I have forever seen recipes on TV and around the web for something called Mexican Lasagna, a giant layered casserole that contains pretty much everything we love and cannot get enough of — tortillas, beans, salsa, cheese and then some — but couldn’t bring myself to make one because I make bad decisions based on trivial things, such as the name, which made me cringe (must we blame the people of Naples or Mexico for the unholy ways we Frankenstein their cuisine?) and the fact that I hadn’t exactly run out of excuses to eat tortillas, beans, salsa and cheese yet and thus didn’t need to enlist another one. Don’t worry, Deb is going to see the error of her ways in the next paragraph.
Sometime in the hazy weeks after bringing this bunny home from the hospital, I spied a version of the dish in Katie Workman’s Mom 100 Cookbook that stopped me in my tracks for all the reasons any recipe ever does: I was so hungry, and it was so pretty. Regardless, I then looked for excuses not to make it, first arguing to no one in particular that there was no way was it nutritional enough to pass off as dinner, only to realize it contains nearly 4 cups of beans and 6 of vegetables. I then decided that there’s no way you could fit all that in one little cake and did that charming thing I do when I cook but I’m too tired to cook where I point out all the ways it couldn’t possibly work and was definitely going to flop and instead, what went into the oven was an exactly perfect-as-written and what came out looked exactly like the photo and tasted even better than I could have dreamed.
It has taken a level of self-control I succeed in employing nowhere else in my life to not make this at least once a month since, and it’s only the fact that my next book is not going to solely focus on taco tortes (though I would need little convincing at this point) that I’ve somewhat varied our diets since. It’s honestly that good. Does the fact that it’s also pretty — prettier even when you make it because you’re going to remember to line the pan with foil or use a springform so it comes out neatly — really matter? No. And by no, I mean, seriously, I’m not fooling anyone.
One year ago: Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas
Two years ago: Garlicky Party Bread with Cheese and Herbs
Three years ago: Pasta and White Beans with Garlic-Rosemary Oil
Four years ago: Cheddar Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread
Five years ago: Meatball Subs with Caramelized Onions
Six years ago: Mixed Citrus Salad with Feta and Mint and Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes
Seven years ago: Chicken Milanese + An Escarole Salad and Flaky Blood Orange Tart
Eight years ago: Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree and Candied Grapefruit Peels
Nine years ago: Icebox Cake
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
1.5 Years Ago: Blueberry Crumb Cake
2.5 Years Ago: Charred Corn Crepes
3.5 Years Ago: Zucchini Tomato and Rice Gratin
4.5 Years Ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chive Popovers
Adapted, just barely, from the Mom 100 Cookbook
The original recipe calls for making this with 4 tortillas, or 4 layers. I made mine with 5 both times, but think 6 would be even nicer, so there’s less heavy filling between each, and have recommended this below. While you can use a fitted 8-inch cake pan if you have one, I have found that whatever bits of filling and/or cheese spill into the margins of a 9-inch cake pan are the most delicious parts — don’t you dare leave them in there. A 5- or 6-high stack will go over the top of a standard cake pan, but if you’re nervous about spillover (a non-issue in a 9-inch pan), you can always bake it on a foil-lined tray. Finally, should you wish to lightly fry your tortillas to a light crisp before you layer them, I’d expect them to get less soft when baked.
Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer or light meal with a salad, 6 to 8 for dinner
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive, vegetable, or canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh chile pepper, chopped small (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (adjusted to taste)
1 can (14 ounces) or 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, drained, with 1/3 cup juice reserved
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black, red or kidney beans (or a mixture of any two), drained and rinsed
Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh (from 1 to 2 ears), from 1 15-ounce can, drained, or frozen and thawed
3 cups (about 2 3/4 ounces) rough-chopped spinach leaves
6 medium-size (8-inch) flour tortillas (although corn should work too)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (I used a mix)
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or salsa for serving (optional)
Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a 9-inch round cake pan or cast-iron skillet tightly with foil and spray it with a nonstick spray. Or, you can coat a 9-inch springform with nonstick spray and skip the foil, since it’s easier to remove from a springform.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, fresh chile pepper (if using), cumin, chili powder, and and cook until you can smell the spices and the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with the 1/3 cup of reserved juice and the tomato paste, then stir in the beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the bean mixture simmer until everything is hot, about 3 minutes. Add the corn and spinach and stir until the spinach has wilted and everything is well blended and hot, about 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper as necessary.
Place 1 tortilla in the prepared cake pan. Spread one-sixth (just eyeball it) of the bean and vegetable mixture evenly over the tortilla, then sprinkle 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the shredded cheese evenly over the top. Repeat with 5 more layers, ending with the last of the bean mixture and shredded cheese.
Bake the tortilla stack until it is hot throughout and the top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. You can run it under the broiler for extra color on top, if you wish. Let the it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes, before removing it from the pan, either by carefully lifting the foil that lines the pan or by opening the sprinform sides. Cut it into wedges using a sharp knife and serve it with a spatula or better yet a pie server. Sprinkle the top with cilantro, if desired, and serve with sour cream and/or salsa on the side, if you like.
Do ahead: You can make this ahead of time, cover it in the fridge overnight then leave it at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before baking it. The torte also reheats well.
196 comments on taco torte
I love that you made this with beans! Such a delicious sounding meal!
Your daughter is gorgeous! I see a strong mother/daughter resemblance. :) This recipe looks like it would be a hit with my kids, I will definitely give it a try.
The photo of you and your bunny is delicious! ENJOY!
This looks great! Here in New Mexico we make a similar dish with corn tortillas and meat/calabacitas/cheese/beans in any combination, but we just call them stacked enchiladas, which makes the silly name of Taco Lasagna, which I always hated too, a nonissue.
Yep. My mom grew up in New Mexico and says it’s the *only* way to make enchiladas.
I was just thinking about dinner because afternoons with 3 kids are crazy! This looks delicious and healthy….Meatless Monday baby!!;-) Was there a bean or bean combo that you particularly enjoyed??
