Fusion · Recipe

Middle Eastern Spiced Vegetable Enchilada Lasagne

I love Middle Eastern, Italian, and Mexican food; why not combine all 3 into one mega fusion dish?  These are the things that pop into my head while I’m trying to fall asleep at night. This whole idea came about to me last week when I was trying to figure out a new dinner plan for Sunday (yesterday).  You see, my original plan was to make slow cooked lamb tacos but we found out that we have to refrain from eating meat and fish until Holi (March 27th), so I had to scrap that plan. What to do, what to do? I know, lets just make a mega fusion dish and hope it works out! BRILLIANT! Actually, last weekend, I happened to stumble upon a jar of harissa at my local Whole Foods and decided to incorporate that into a dish, somehow.  I also bought Za’atar seasoning from Whole Foods too and figured, “great! Now lets make something with these 2 ingredients.”  Somehow, while trying to fall asleep, I came up with an idea of taking enchilada lasagna and putting a middle eastern twist to it, siding it with a fusion couscous dish.  I spent a few days, afterwards, writing it all down, trying to figure out exactly how to incorporate those 2 ingredients.  Let me just say-it turned out amazing!  The dish was not super heavy in the same way as say beans and cheese, but it was pretty filling with all those vegetables.

What gives this enchilada lasagna that middle eastern twist is using harissa in the sauce, in replacement of the chili powder, and adding za’atar seasoning in the vegetables.  I made my own enchilada sauce just because it’s fairly easy (and quick) but feel free to use canned.  I ended up buying a jar of harissa but you can obviously make your own.  I found both the za’atar seasoning and harissa at Whole Foods but they’re easily available at any local middle eastern grocery stores.

This looks like tedious work but trust me, it’s not.  I made the red sauce and vegetables earlier in the day to make it easier for myself. All I had to do in the evening was assemble it and throw it in the oven! Easy peasy!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post since I’ll be posting the side dish that went along with the enchilada lasagne–cilantro, parsley, and lime couscous. Mmmm heavenly 🙂

photo

I mean, seriously, you can’t tell me that doesn’t look mouth-watering delicious?! Oh, and if you didn’t notice, I used an aluminum pan..easy clean up!

Middle Eastern Spiced Enchilada Lasagne

Ingredients for the enchilada sauce

  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp harissa*, store bought or homemade
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp flour. I used AP flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • cayenne pepper, to taste, optional
  • 1/2 tsp salt

*The harissa I bought was not really spicy but if your sauce is spicy, use less of it or to your taste. 

Ingredients for the Vegetables

  • 1 package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 medium zucchinis, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste, optional
  • 2 tbsp Za’atar seasoning
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Ingredients for the Lasagne

  • 1 package corn tortillas (you won’t be using all of the tortillas)
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (I used part-skim, low moisture)
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
  • Dried oregano, optional
  • 8×8 square baking pan

Directions for the Enchilada Sauce

  1. On medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes
  3. Add the garlic and another 1 tbsp olive oil and cook for 1 minute
  4. Add the flour and cook until the raw flour smell disappears and combined, about 3-4 minutes. Make sure to stir constantly so the flour doesn’t burn.
  5. Add the tomato sauce little by little until the flour is no longer lumpy and it’s smooth. I switched over to a whisk at this point. Add the water and increase heat to medium-high.
  6. Add the harissa, salt, cumin, and cayenne (optional). Whisk and allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside to cool

Directions for the Vegetables

  1. In a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onion turn translucent
  3. Add the mushrooms and pinch of salt, mix and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 6-7 minutes. You want the mushrooms to turn brown and be tender
  4. Add the zucchinis and bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly tender
  5. Add the chickpeas and spinach and cook until the chickpeas turn a bit golden and spinach wilts
  6. Add the Za’atar seasoning and cumin, mix thoroughly and cook for 2 minutes
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne and cook for an additional minute
  8. Taste the vegetables and adjust spices accordingly. I ended up adding teaspoon of Za’atar but that’s optional. Set aside to cool.

Directions to assemble the lasagne

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In your baking pan, add 1/4 cup of the sauce and spread it around
  3. Add the corn tortillas in a single layer until the bottom of the pan is covered. What I did was half 4 tortillas and used those to cover the sides and corners. For the center, I put a whole corn tortilla. You can do it however but just make sure the pan is covered in a single layer
  4. Add a bit more sauce and spread over the tortillas. Add 1/3 of the vegetables and 1/3 of the cheese.
  5. Add a second layer of tortillas, sauce, vegetables and cheese
  6. Add a third layer of tortillas, sauce, vegetables and cheese
  7. Add a final layer of tortillas and finish off with remainder sauce and cheese.
  8. Sprinkle with cayenne and oregano (optional)
  9. Spray tin foil with cooking spray and cover the baking pan with it
  10. Place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, uncover the tray and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown
  11. Remove from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting into it
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