This is epic casserole has all of the Southwestern flavors you could dream of wrapped up a deliciously gooey, layered pan of pure comfort. The casserole is made of alternating layers of beans, tomatoes, chard, creamy avocado and a devastatingly delicious hatch chili queso. Then the whole thing is baked until bubbly and served with fresh salsa pico and a side of rice. Who says casseroles have to be boring!
King Ranch Casserole [Vegan]
For the Green Chili Cashew Queso:
- 2 cups butternut squash, raw
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour, drained
- 1/4 cups garlic cloves (about 8-10)
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt (we like Jacobsen’s Sea Salt)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white miso, heaping
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 sliced jalapeño (red or green)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 cup almond milk
For the Casserole:
- 12 corn tortillas, cut in half
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, rinsed, chopped
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley, lightly packed
- 2 cup black beans, cooked
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 cup crumbled or roughly chopped tortilla chips
For the Salsa Pico:
- 2 medium tomatoes, small dice
- 1 small red onion, small dice
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, rinsed and small diced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, lightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
For the Garnish and Serving:
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed
- Sliced jalapeño
- Lime wedges
- 6 cups cooked brown rice (for the side, if desired)
- Extra tortillas and chips
- Hot sauce (we always have plenty on the table)
To make the Green Chile Cashew Cheeze
- In small saucepan, add butternut squash, cashews, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt.
- Cover this with water and bring it to a slow boil, over medium-high heat, for 10 minutes until butternut is completely cooked.
- Remove it from heat to cool, drain it, and add the mixture to a high-speed blender.
- Add in remaining ingredients (except hatch chili) and blend them for 3-4 minutes until they're smooth, then add hatch chili and pulse it for 5 seconds to incorporate but still leave it chunky.
To Make the Casserole:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lightly but evenly spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with oil.
- Layer 1/3 of the tortillas in the bottom, then top them with 1/3 of the chopped chard.
- Combine the tomatoes, onion and parsley and layer 1/3 of that mixture, 1/4 of the green chili cashew cheese, 1/3 of the black beans and 1/3 sliced avocado, so it’s evenly distributed.
- Repeat process two more times. Evenly add remaining Cashew Cream to the top and bake it, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until it's bubbly and golden brown.
- Add the crumbled tortilla chips on the top and bake it for an additional 5 minutes, keeping an eye on it to ensure they just turn slightly golden and do not burn.
- While the casserole is baking, make the Salsa Pico by gently mixing all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set this aside.
- Once bake time is done, remove casserole from the oven and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- To serve, top it with a few tablespoons of the fresh Salsa Pico (save some for the side) fresh cilantro, jalapeños, a lime wedge, brown rice, tortilla chips, and hot sauce as desired.