Mexican “Lasagna” Enchiladas Casserole

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Mexican lasagna enchiladas casserole

This recipe for Mexican “Lasagna” Enchiladas Casserole is a tribute to two great ladies and cooks, my mother, and my mother-in-law.  A little American transplant cooking style, combined with down-home Tex-Mex. It’s simple to put together and I’m sure it will quickly become a family favorite

Mexican “Lasagna” Enchiladas Casserole 


  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 1/2 medium onion diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup water or beef broth
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 (3.8 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound grated jack cheese
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans prepared enchilada sauce, or 1 can prepared enchilada sauce and 1 recipe Gail's Enchilada Sauce or Gravy
  • 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup oil for frying tortillas


Step 1

Heat the oven to 375º F

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan, when hot add the ground beef and the onions, cook, breaking apart the meat with the back of your spoon, until it is just cooked and the onions are soft. Add the salt, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Stir well then add the water or broth and let it simmer until the liquid has evaporated.

Step 2

While the meat mixture cooks, roast the poblano over an open flame or under the broiler. Place in a cover bowl and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Once it has cooled, remove the skin and seeds and roughly dice. Do not rinse the pepper as this dilutes it’s flavor, a little char left is fine.

Step 3

While the pepper is resting, and the meat is cooking, heat 1/4 cup oil in a small sauté pan. Fry each tortilla until just beginning to crisp, but not browned or hard. Remove to paper towels to drain, continue until all have been cooked.

Step 4

To assemble:

If using both sauces, mix together. Cover the bottom of an 8 x 8 x 2 baking dish with a thin layer of the enchilada sauce; place two whole tortillas on one side, slightly overlapping, cut one of the tortillas in half and place 1/2 on the other side, so the whole bottom is covered. Spread 1/3 of the meat mixture over the top, sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over, and top with the poblano. Make another layer of tortillas, (put the whole ones on the opposite side and the halves over what was the whole ones on the first layer); top with 1/3 of the meat mixture, 1/3 of the cheese and sprinkle the olives over the top. Pour some of the enchilada sauce to cover well. Make a third layer with all four of the remaining tortillas, overlapping as needed. Top with remaining meat mixture and then the rest of the enchilada sauce, finishing with remaining cheese. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and it is bubbly hot, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. (Always remember to serve on warmed plates, so when you take the casserole out of the oven, stick your plates into the hot oven for 2 – 3 minutes).


{The story behind Mexican “Lasagna” Enchiladas Casserole}


My husband was raised on Cheese Enchiladas.

His mother Gail was from Texas and would make them at least once a month topped with her Tex-Mex Enchilada Sauce or Gravy.  As the story goes, everyone liked something different inside of their enchilada – his dad had to have black olives but did not want chilies or onions.  His sister liked the onion and chilies, but not black olives. Gail was a purest… cheese only. My husband, the adventurous eater wanted “all of the above”.  In order to keep tabs on what was in what, she used toothpicks, one toothpick for Bill’s, two for Stacy’s and three for BB’s. It was quite the sight to see the pan come out of the oven with all these toothpicks sticking out.

Mexican “Lasagna” Enchiladas Casserole is a tribute to two great ladies and cooks, my mother, and my mother-in-law

I was raised on Beef Enchiladas.

My mother, being German was not so familiar with Mexican food so she would use a canned enchilada sauce. Living in the Los Angeles area, it was not hard to find brands like Las Palmas or La Victoria. which are made as an enchilada sauce should be made, with chilies, not tomatoes.  She would fill her tortillas with seasoned meat, diced black olives, and onion.  Open the can, pour over the sauce, add some shredded cheese, bake, and voila – enchiladas!

I make both cheese and meat enchiladas using either Gail’s gravy or canned sauce, depending on my mood.  But the other day I thought, “heck, why not mix it together? The best of both worlds”.

So I did.