I’ve been making what we call Enchilada Casseroles for a while now, just layering the ingredients instead of rolling them. I confessed it to a friend of mine whose family is from Mexico, expecting her to roll her eyes, and she just laughed and said that her mom does the same thing because it’s less work. So now I feel less guilty about the whole thing, plus it lets you be more precise about taking just as much as you want without trying to figure out where one enchilada ends and another begins. :)
When I do combinations like this one, I like to throw some diced zucchini in the mix, too. I’m sure coarsely shredded would work, too. It’s a great flavor/texture addition.
I know these as New Mexico-style enchiladas, and they’re totally legit.
Oh LORD. I was going to make enchiladas tonight, but this looks so much prettier than those sloppy casseroles. I’m going to do this with corn tortillas — I’ll have to layer them in the pan but I think it’ll be OK. And I’m going to add shredded chicken and potentially some enchilada sauce just because yum (and it will help with the layered tortilla problem). It might not come out quite as pretty but I dare to dream.
Oh, and I’m so with you on “Taco Lasagna.” Just no.
Re, beans — I am ever a Goya girl (because they are always perfectly cooked with no broken skins) and used 1 can black and 1 can “small red.”
OMG, I must have this. I need some new veggie dishes and this looks amazing.
In the finished dish how is the texture of the tortilla layers? The problem I’ve had with mexican “lasagna” type dishes in the past is a textural one…I just really don’t like soggy tortillas apparently. They always end up kind of gummy and slimyish to me.
It’s like there’s something in the foodblog water! I was just reading a piece at The Kitchn about Smörgåstårta / Sandwich Cakes. Layer all the savory things! (And there’s a good multilingual pun here with ‘torta’, aka the best sandwich ever that you’ll get from many a taco truck.)
Hypothetically, I want to add ground meat (by hypothetical I mean definitely)
Should I just add after onions and saute with ready of fixins?
Would subbing half the beans with cooked, drained ground beef work? Or would it continue to release too much moisture in the oven?
This looks spectacular, I can’t wait to try it out! In the following sentence, I think we’re missing something, however… “Regardless, I then looked for excuses not to make it, first arguing to no one in particular that there was no way was it nutritional enough to pass off as dinner, only to realize it ** nearly 4 cups of beans and 6 of vegetables.”
This is very close to the mixture that we use to make quesadillas. I throw in some additional spices and cilantro. Meatless Monday meal!
I love the way you write. You draw me in. I’m usually one to skim right down to the recipes, but I love reading your stories about the delectable food you so obviously enjoy making and eating. Thank you for continuing to drag me away from work to read your blog and be kitchen-inspired, even on Monday mornings! Cheers!
Nuts! I said quesadillas and I meant enchiladas!
Oh my, that’s exactly the right thing for my boyfriend, and just perfect when Super Bowl is just around the corner! Looks awesome!
Would love to try it, it sounds fantastic, but I already got everything from 78 to 710g of spinach, depending on the conversion program I use and if I convert cups or ounces to grams. Not much better with the other ingredients. Help! I usually do some guesswork in quantities if I am not sure, but the range here seems a bit astonishing. Anyone with any idea what I am doing wrong?
I think I’ll try subbing in ground beef and roasted cauliflower for the beans and corn. That should reduce the carbs.
And here I was just going to make plain boring cheese quesadillas with a black bean riff on succotash on the side. The toddler will still get a quesadilla, but for the grownups, I think this is just the ticket!
Nicole — I didn’t do this but suggested you could lightly fry you tortillas first to a crisp so they’re less likely to get soft.
Weight of spinach — 2.75 ounces is 78 grams. I will add the rest of the weights shortly.
Camille — Thanks and !!! (mostly because after the obsessive discussions last time about copyeditors, I made sure I gave this two extra reads)
Tiernan — I definitely think it could work and it’s a common ingredient in these kinds of “lasagnas.”
This looks incredible, and we have all the ingredients to make it tonight! We’ll have to let you know what we thing!
In re: using corn tortillas, a few things based on my experience with the dreaded Taco Lasagna. First, they’re never 8″ around, more like 6″ max, so you’ll want to use a smaller pan and you’ll have filling left over. This is not a problem, because extra filling + extra corn tortillas = soft tacos! Or just make two tortes. Second, you will absolutely need to fry corn tortillas before layering, or you will have layers of yummy filling and corn mush. You don’t have to fry until crispy, just less than a minute per side in a shallow skillet of neutral oil, although you certainly could go full-crunchy if you wanted to. I wouldn’t count on a corn-tortilla version holding up to making ahead and reheating without turning to mush, regardless of frying.
Two words: corn chips.
My grandmother learned a version of this when living in Las Cruces after the war. As mentioned above they called them stacked enchiladas. They would fry the tortilla, dip it in enchilada sauce, then stack and bake as above. When I lived in Mexico I was told they call it in Spanish a Pastel Indio, or Indian Cake, sounds like calling it a torte is a variation of that. We filled ours with chopped onion and grated cheese with just cheese on the very top part. Over the years I have done them with Salsa Verde and every manner of leftover and vegetable inside. I stopped frying out of laziness and mess avoidance and just dip them in sauce, but now I will do it with no sauce at all as you have done.
We can eat it with the easy salsa you posted on another date and I canned up out of my garden this summer. Now I just have to find decent tortillas. The real thing should be made with corn, lime and water, nothing else. The ones in most grocery stores must have a shelf life of 12 years with all the crud they add in.
If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, their corn tortillas are the “real thing”
This might be the perfect dish to bring to the Super Bowl party potluck this weekend!
This sounds like a much healthier cousin of my lazy layered enchilada casserole and it looks delish and easy! Can’t wait to try it!
I’m with you calling something lasagna when it is a Mexican dish just feels wrong. This looks delicious!
Noticed the reference to your next book. My daughter bought me your first book and it is so beautiful. I can’t wait for the next, and now you have me curious as to what will be in it! Always enjoy your recipes and your gorgeous children; reminds me of raising my three girls.
