant! Grease your springform pan or casserole dish if they aren’t nonstick. Start by putting a tortilla down in the pan, and spread about 1-2 tsp tomato pesto evenly onto it. Arrange one kind of vegetable on it, then spoon 3-4 generous tbsp over top of either the tomato or cream sauce. Sprinkle a handful of cheese. Place another tortilla overtop, spread again with tomato pesto, and arrange with a different vegetable combination. I usually alternate my layers between plain yam/kumara with the tomato sauce and eggplant/mushroom/onion with the cream sauce. If you’re adding in meat, layer it with the tomato sauce. Alternate your tortilla and vegetable layers until you’ve filled your pan, finishing with a final tortilla with a little bit of pesto spread over the top, and a light sprinkling of cheese.
Cover your pan with tin foil, then bake at 350 F / 180 C for 40 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the tin foil from the top in the final 5-10 minutes to let it go golden and crispy. Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt or sour cream.
Any extra roast vegetables and tortillas? Roll the veggies and some cheese up into tortillas burrito-style, and bake with some sauce and cheese on top. Easy enchiladas!