And that’s how this recipe for Mexican “Lasagna” Enchiladas Casserole came to be. This casserole is best made with older, not so fresh, tortillas. And yes, I’m going to insist on corn, even though I know there are parts of this country where it’s hard to find them. I just don’t think flour tortillas would give the right flavor, or texture. But if that’s all you have, and that’s what you are used to…give it a go and let me know how it turns out.

I love the layers in this casserole, each bite is full of enchilada flavor! It goes together so easily I’m sure it will soon become a family favorite. It’s also perfect for taking to a pot-luck.

I served Mexican “Lasagna” Enchiladas Casserole with a simple Cara’s Mexican Style Broken Rice that my granddaughter taught me how to make, a winning combo.

Mexican lasagna enchiladas casserole in a casserole being served

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Chris on May 23, 2013

    Lindy, question…with 8 x 8 x 2 pan I am confused about how to fit in all those tortillas-especially the 3rd layer with 4. That is LOTS of overlap…also, how many servings = the 575 calories? I am trying this tonight 🙂

    • posted by LindySez on May 23, 2013

      Are you using 6 inch corn tortillas? If so, then the two side by side and one cut in half on the top should work. And three layers should work as well. Overlap is good, it adds density to the dish and it all gets soft and delish. Says it serves 8 so 1/8th of the dish is 1 serving = 575 calories. Using a low-fat cheese will help that number, it’s most of the calories 🙂 Let me know how it turns out for you.

      • posted by Chris on May 24, 2013

        Tortillas I had were 8″, I used 9 x 11″ pan and winged it on how to fit tortillas. Not sure I used as many as you indicate for smaller pan. Flavor was great and John had 2 helpings (very unusual!). It was a bit soft but tasty. Thanks.

        • posted by LindySez on May 24, 2013

          Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it. The tortillas may have needed to have been fried a little more or if they were pretty fresh, it can make a difference in the texture. But as long as the flavor was good … stuff them in however you can ~ Cheers

  2. posted by vinma on January 10, 2014

    I am totally sold on that Lasagna picture 🙂 We love Mexican food in our Household. and lasagna is my husband’s all time favorite. Great combination there. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

    • posted by LindySez on January 10, 2014

      Enjoy…it’s a great combo!

  3. posted by Elle on January 10, 2014

    This looks absolutely delish. I can see I have to stay aware from you Linda, you’re recipes look too yummy and I have a weak will.

    • posted by LindySez on January 10, 2014

      Aw, but most of my recipes will keep your zippers zipped and your buttons buttoned.

  4. posted by Cher on January 10, 2014

    I. Love. Food. This recipe combines my favorites and I will share it with my daughter who is learning to cook (and is quite good at it) who will love this! Thank you for sharing!

    • posted by LindySez on January 10, 2014

      I. Love. Food. Too! I hope you and your family enjoy!

  5. posted by Jessica on January 10, 2014

    Oh, this looks so yummy and cheesy and amazing. My girls aren’t really into Mexican food, but this one is worth giving a shot. Thanks for sharing!

    • posted by LindySez on January 10, 2014

      I don’t know where you live, but it might explain why 🙂 Expose Expose Expose…don’t let them think they don’t like something until they try it, and then if they don’t give them time…then give it again, about 5 years later…see if they change their minds…mine has…a number of times.

  6. posted by Tammy on January 11, 2014

    This looks so good — and even like something my 9-year-old could make! She loves to cook.

    • posted by LindySez on January 11, 2014

      Absolutely your 9-year old could make this, especially if she loves to cook. I started really “cooking” at about that age…so it’s been more than 50 years … OUCH…just saying that out loud …

  7. posted by elaine schoch on January 12, 2014

    I grew up on a similar dish and loved them!!! I had totally forgotten about this until your post. Guess what we’re having for dinner this week – yum!!!

  8. posted by Lovefoodies on November 10, 2014

    What a great recipe! Great flavours and it looks soooo tasty!
    Thanks fro sharing!

    • posted by LindySez on November 10, 2014

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the flavors are wonderful and it’s so easy to make. I hope you will enjoy it. Cheers ~ Lindy


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    43g (21g Sat, 15g Mono, 3g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium

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