Holy %$#&!! Sorry…that’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw the first picture. A more appropriate reaction would be, My! That looks yummy!:)
I’m a chronic blog “browser”, except when it comes to Smitten Kitchen. Thanks for inspiring me to read AND try new recipes!
I love all of those layers!
i love love love the idea of this torte..and i did have a recipe called mexican lasanga on my blog..oppps
This looks incredible! How many servings does it make?
I have an odd aversion to corn that is not on a cob in summer. So I was wondering if I could make this without the corn or if I left it out what would be a good replacement? Thanks so much!
I’ll myself add to the ‘I’m from the Southwest and have been making stacked enchiladas forever’ crowd. My Dad had a co-worker’s Hispanic wife teach Mom how to do it soon after my parents married; to the end of his life it was one of Dad’s favorite meals.
We’ve played so many variations on the theme it’s ridiculous: ground beef was the original filling, with black olives, enchilada sauce and lots of cheese, but any ground or shredded meat will work, and I’ve made ’em vegetarian, vegan, heavy-veggies-light-meat, with beans black, pinto and kidney… Pretty much anything you like that goes with the spicing and will sit on the tortillas is good. We have always used corn tortillas, and never fried them, just dunked them in some of the sauce (Las Palmas brand Red Chile Sauce, with additions to taste).
And they were always just ‘enchiladas’ to us. I have been told, however, that the proper nomenclature is Enchiladas Nortenas (‘enchiladas as the lady from the north of Mexico – eg, Dad’s friend’s wife – makes them’; there should be a tilda over that n) or Budin Azteca (‘Aztec Pudding’)
This is exactly the sort of home-y home cooking that January (eek! February!) calls for. Thank you!
I am old. I have been a nanny. I have run my own home-based daycare. I have worked at 2 preschools. I have many friends with many kids. I have 2 gorgeous young adult kids of my own. I’ve seen many, many babies in my many years on this planet. But your little girl is officially the cutest, most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my baby-filled life. Must. eat. her. up! Congratulations! (Oh, and Jacob is no slouch–such a handsome little boy!)
Blahhh! I’m hungry! … Hey, this isn’t too ‘pretty’ for Super Bowl, agreed?
Dang! I just got back from the grocery store. (Literally, like 20 minutes ago.) I would have picked up ingredients for this – looks & sounds delicious!
I made this tonight. Yum! I had some uncooked Tortilla Land tortillas in the fridge, so I cooked them a bit longer than normal so they were really crispy. They held their shape really well.
We had this tonight (only three tortillas, that was plenty) and it was very tasty. I told my family we could call it enchilada pie or taco torte or Mexican lasagna or whatever and my daughter decided to call it Aragorn instead because it has many names.
Deb – this looks awesome, and quite a bit like one of my old standby recipes, Moosewood’s Black Bean Chilaquile (from the Moosewood Low Fat cookbook). The main difference is that they use crushed tortilla chips instead of regular tortillas. That recipe calls for fat-free cheese, ugh, but I make it with whatever I have on hand (never low fat). It’s amazing and always delicious (and my favorite way to use up leftover tortilla chips so that I don’t eat them all myself), and I’m sure this is as well!
Deb, any thoughts on how this would work with your charred corn crepes, in a crepe cake? I’m not a huge fan of flour tortillas, and wonder if corn would be likely to turn to mush in a torte, so I was thinking of the crepes…
Oh my goodness, this looks delicious!! Definitely one I want to try. xxx
Why is everyone talking about your cute daughter in the photo but I don’t see it????
click on the highlighted word “bunny” as in
Sometime in the hazy weeks after bringing this bunny home from the hospital,
This looks magnificent. I have friends who lived in the SW for years and make stacked enchiladas, too. Your recipe looks plenty spicy, but one way to up that a bit is to use pepper jack cheese. Yum.
I’m jealous! Where can I see pics of you and your kids? The photography of your food is always well done, bit I miss seeing your “critics”. Can you do a littleMOMMY AND ME in your pics please.
Kathryn and Lucy- just tap on the word bunny in Deb’s post above to see photo!
And my this looks good. Gooed enough for a party!
This looks like a version of a dish called chilaquiles (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilaquiles) , of which Madhur Jaffrey has a vegetarian version in one of her books, which I’ve been making for years. It’s with nacho chips instead of tortillas, and my kids think it’s the best thing. The corn chips stay crispy mostly, though some soak up the salsa and are delish. Yours sounds and looks v good – veg too! I might just have to give it a go. (Oops, just noticed that @Hilary has already mentioned chilaquiles – looks like we’re onto something there)
Love it! Been making it for years, MOM 100 is one of my favorite basics cookbook. Yours looks amazing too!
Mmm, this looks so good!
I was just looking for something to make for the super bowl. Thanks!
This looks so good! I’ll probably try subbing the beans for cooked ground beef… I’ve tried many times, but still struggle to get past the texture of beans!
Ancient reader, newbie commenter here. Two things..
1) please people, make your own beans! Try a bag from Rancho Gordo, easily ordered online, always fresh and extra nutritious/delicious. (I’m not involved with that company, just a grateful longtime customer).
2) I re-read and don’t think I missed it… Did you state how many servings this makes? (realizing that depends on if you are eating in front of family or if there are other independent witnesses involved..)
this would be a big hit around here. I showed the photo to himself and he said yes! I make our nachos by making a sauce of onion, black beans and tomatoes and monterey jack cheese, then putting that on some nachos with guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Cut way down on the nachos and bumped up the veg. The next day we make sandwiches of the mix in the toaster oven.
Deb, all of the above re the recipe. On another note, the video of your son sledding and admonishing dad to let go! is great. I’ll bet you are starting to hear tha a lot now.
Why is my brain stalling on ‘chili pepper’? Is it a specific type? It’s still early here!! Would love to make this…I think my kids would devour it!! xo
My Mom made a sort of taco casserole growing up that I loved – this reminds me a lot of it! yumm!
Wow this is really filling and satisying! What a great idea, this lasagna is packed with goodness and flavour. Bookmarked.
