Sometimes all you need to escape the ordinary is to put it together in a different way. This taco lasagna recipe combines layers of tortillas with refried beans, ground beef and all the usual taco toppings.
I love tacos and could probably eat them every day without losing interest, but once in a while it’s fun to re-imagine it and combine the ingredients I love so much in a different way. Pasta tacos and this taco lasagna are two of my favorite taco fusion recipes.
How to Make Taco Lasagna
Start out by browning the ground beef and seasoning it with a taco seasoning packet or homemade taco seasoning. You can add onions to the meat, if you want to. I don’t include it in the basic recipe, because enough people don’t like onions or can’t eat them.
You can make your own refried beans for this dish, or used the canned version. I prefer to make them myself, because then I know exactly what’s in them (plus it’s a lot easier than you might think). But when I’m in a hurry, I always have a can of beans in the cabinet to make it easy. If you don’t like refried beans, you can replace them with black beans.
If you’re using an 8×8″ pan, the tortillas will overlap too much if you don’t cut them. I use three tortillas for each layer – two full ones and one cut in half to fill in the spaces. Spread a layer of refried beans over the tortillas, layer on the salsa, sprinkle with seasoned ground beef, corn, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.
It takes three layers to fill up the casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake it for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Once you’ve taken it from the oven, you can cut pieces and place them on plates. You can use any toppings you want. Keep it simple, or add fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, cilantro and sour cream. I also like to put jalapenos in my taco lasagna, for a little extra kick.
About the cheese…. I like to use Monterey Jack cheese, but you can also use a blend called taco cheese that you can find in most groceries, or just use mozzarella. The cheese is up to you.
Tortillas or Pasta Sheets?
For this recipe, I use corn tortillas in the place of lasagna noodles because I think it makes a really great combination, but you can substitute the tortillas for pasta to make it more of a fusion dish. You can also use flour tortillas instead of corn. It’s up to you. I’ve tried to add crunchy tostada shells, but they inevitably become soggy and lose their crunch.
If you’re going to use lasagna sheets, don’t use the ones that don’t need to be cooked first. There isn’t enough water in this recipe to rehydrate the pasta as it cooks, so the sheets of lasagna turn out still slightly crunchy or, at best, crumbly.
What to Cook Taco Lasagna In?
Just like with a typical lasagna, you will need a casserole dish. I use an 8×8” square casserole dish. This size makes a good amount for two people. A larger casserole dish would be needed to feed a family. This recipe is meant for an 8×8″ dish.
How to Freeze Taco Lasagna
Freezing leftovers is a great way to extend the life of a casserole, especially when there are just two of you. It isn’t always easy to make a small enough lasagna, so it’s likely you’ll have some left over. If you want to freeze it, it’s actually quite easy.
Use an airtight container, or a freezer Ziplock bag, to avoid freezer burn. You can leave it in the freezer up to one month. After that, it will begin to degrade.
When you’re ready to use it, take the container or bag out of the freezer. You can microwave the leftovers from frozen, but if you plan to reheat it in the oven, you’ll want to allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Reheat in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. Or reheat in the oven for 20 minutes on 350 degrees F.
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- 9 corn tortillas
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 pkg taco seasoning or substitute 3 tbsp homemade taco seasoning
- 12 oz can refried beans
- 12 oz jar salsa
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 6 oz canned or fresh corn
- 1 ½ cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese Mexican blend cheese or Mozzarella can be substituted
- Optional toppings: Fresh chopped tomoatoes avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x8” oven-safe dish.
- Brown the ground beef until cooked through. Add the taco seasoning and stir to combine.
- Arrange the tortillas in the bottom of the dish. Cut them in half if necessary, so they don't overlap too much.
- Spread a thin layer of refried beans over the tortillas, spread on the salsa, sprinkle with seasoned ground beef, corn, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.
- Add another layer, to build 3 full layers. Don't place a final layer of tortillas on the top.
- Cover with foil and bake it for about 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Divide into portions and top each portion with your desired toppings.