Vegan Taco Casserole

1 Oct

Happy October! With the new month comes a challenge: October #Unprocessed. I’ve mentioned it before, but this will be my third year participating in the challenge, and I couldn’t be more excited! The spirit of the challenge is to avoid any food item that is “processed,” which is defined by any ingredient you could not reasonably make by yourself (think chemicals, food dyes, and additives with names longer than Supercalifragilisticexpiolidocious)! Andrew over at spells out the rules, if you’re interested.

In the previous two years, I learned about ingredients I had never even heard of, cooked up some crazy delicious dishes, tried new fruits and vegetables, and influenced loved ones to embrace “unprocessed” as well.

It’s not terribly difficult to give up processed foods for a month, but it is easy to fall back into old habits, buy that tasty bag of processed snacks, and carry on. This month, I look forward to foregoing all processed foods and drinks. As a result, my shopping trip last night took twice as long, given I was looking at all the labels. But it’s so worth it! My body has always felt significantly better because of the challenge. It’s amazing what your body can do with REAL foods! And while I may slip back into processed things after October ends, it’s always fewer and fewer foods that get me. More often than not, I incorporate those new grains, gourds and sweeteners into my everyday life. It IS a lifestyle change, after all!

Are you willing to give up processed foods for a month? A week? Even a day? Give it a shot 🙂

Vegan Taco Casserole |

Anyway, whether you take the challenge or not, this taco casserole is something you should make for dinner tonight. It’s quick, easy, versatile, healthy, and #unprocessed (and vegan, too!). It’s the perfect make-ahead that you can just pop in the oven when dinner time arrives. And it’s great for using up whatever veggies you have around – frozen corn? Throw it in. Cilantro lover? Add some on top. 3 jars of salsa in the fridge? Put them to use in this!

Vegan Taco Casserole |

Vegan Taco Casserole, adapted from MyFitnessPal

Serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I used one red and one green)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1.5 C cooked brown rice (or other cooked grain of choice)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 C salsa of choice (I used a combination of spicy and mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • fresh black pepper
  • pinch of salt (there’s enough in the salsa, so you won’t need much)
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 oz queso fresco (dairy-free variety if vegan)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8″ dish and set aside.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic, shallot and peppers until soft and fragrant.

In a large bowl, mix together rice, beans, salsa and spices. Once veggies are cooked, stir them into the rice & bean mixture until well-incorporated.

Transfer mixture to prepared dish. Cover with chopped tomatoes.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. If using cheese, sprinkle on top and put back into the oven for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes, and serve up!

You could top this with Greek yogurt, avocado, more salsa, or eat in tortilla shells, scoop up with tortilla chips, or scoop it onto a bed of lettuce. The possibilities are endless!

I entered the recipe into MyFitnessPal, and it says that one serving is only 230 calories and 6g fat! It also boats 9g protein and 8g fiber. A perfect meal 🙂


4 Responses to “Vegan Taco Casserole”

  1. Alanna October 1, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    I’m also participating in October Unprocessed! Andrew is a fellow LA based blogger and what a great idea he has going. Be on the look out for my guest post this month 🙂 Happy unprocessing 🙂

    • xtinaluvspink October 1, 2014 at 6:59 am #

      I look forward to reading it! Andrew is making great strides in helping folks reframe how they view food. Sure helped me a lot!

  2. genevieve y October 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Haha, I participate in year long unprocessed! I’ll have something processed if the mood strikes me, but otherwise I’m quite put off by processed food. I’m excited to see your challenge unfold, and I hope it goes well!

    • xtinaluvspink October 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Thanks! I’ve been much more unprocessed since my first year, but I’m not perfect 🙂

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