Rebecca — I was thinking of a jalapeno or the like. However, my chile powder has plenty of kick, so I didn’t use one there; the kid doesn’t like heat and the husband will coat his wedge in Tapatio either way. :)
Chilaquiles — I always thought these involved a deliberate softening of pieces of corn tortillas, usually in salsa or with eggs. I.e. insanely delicious but while these tortillas do get soft, it’s not the goal.
TexasDeb — We make our own beans all the time and I’m a great fan of Rancho Gordo. But for this, with so much else going on, I liked that it was quick.
Servings — My bad. So, we split this into 8 wedges, which I’d call a not-very-big dinner serving. (We make my lazy taco slaw on the side: shredded red cabbage, carrots, sliced scallions, parsley or cilantro, a lot of lime, salt and pepper and just enough mayo — a spoonful — to make it into more of a dressing. You could just use olive oil.) I think you could go up to 10 for a party and that some people might like a heartier 1/6 slice serving for dinner. Will add this information up top.
lily — I would not because those are too soft and pancake-like. They can’t hold a whole lot.
It looks like it would feed a crowd – lots of great color too! Getting hungry!
i have never made something as amazing looking as this, but when i make enchiladas i use what are called “soft corn tortillas.” i get them at whole foods, made by their house 365 brand. for me it’s the perfect middle ground – pliable with no frying or heating necessary, and they don’t turn to mush under sauce. regular corn tortillas are too thick and also gritty (imho anyway…i have come around on “real” corn for tacos, at least, but not for baked things), & just a thought for those iffy on flour. picture:
I’ve been making this for years and call it Tortilla Pie. I use 10″ tortillas in a 10″ springform pan (put on cookie sheet when baking in case of leakage). I always add either 1 lb. ground beef, browned, or pulled pork because MEAT. I also put a handful of chopped cilantro in with the filling. The 10″ size is ideal for a group (ie: Superbowl) and for sure serve with guacamole. Yum.
my family would go bonkers for this taco meal! Looks epic.
I’ve made a hundred of these, but none as fancy! It’ll be nice to have a real recipe in my back pocket.
I’ve seen these types of recipes around as well but usually they look so darn complicated. This looks perfect and delicious. I’m making it for the Super Bowl for sure. Love the pic of you and your “bunny”. I adore her curls!
Yum- I got your post this morning in my inbox and this looked so good we tried it tonight for dinner-YUM it was a family hit. The tortillas weren’t soggy but I might try frying them beforehand just for the crispness. I also used about half the cheese and it still tasted great. We will definitely make this again
This looks and sounds incredible, yum!
I just finished dinner so I shouldn’t be hungry but I am *literally* drooling and it is so pretty I think I have tears in my eyes and what? it’s full of vegetables for those mostly-meatless homes like ours and why do I have to wait twenty hours before tomorrow night’s dinner?
Thank you a million thank-yous.
This recipe appeared in my inbox yesterday, and I forwarded it to my husband. He surprised me by making it last night. It was wonderful! I’m certain he made no changes and used a springform pan. It came out beautifully and looked & tasted fabulous. This recipe is definitely going into immediate rotation. Thank you Deb!!
Years ago, my friend who had three little boys used to make something similar to this for her sons. She called it burrito pie. and made it when she only had 3 tortillas left in the package. Hers was good; however, it did not contain any of the extra veggies. It was only meat, beans, sauce, and cheese. The kids liked that simple version, but this one is definitely for grown ups. I’m making this as soon as I get some tortillas.
Made this last night; it will become a regular for a meatless meal. None of my carnivores missed the meat, although I do see how ground beef could be added in addition to the beans or for part of them. My only cake pan is 8 inches and I wanted to follow Deb’s recommendation to use more than 4 tortillas. I used 6 and cooked the torte in a 12 inch skillet lined with foil so it was probably closer to 10. I also pan toasted the tortillas so they were slightly crisp. Four big eaters and one not so, and we had leftovers enough for two small helpings.
Great combo of flavors; thanks Deb!
Going to make this with some French cooking school students – a taste of USA!
Would this travel well? I’m guessing it’s better hot, but would it reheat or microwave ok? I’d probably fry the tortillas for crispness, but am wondering if they just wouldn’t hold up. Thanks.
I made this last night – fantastic! Both of us loved it. I made it as written (because when I read it, I had all the ingredients!). I always love a good non-meat dinner and this was perfect, though I admit to using shameful amount of cheese.
I am particularly fond of dinners that a.) re-heat well as we are only 2 and b.) would make a great next day breakfast scramble.
This fits both bills. For my breakfast scramble I usually have grilled vegetables or left over pasta (heat a little butter in a pan, throw in some left overs and let them heat up a bit, then pour in a beaten egg or 2). For this I used an 1/8 slice and used a spatula to slice it up a bit in the pan – it’s one of the best left-over breakfasts I’ve ever had.
This is a keeper.
I made this last night and it was delicious! My whole family loves including my 13 month old. Super excited to see what you will be posting today!
Delicious recipe (as always)! As a carnivore trying to do more meatless and healthy, this will be a new favorite.
For the folks asking about your kids’ photos, Deb always has a word in her posts that a hyperlink to a delightful photo or video! I love looking for them. In this post its in the first sentence under the 3rd photo….the word “bunny”. And an adorable bunny she is!
OMG Deb! I want this now! But, alas, I am on a carb-less diet for the foreseeable future. Definitely saving the recipe for my birthday. I always do a Mexican theme dinner for it. :)
I’ve made a variation of this for years, but yours is so much prettier.
We call it “Nacho’sagna” because my husband always snitches bits of whatever I’m prepping. We call regular lasagna “‘sagna” when we’re lazy…
So I was making this and smacked his hand when he picked at the cheese and told him, “Boy, that is Not’cho ‘sagna. Back off.” That was it. It became a family joke. =)
Little bit of work to make this one but it looks like it’s worth it. I suppose if I wanted to make it a meat dish I could just add some chicken or pork to it. I’ll try it vegetarian first.
