According to the latest position paper on vegetarian diets from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 3.3% of American adults are vegetarian or vegan.
Vegetarian diets have gained mainstream acceptance and popularity in recent years. Even the latest Dietary Guidelines, while not discouraging consumption of meat, urge Americans to eat a diet consisting mostly of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Plant-based diets offer many health advantages. Compared to non-vegetarians, vegetarians tend to have a lower incidence of obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and certain types of cancer. These health benefits may result from the fact that vegetarian and vegan diets tend to be rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy foods, nuts and seeds, and lower in saturated fat.
Although vegetarian eating patterns vary, they are all free of meat (beef, pork, veal, and lamb), poultry and fish. The lacto-ovo vegetarian includes eggs and dairy products. Lacto-vegetarians include dairy foods, but no eggs, whereas ovo-vegetarians enjoy eggs, but no dairy. Vegans or total vegetarians, exclude all animal products, dairy, and eggs.
Some individuals classify themselves as part-time vegetarians, or flexitarians. They focus on plant foods, but occasionally enjoy meat. Following a part-time vegetarian diet just means eating more plant-based meals without having to give up meat entirely.
Today’s Black Bean and Corn Enchilada Casserole recipe does call for reduced-fat cheddar cheese and sour cream. Vegans and ovo-vegetarians can try a dairy-free cheddar cheese and sour cream. If your grocery store doesn’t carry a vegan sour cream, try a dairy-free plain yogurt.
Crystal Grimshaw, exercise physiologist with Henry Ford Health System and enthusiastic vegan, raves about the So Delicious brand of dairy-free foods. According to the company’s website, you can find its products at Busch’s, Meijer, Kroger, Walmart, and Whole Foods.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
Black Bean and Corn Enchilada Casserole
Serves: 9 / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cans (10 ounces each) enchilada sauce, green or red
9 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 block (7 ounce) reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 ¼ cups shredded lettuce
9 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
9 tablespoons diced tomatoes
¼ cup sliced green onion
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil and add onion and green pepper. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and continue to sauté 1 minute. Add vinegar and continue cooking, stirring until liquid has evaporated. Add black beans and corn, and stir to combine.
To begin layering casserole, cover the bottom of the baking dish with a ¼ cup enchilada sauce. Place 3 tortillas, cutting some to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Top with one-third of the black bean mixture. Top with one third of the shredded cheese and one third of the enchilada sauce. Continue layering in that order, ending with enchilada sauce. Be sure sauce covers any exposed tortilla edges. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and heated through.
To serve, cut the casserole into 9 pieces and garnish each piece with ¼ cup shredded lettuce, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 tablespoon diced tomatoes and green onion,
Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart®.
255 calories (42% from fat), 12 grams fat (4 grams sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 28 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 509 mg sodium, 20 mg cholesterol, 284 mg calcium, 5 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 meat, 1 fat
Read or Share this story: https://www.freep.com/story/life/food/2019/09/07/easy-casserole-vegetarian/2213980001/