One of my first successes of vegetarian cooking was the "Black Bean Chilaquile" from the Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites cookbook. I've never had an authentic chilaquile, but this recipe--modified in various was to make it low-fat and vegetarian--was quite good, authentic or not. However, I wasn't a huge fan of the tortilla chips that were used, regardless of whether they were the low-fat baked version or the regular chips, and my beef with them was purely health-based: empty carbs. So, as I set about re-thinking this casserole, it ceased to be a chilaquile but ended up, I think, even better.
Vegetarian Tex-Mex Casserole
2 sweet potatoes
butter and/or olive oil
2-3 cups cooked brown rice
2-3 cups cooked or canned black beans
1 large or 2 medium onions
2-4 cloves garlic
2 T lime juice
salt, pepper, oregano
1 10-oz bag spinach
1 large jar salsa
2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend)
Slice 2 sweet potatoes into slices 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Make sure they are well-coated in butter and/or olive oil (you can use spray oil, but using at least some butter is a good thing) and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Prepare two to three cups each of brown rice and black beans (you can, of course, use canned).
Chop one large or two small onions and saute in oil until softened. Add 2-4 cloves diced garlic, 2 T. lime juice and the beans. Heat through. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, use your flipper to to quarter the sweet potato medallions and mix in with the onion and bean mixture. Add some salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook a little longer and set aside.
Wash a bag of spinach and cook the spinach in the water that clings to the leaves (or, alternately, put a bit of water in a pan and cook the spinach). The spinach should be thoroughly wilted but still green.
Now it's time to assemble the casserole. In a lasagna pan or casserole dish, cover the bottom with half to two-thirds of the brown rice. Spoon the bean/sweet potato/onion mixture over top of this, then spread approximately 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend over this. Drain the spinach and layer it over top of the cheese. Spread half of a large jar of salsa over the spinach, then add the rest of the brown rice, the rest of the salsa, and top with another cup of cheese.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.