Oh my! This is a culmination of all my dreams come true. I will be making pronto.
chorizo. that is all.
My husband used to make this in college.
I made this for a head start on tomorrow night’s dinner, but I couldn’t resist saving a little of the filling to mix in with leftover rice as a little supper for myself. Oh Deb. Well done.
One question, does three cups of spinach really come out to just under three ounces? I had a 6 oz bag of baby spinach and it looked like just enough so I threw in the whole thing. I can never quite tell with greens, they wilt down to so little. But my torte looks (I think) almost identical to yours and it didn’t taste too green.
Meghan — I agree, greens are a hard thing to measure by cup. The weight I gave was of rough-chopped baby spinach, but not packed in or anything.
Made this for a Super Bowl party last night (along with the potato chip cookies) and people were really excited about it. I brought it in part so I’d know there was something kind of dinner-like (and veg-friendly) so I wouldn’t eat NOTHING but chips and dip for dinner (just MOSTLY.) Fast, easy, and excellent!
Oh. My. God. So. Good. I made this tonight, and it was fast, easy and delicious. Even the picky child, who initially made the “yucky” face, admitted that this was pretty good (high praise from her). This will be going on heavy rotation at our house, thanks Deb!
I had some leftover Mexican style shredded chicken that I had made in the crockpot; I used it as the filling for this and it was sooooo good! The crispy bits that fall around the edges of the pan are the most delicious part, but the actual torte itself was so good, the tortillas get so soft and practically melt into the cheese and filling. I will definitely make again, thanks!
My nine year old made this tonight for dinner with very little help from me. He loves to cook and I love recipes that are simple enough for kids to use. It turned out fabulous! Everyone is already asking when we can have it again! Thanks!
Loved this recipe! I assembled 48 hours before baking… Not intentional, but life got in the way. It turned out beautifully! I am not a big corn fan, so I substituted diced, roasted red potatoes, because potato tacos are basically my favorite thing ever. Also added some soy ground beef. Would have been good with beef beef or tofu, etc. The recipe stands up really well to customization. Thanks for posting!
I am new to this site. I made this dish Sunday. I thought it would make great lunches for work. My husband who claims he hates “beans and greens” has already gone through more than half. So much for my week of lunches. It was delicious.
This was an excellent recipe! Everything works perfectly and a real crowd pleaser! Keeper for the family…..keeper for taking to a party, keeper for entertaining-seriously delicious!
Surprised no one has mentioned this yet, so I’ll say it: YES, this is delicious with whole wheat tortillas. Made it this week, my wife and I both loved it, and it held up perfectly for leftovers; I feared the nutty taste of the whole wheat would be unwelcome, but honestly you barely notice it, and the tortillas didn’t get gritty or melt away. (And I’m no whole wheat partisan — for example I hate whole wheat pasta, which is an abomination unto the pasta gods — so you can trust me on that.)
I am making this right now! I realized in the middle of cooking that I am essentially making a bean enchilada filling, so I used some of my tricks for that, namely mix in a couple of teaspoons of chipotle canning sauce (I squeeze a chipotle with garlic press right after the garlic) and some crumbled queso fresco I had in the fridge into the cooked filling. I kept the recommended shredded cheese as well, but I like small bits of melted queso right in the filling and I doubt it will turn out to be too cheesy. I also used frozen chopped spinach rather than fresh. This substitution makes this something you can make from pantry ingredients at the end of the week. Making an avocado crema to go with this as well! Can you do a cooking beans from scratch tutorial, please? I consider myself a good cook, but suck at cooking beans. Mine either end up mushy or crumbly.
Made this the other night for dinner – used butternut squash with the black beans, peppers, etc. The possibilities are endless. I can see this will be a regular meal in our vegetarian kitchen. Thanks a bunch – it was fabulous!
Made this last night as is and it was fantastic so thank you. Great way to get a lot of veggies in a meal for kids.
Where has this been all of my life? I’ve been looking a good and filling vegetarian recipe for my twin sister. I’ve been through many recipe books and all I seem to find are soups or something super complicated that requires expensive ingredients. I really am excited to try this recipe, thanks!
I recently discovered butter tortillas. Life will never be the same. :-)
SARA, I live in Dallas. Our Central Market has people making Butter Tortillas all day long. They are still warm when put in bags. They ARE life changing!
I tried this with crispy corn chips to get more crunch of the classic taco – it works great!
Making this tonight!
Sara…..butter tortillas???? Tell me more!
Made this for dinner this weekend. It was delicious!! Thanks for all the reliable recipes.
I made this last week for the first time. It was so good, my bf called his sister to come pick-up a couple slices from us! I’m making it again tonight! We are addicted, and it’s so easy. I sub one can of beans for a cup and 1/2 of Beyond Beef crumbles, but that’s the only deviation. :)
I made this for dinner tonight and loved it! My wife and adult son also loved it. Found diced tomatoes with spicy red pepper at the grocery and used that, along with the cumin and chipotle pepper it gave a very nice heat. I tossed the tortillas into the preheated oven for a few minutes to toast them a bit and they seemed to hold up pretty well. I will be making this again! Thanks!
This was quick and yummy! I made it gluten-free and individual-sized using some 6″ corn tortillas that have been hanging out in the fridge. Mistakenly put an extra tortilla on top but next time I would leave the toppings open-faced, since it got a bit tough to cut through. Made a whole recipe for two of us and used the extra in the twice-baked potatoes recipe another night… so good! :)
I know why it took you so long to make this, Deb–it is greater than the sum of its parts. I made it the other night because I had all of the ingredients and it is quick, and it was a hit with the family, which includes a 3- and 5-year-old. Thanks for posting it–I’d seen it in The Mom 100 but was a bit skeptical that it would be worth the trouble, but after you posted it I knew it was worth a try.
has anyone tried it without the tomato paste? I’m all out…
So this is my new go-to Mexican weeknight dinner. My whole fam loves it. Thank you Deb for saving dinner for this working mom.
