This is my friend’s mom’s recipe. She made it for us in college and kindly shared the recipe with me. I’ve been making it ever since (which is kind of a long time). You can make it for carnivores (with chicken) or vegetarians (with tofu). We first swapped the chicken for tofu when we were making this dish for a vegetarian friend. Now, we always use tofu.
A note on cilantro: Cilantro is one of those herbs that people either love or hate. We hate it so we leave it out, but I’ve included it in the recipe in case you’re a cilantro-lover.
A note on noodles: This photo of Mexican lasagna was taken before I started this wheat-free experiment. I’ve been experimenting with brown rice lasagna noodles and so far, the top noodle has maintained a cardboard-like consistency. (For the record, brown rice penne, spaghetti and fettuccine are all wonderful, but the lasagna noodles we’ve tried have not been so wonderful.) Does anyone have any recommendations for wheat-free lasagna noodles?
2 yellow bell peppers, halved and de-seeded
1 cup salsa
9 lasagna noodles
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1 cup skim milk
1 large egg
2 tsp flour
2 cups sliced, diced or shredded cooked chicken OR 1 package of tofu, drained, patted dry and cubed
¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1. Heat broiler. Spray baking sheet with canola oil.
2. Place pepper halves on baking sheet, cut side down. Broil peppers on top rack (about 3 inches below the heat source) for 5 minutes or so, until the skins are mostly charred.
3. Remove peppers from the oven and place in a saucepan with a lid.
4. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove them from the saucepan, de-skin them (the charred parts will peel right off) and dice.
5. Heat oven to 350°.
6. Spread ¼ cup of salsa over the bottom of a baking dish. Top with 3 noodles.
7. Whisk sour cream, milk, egg and flour in a medium bowl until blended.
8. Pour 2/3 cup sauce (the sour cream mixture) over the noodles. Scatter chicken or tofu over the sauced noodles then sprinkle with cilantro (if you’re using it). Add ½ cup of cheese and 2 tbsp (or a little more) of salsa.
9. Add 3 more noodles and then the yellow layer: 2/3 cup sauce, all the yellow peppers, ½ cup of cheese and all of the corn. Sprinkle with ¼ cup cilantro (if you must).
10. Top with the last 3 noodles. Add the remaining sauce, salsa and cheese. Cover with foil.
11. Bake 40-45 minutes. Let stand covered for 10 minutes. Cilantro-lovers—go ahead and sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top. Serve.