Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo

Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Few years ago when I was first trying to minimize the amount of gluten in my diet, I discovered that corn tortillas work very well as a substitute for lasagna noodles. Corn tortillas as lasagna noodles have quite a few advantages over the regular kind. First of all, they are ready to go and don’t need any preparation. Having said that, I did initially experiment with toasting them just slightly before use, and this did enhance their flavor but at the end the taste benefit was not sufficient to going through the toasting process.

To me the second advantage is the flavor. The regular lasagna noodles are more of a bystanders without adding any specific flavor to the dish, while corn tortillas are in the midst of flavors. As I started using them in lasagnas, I also transitioned away from using Italian ingredients and flavors and to using types of things that you would find in burritos or fajitas.

This Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo recipe uses the same strategy. I combine two types of peppers and two kinds of onions, which when nicely browned add a hint of fajitas to this lasagna. On this occasion I gave them a pretty fine dice, but you can definitely cut them lengthwise if you are into getting even closer to that fajita style.

Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo Ingredients, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

This recipe uses Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo and because of the intense flavors that this soy chorizo brings to table you will not need to add much, if any, additional spices. Additionally, this soy chorizo is fairly oily so I start with the soy chorizo, let it brown just slightly and release the oil, and then I add peppers and onions and let them cook until veggies are gently caramelized.

Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Once the stuffing mix is done, it is time to assemble the lasagna and, about 25-30 minutes later, enjoy this dish rich in flavor!

Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo

(2-4 servings)

What you’ll need:

1/2 Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo

1 red pepper, diced

1 orange pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

Cooking spray

8 corn tortillas

1/4 cup shredded cheese, vegan

8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) baking dish

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Put Soy Chorizo into a non-stick pan and turn the heat on to medium high. Please note that Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo comes in a inedible casing that you will have to remove and discard. Use your mixing spoon to break it apart. Let it brown and release its oil for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add diced peppers and onions to the pan, and let them gently brown and caramelize for 5-10 minutes. The exact time depends on whether you prefer your peppers and onions a bit more on the crunchy side or a bit more on a soft side.
  4. Spray the bottom and the sides of your 8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) baking dish with the cooking spray. Place 4 tortillas on the bottom. Add your filling and spread over tortillas evenly. Top with 4 tortillas. Spray the top lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle the cheese, and cover the dish with foil.
  5. Put the Mexican lasagna into the oven and bake for 20 minutes covered, and the last 5 minutes uncovered so your cheese topping gets nice and melted.
  6. Enjoy!

Note: Just before serving Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo you can sprinkle the top with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. And while we are packing on some good Mexican flavors, why not add some fresh simple salsa, guacamole, or pickled jalapeños on the side?

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

One of my recent impulse buys was Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. This chorizo is vegan, as well as smokey and  very spicy so a little goes a long way. I enjoyed it as a topping for an otherwise simple tomato and lettuce sandwich, but I also wanted to experiment a bit and see what else I can use soy chorizo for.

Chorizo and beans usually make for an excellent combination, but I wanted something more adventures than a pot of chili. I decided to mix several types of beans, to diversify the texture of the soup I was building, and in addition to soy chorizo use leeks to expand the range of flavors. The three different types of beans I used are small white beans, black-eyed peas, and dark kidney beans, and I used a canned variety of all three because cooking beans from scratch is not my idea of fun. One thing to keep in mind when using canned vegetables is to rinse them well before use to remove excess salt.

The time I saved on beans, I used to deal with leeks. For those of you who are new to leek, it belongs to the onion family and shares a lot of similarities when it comes to flavor with spring onions (scallions) and spring garlic, which unfortunately is not often found in large supermarket chains. Although I do enjoy leek flavor, I don’t really cook with it often mostly because it does need extensive washing to ensure that all the traces of dirt are removed. The method I use to deal with this is something I’ve seen on Food Network, where you slice the leek and submerge the slices in water. You need to leave chopped leek in for few minutes to let the sediment and dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl, then scoop, rinse and dry the leek slices. They are now ready to go!

Cleaning Leeks, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo

What you’ll need:

2 leeks

1 15.5 oz (439g) can small white beans

1 15.5 oz (439g) can black-eyed peas

1 15.5 oz (439g) can dark kidney beans

1/2 soy chorizo

32 oz (907 g) vegetable cooking stock

3 bay leaves

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Slice leeks across into thin rounds, then separate each round into individual circles. Fill a large bowl with water and submerge leek circles in it. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Using a skimmer spoon to remove the leek without disturbing the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the bowl. Give leek one more rinse, then pat dry with the cloth towel.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large pot with the cooking spray and turn the heat on to medium high. Add leek and let caramelize for 5 minutes or so.
  3. Add soy chorizo and stir to mix. If you are using Trader Joe’s brand please make sure that you remove the casing as this is not edible. Break the chorizo to small pieces and brown leek and chorizo mix for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add well-rinsed beans to the pot and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, mixing frequently.
  5. Add vegetable stock and bay leaves to the post. Bring the soup to boil, then decrease the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve the soup with some toast, corn chips or freshly baked bread. If you are feeling very decadent, you can top this soup with some Cashew Cream, or vegan shredded cheese of your choice. Some lime juice would work well, too!

Note for those using Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo: I used only half of Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, which added just enough flavor and spiciness to this soup as far as I am concerned. If you prefer more kick, go ahead and use the whole thing. If you are more on a cautious side, save the other half and transform it into my Vegan Mexican Lasagna. 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017