I also wanted to tell you about a modification I made tonight that you might like. It was accidental, because after cutting an onion I realized I was out of chili powder. Instead, I used about 3 teaspoons of the sauce from a can of adobo peppers. Highly recommend! Added the most perfect flavor.
Our kids are 8, 6 and 2 – it’s a hit with the whole family and on weekly rotation! We don’t use the tomato paste, bc so often I’m out, but often use fire roasted tomatoes and sometimes up the spices and play around with adding a little oregano, adobo sauce, Etc whatever is on hand. This is an easy dish to keep the basic formula but add in whatever you need to use up from the veg drawer, too! Leftovers are even better – and it also freezes well – so sometimes I make two! Such a simple idea but I’ve never made it quite like this or thought I’d find something like this my two meat eaters would find so flavorful they wouldn’t even miss the meat. Genius! I’d love to see the cookbook with all kinds of torte recipes
Made this tonight and my family loved it! Yum Yum!
Wow, this was so good! Much greater than the sum of its parts, as someone else said. I used a little less cheese (5-6 oz), only 1/2 cup corn because it was all I had, no spinach (husband doesn’t like greens, what’s wrong with him), added a puréed chipotle en adobo, and used fire roasted tomatoes. Using four tortillas, I’d say it served four people. Loving these weeknight dinners you’re posting lately!
This was delicious! I tweaked it a bit to the ingredients I had on hand, and I can’t wait to make it again! Filling but not too rich, an impressive weeknight dinner. Thanks!
While this was delicious I cannot see how you got 4 cups of beans from 2 15oz cans. I barely got two. Also the 1 1/2 cups of corn would be considered a starch not a vegetable. And under 3 ounces of spinach? No matter what the volume measure this is barely one serving. Like I said delicious, but definitely nutritionally lacking. I will make this again, a salad on the side will be forthcoming.
Beenz — 15 ounce cans of beans have, by definition (and serving size on the back) 1.5 to 2 cups in each. I’m sorry if it wasn’t to your liking; I cannot imagine 2 cans of beans being a single serving. That said, this isn’t “health” food — it’s more like something I’d expected to be very unhealthy that turned out to have a surprising amount of vegetables and beans in it.
I made this with 6 layers of corn tortillas. The edges were delicious and crispy, but in the centre the tortillas were mushy and unpleasing in texture. I may try again with flour tortillas hoping that they will go soft but not mushy or precrisp the corn tortillas
This is simply delicious! we made it for the first time yesterday (flour tortillas) and made it again today with sprouted corn tortillas and frozen spinach did not ruin ist – it was even better with more moisture. Children 6, 10 an 18 all loved it and husband insisted on having it again today:) thanks so much for inspiring us to cook our dinners instead of ordering in….
Great! It went straight into my “have to make this again” recipe book.
this is so good! the first time we made it as written (yum!) but today it was too hot to cook the torte in the oven so I ate it loaded nacho-style (with some ATK Mexican rice mixed in) and the husband did his burrito-style. both delicious. very versitile filling!!
I made these today! Yum! With a few additions according to what was in my cupboards. This was so satisfying and such a tasty treat! Thanks for a great, simple recipe
Favorite recent addition to menu. Sometimes I add chicken, or we simplify with just cheese. And if I blitz the sauce with some extra tomato paste, I can feed it to the baby.
Also also! Love the new mobile look and feel. So great!
I’ve made this loads of times, and it’s a great recipe – it’s in regular rotation at ours. Finding decent flour tortillas in Ireland is impossible, so I make my own, which makes this even nicer. Otherwise, I make it as written and let the compliments roll in. Gorgeous, and it reheats beautifully so the leftovers are just as good the next day. Love love love this site.
Made this last night with fresh zucchini and tomato from the garden (healthy!), and subbing refried beans and ground beef for the beans (less healthy…). Also added enchilada sauce between each layer and poured over the top, which was just delicious. This is one of those amazing and endlessly flexible recipes that is going straight to our regulars list.
Made this earlier this week exactly as listed. Was yummy! Best recipe for taco torte I’ve tried so far. Been reheating for lunch every day this week and it’s still good.
I was looking for quick dinner inspiration and found this recipe by clicking on the ‘surprise’ button (love this feature!!). It was quick, simple, and delicious. Leftovers for lunch the next day were great too. Thanks for another wonderful recipe using ingredients I had on hand!! I did replace 1 can of beans for 1 lb of ground beef.
Made this for dinner a few days ago – on a weeknight! – and it was great. I couldn’t find my 9-inch cake pans, so squished it into an 8-inch, which I think resulted in a softer torte than ideal. So, when heating up leftovers, I simply put the remaining torte on a sheet pan with a lip (in case of spillage) and re-heated that way. Crispy edges all around! Also I added a little bit of chopped/diced chicken breast. But would’ve still been awesome without.
I made this a few days ago and it was a huge hit with my eight-year-old twin boys. Husband enjoyed it too. I skipped the chile pepper and used only 1 tsp of chili powder, because they don’t like spicy. Used red beans and pinto beans — I’m sure any bean would work. I used half a 6-oz bag of baby spinach, but I think you could use more, since the spinach basically vanishes into the mix and the filling seemed a little dry. (I’m in Colorado, so every recipe needs a little more moisture.) I used six flour tortillas and made it in a springform pan sprayed with cooking spray, so didn’t need the foil. We managed to squeeze two dinners out of it, but that was hard, because everyone wanted seconds. The kids asked me if I could make it again the next day!
I’ve made this a few times, The first time following the recipe exactly as written. A lovely quick meal to throw together. Now that I know the recipe so well, I often throw in pulled pork or extra beans, maybe sub brussels sprouts for spinach… really, I figure anything green is a plus! The family loves it every time! Oh, I also use gluten-free tortillas and it turns out beautifully. Thank you so much!
This one is it regular in our house, soooo good!!
If I prepare this ahead of time (night before), will the torte be soggy when I bake it?
I have been dreaming about this since I saw your Instagram post. I want to omit the corn, can I replace it with meat or something else?
Did you grill your tortillas first? I usually do mine for a couple minutes in a hot dry nonstick pan. This makes them less gummy, but not sure if it would help in a stacked dish like this. Interested to know if you did anything like that, or just used them as-is.
I don’t but it would definitely not be unwelcome here.
I’ve made this dish several times, and I’ve found that the inside gets soggy no matter what I do. Last time I brushed all the tortillas with oil and baked them until they were completely crispy. I was still able to cut through the torte no problem, and by the time we had leftovers the next day, the tortillas were completely soggy inside. I find the texture gummy and unappealing at that point, which is a disappointment, though the filling is still delicious. I’d love to hear anyone’s trick for keeping the tortillas from getting soggy!
I’ve made this a few times. My 8yo daughter was ecstatic that it’s on the menu for tonight. (7yo son is neutral.) If you use smaller tortillas you get a taller and slightly precarious stack. I also make extra filling to portion and freeze for quick lunches for me. :)
This was incredible, looked great, and it tasted even better as leftovers the next few days! I used Ezekiel sprouted wheat tortillas, canned diced tomatoes, black beans, and all jack cheese and made it in a springform pan.
I’ve been trying to incorporate more plant-based protein into my family’s diet and decided this would be dinner tonight. When I told my husband that it was a meatless taco torte his face fell. But after his first bite, he loved it and went back for 2nds and 3rds! I also replaced the corn with chickpeas, which is my toddler’s favorite (weird, I know). Oh, and I did lightly fry each tortilla which did help with sogginess and an added layer of flavor. Everyone left the dinner table with happy, full bellies!
Delicious! Only thing is I could only get 4 tortillas and about 2/3 of the bean mixture into my springform pan before it started to overflow, but that’s ok! I added some leftover chicken chopped up small. It was a fun and tasty dinner!
Made this last week (again) but this time just stacked up on a jelly roll pan with criss-crossed aluminum foil under the torte. This way, 360 degree crunchiness!
Thanks for this tip! Used it and added a lb. of ground beef to make a wonderful torte! Yayyyyyyy 360 degrees of crunch :)
This looks delicious! I’m allergic to corn though- what would you suggest as a veggie substitute? I was thinking multicolored peppers (which might make it more like a Fajita Torte!), but what might be some other options? Thanks. :)
Peppers would be fine, I’d think.
I made a version of this from the site Twisted and it was a big success. I iced it with sour cream and decorated with black olives and chopped cilantro. Muy bueno! Or as we say on the South Shore of Nova Scotia “some good”!
Has anyone ever tried freezing this? I’m making some meals for a mom-to-be and would like to include this, but only if it freezes well. Thoughts?
This is very good, and actually better left over–mostly because it’s easier to get individual pieces hot. When I made it as directed (in a springform), the interior wasn’t hot after 25 minutes in the oven. I sliced it and put just what we planned to eat that night back in. Next time I will bake for 30-40 minutes, with the first half of the time covered in foil. Also, don’t bother draining the tomatoes and measuring the juice.
Great recipe! I’m so glad to have discovered it here! I’ve already forwarded your blog to a couple of my friends plus I posted pictures of my version (with ground chuck) on Instagram! The world should know about your recipe!! It’s so delicious!
Recipe was fantastic. I’d like to “pin it” but do not see a link anywhere on the recipe. Please advise. Thanks!
You can go to Smitten Kitchen on Pinterest and look under “all my recipes”. As you scroll down thru them, you’ll see it and can post it on your wall. (Or just click on the Pinterest symbol below these comments. That takes you to her Pinterest account.)
Thank you so much. Your suggestion worked.
That’s great, Karen! And thanks for the reminder… I haven’t made this in awhile, but plan to!! I’d kinda forgotten it!
(PS: I browned some ground chuck and added it to it, if you like it heartier.)
Thank you — you make my job easier! :) (Not that answering questions is hard! I’m just slow…)
This is one of my favorite meals for when I have company over. I make it quite a bit with just one little modification. I don’t like how the tacos get kind of soft in the middle, so just before stacking, I lightly toast the tortillas in a pan so they get a bit stiffer. The added toasted flavor is also a nice addition!!
Wondering if this can be frozen and if so, should it be done after baking or before?
I pulled three pieces out of the freezer just last week that I had left-over from the last time I made it (probably it was in the freezer for 2 months!) and it was delicious! I warmed it first in the microwave and then crisped it in a pretty hot oven! My opinion is… this is fine for leftovers to reheat for family but I fix it FRESH for it’s original serving!!
I would do it after and also in this case it’s probably best to crisp the tortillas in a pan (or with oil) before stacking them so they don’t get too soft in their longer time hanging out with the fillings.
I make it and freeze it often. I do it before baking- I make and assemble, then freeze in a foil cake tin.
I cook for my parents’ freezer when i visit them and it’s a bit of a challenge since i’m vegetarian and I don’t cook omni proteins, and they are reluctant about many vegetarian meals.
This has been such a HUGE hit they now request i make it! :) i use less cheese, maybe a cup. And i swap in some taco spice blend as the seasoning since that is a flavor they like.
I bake the whole thing, cool, we have it for dinner one night, and then wrap and freeze the rest of the portions. Usually a little green salad alongside, or just some sliced tomatoes and cilantro in the summer.
I made this (again) for dinner tonight. No corn in the house this time, but I did have leftover broccoli. I chopped it up and added to the skillet with the spinach. Nobody even noticed the presence in the final torte, which was my hope all along!
Delicious and satisfying! Know what makes the leftovers even better? Top them with a fried egg, a la huevos rancheros (ish). Yum! And I’m looking forward to trying it with shredded chicken, ground beef and chorizo (but not all at once).
Weirdo here. I loathe beans. I live in Mexico so go figure. Anyway, I bet this would be fab using ground beef instead with a dollop of crema on the side. Can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks, Deb!
I have followed you for years, when you were smitten but no kitchen. I made one of your recipes for the first time, the jacked up one bowl bourbon banana bread. I’ve tried a million banana bread recipes (it’s my jam) and yours is the easiest and the best. So now I have to buy your books and try other recipes in your feed instead of just lurking silently. Damn you Deb!!!!!!
I’m so excited to see a recipe like this on here! I grew up eating a version made by my mom- more of an individual flat enchilada. Everyone’s plate had a layered masterpiece with tortillas dipped in enchilada sauce and meat/cheese in between with more cheese broiled on top.
I can’t wait to try out this version, thank you!
I made this tonight and it was delicious! I strongly recommend you lightly crisp the tortilla so they are a little crunchy. Will definitely make again.
Totally making this for boyfriends birthday since he dislikes sweets. Planning on adding seasoned beef & putting birthday candles in it!
I prefer corn tortillas, which are smaller than flour tortillas, so I used a 9×9 square pan and layered two whole tortillas diagonally as well one tortilla halved to complete each layer. It worked really well, and it’s so easy on a night when I don’t feel like chopping a lot of veggies! Our whole family loved it.
Really, really delicious!! I seldom make a recipe exactly as written, but did with this one and it was perfect. And great for these crazy times. Thanks Deb!
Excellent quarantine meal (with homemade tortillas)! Though, making just for me in the future, I might just make tacos with the filling and cheese and not bother with the stack. I do like how the inside tortillas get soft and the outside edges get crispy though :)
This is another genius Smitten Kitchen recipe that I made totally wrong and still love to pieces. The first time I didn’t have corn or spinach in the house (and I certainly wasn’t going back to the grocery store) and had a spare pound of ground beef. This is absolutely delightful made that way, too, and I think I love it because there’s no chili powder and the cumin and oregano really complement the dish (as well as the salsa I used in place of the tomatoes I didn’t have. I really need to scan recipes better!).
If you are ever in quarantine and want to make this despite not having tortillas on hand, this is really good with homemade tortillas.
Definitely doing this for Taco Tuesday tomorrow! Just back from a trip for groceries and bought fresh spinach. I’ve got some taco-seasoned ground turkey in the freezer that wants using. No flour tortillas on hand, but plenty of corn. I plan to use TJ’s roasted corn for this. Also believing that topping with some crushed corn chips wouldn’t be amiss. Will fiddle a bit with the proportions to accommodate the smaller tortillas. I do have a 6″ springform. Will report back after field testing. Thanks, Deb!
Thank you for this – perfect for Cinco de Mayo!!
Another hit! And I doubled the recipe, because i knew ti would go fast. So now we have another torte for lunch today!
I used the 9 ” spring pan. Was the right choice. And also, I did go the “6 layer route”. Held together well.
Thanks! (And made some homemade Guacamole, and frozen margaritas as well, of course!)
Made this tonight for dinner. So delicious!! It came together so quickly too. I will definitely be making this again…soon. Thank you.
I made this tonight! It was perfect for clearing the fridge out after an insane workweek where the veggies I bought with grand plans sat wilting and sad. Browned some ground beef in the mix, used a couple small leeks and Spring onions in with the yellow onion, used a can of Ortega chiles. Used the sad pre-shredded cheese (because life, man) and it was still delicious. My kids can be weird about “wet bread” dishes but they loved this!
And dumb me forgot to mention that instead of spinach, I used the aforementioned sad veggies (wilted kale, chard, cilantro and parsley)— it was delicious!
Hi Deb: I just made this Taco Torte , it came out great and it is easy and delicious, this is great when having company over or when witching a game on t.v. P.S. thank you for this recipe 😷🙏🍷
How do you keep the tortilla layers from being soggy as leftovers?
I’ve been making the fixings and I will assemble this tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo, as per your suggestion Deb.
Perfecto! There is a product up here in the Canadalands, a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes in purée, that has made the perfect consistency I believe. I did drain it first but ended up adding back all the juices anyway. I’ll just dump in the whole can next time.
Thanks for all that you do. I love the consistently reliable recipes, delicious flavour combinations and my life has been changed by adding bourbon to butterscotch sauce! Your Monday morning email always inspires for the week. I’m glad you’re younger than I am! I’ll benefit for so many more years:) Thank you Deb.
Deb if you’re still reading comments on long-ago posted recipes, this one worked for me! Hacked it with the addition of some turkey chili I’d previously made, and the fam had found ‘too spicy’, so I disguised, er, modified, with the addition of a little more tomato, beans, plus the other veggies in the recipe. Managed to please even my 11 y.o when presented as Taco Tuesday “Special.” #momwin Thank you!
I hate beans so think I will try this with ground beef but what exactly is a “fitted” 8” cake pan?
My can of tomatoes had zero juice in it/! And it came out good but definitely rather dry. Is it supposed to be more saucy like a lasagna or more like this?
The Taco Torte recipe is fabulous as promised. I only got 4 layers that reached the edge of the spring loaded pan. I did brown up the tortilla layers prior to assembling the torte and did finish w/ a 2 minutes broil. I will make this again and again. Smitten Kitchen NEVER disappoints. I love your pics, step by step process, printable recipe (I’m old), and mostly suggestions/tips/substitutions.
I’m wondering if I can make this using our leftover queso instead of jack? Will it work or will it get gummy and strange? I’m not sure how well queso melts….
This is such an easy meal, but it tastes like it takes hours. I’ve made this a couple of times, the last time several years ago, and forgot how much this needs to be in my regular dinner rotation.
I made this for the family tonight. I have covid (mild and tail end) and apparently lost my taste today but this was still delicious. Total hit and can’t wait to make again when I can truly enjoy it.
This is one of my kids absolute favorite veggie meals. I’ve made it at least a half a dozen times and I hardly ever re-do recipes. Thank you as always!
We love this recipe. We really like our cheese so I increased it to 3 cups. Sometimes I substitute browned ground meat (beef,pork, chicken or turkey) for half the beans.
I have a question. Do you fry the tortillas in oil or would you recommend that they be dry fried?
Oil will provide a nicer texture and flavor.
Thank you. I will let you know how it turns out.