This easy Mexican-inspired lasagna recipe replaces the noodles with tortilla strips that become like tender ribbons in the cayenne- and cumin-spiked tomato sauce. Topped with Cheddar and cream cheese, the lasagna is just as soulful as its Italian cousin and can be made on a busy weeknight in about 30 minutes using a single skillet. Excerpted from The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, published by ABRAMS © 2017.

Kathy Brennan & Caroline Campion
Source: The Dinner Plan


Recipe Summary

20 mins
30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large high-sided sauté pan with a 3-quart (2.8-L) capacity and a lid, toast the tortillas over medium-low heat one at a time until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer them to a plate and cut into strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide; we find this easiest to do with scissors. Set the toasted tortilla strips aside.

  • Add the oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the beef, cumin, chili powder and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often and breaking up the meat, until the beef is browned, about 4 minutes.

  • Add the tomatoes, then fill the empty can about one-third of the way with water, swish it around, and stir it into the meat sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and check the seasonings (it should be a little salty). Lay half of the reserved tortilla strips evenly across the pan, pushing them under the sauce with the back of a wooden spoon. Scatter half the Cheddar cheese on top, then lay the remaining tortilla strips evenly across the pan, pushing them under the sauce again. Cover the pan and gently simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 8 minutes.

  • Dollop the cream cheese over the lasagna and swirl it into the sauce. Scatter the remaining Cheddar cheese on top and gently simmer, covered, until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Let the lasagna rest, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, then top with the scallions, if you like, just before serving.


Tips: This recipe is a great way to use up a bag of tortillas. If you have smaller ones, a total of six should be enough; if you have larger ones, use about three.

For Staggered Serving: The lasagna is best served hot or warm. It will keep, covered, at the back of the stove for up to 2 hours. For "doctoring," you can set out some lime wedges, sour cream and hot sauce.

Photo: Maura McEvoy

Nutrition Facts

929 calories; protein 48.9g 98% DV; carbohydrates 38.9g 13% DV; dietary fiber 5.2g 21% DV; sugars 12.1g; fat 61.4g 94% DV; saturated fat 28.9g 144% DV; cholesterol 195.3mg 65% DV; vitamin a iu 3048.4IU 61% DV; vitamin c 15.2mg 25% DV; folate 33mcg 8% DV; calcium 475.5mg 48% DV; iron 7.1mg 39% DV; magnesium 48.3mg 17% DV; potassium 1165.3mg 33% DV; sodium 1048mg 42% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 10% DV.

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Rating: 3 stars
I have not yet made this but it sounds delicious. Unfortunately it also sounds unhealthy. Almost 1/2 a day's calories in one meal! And more than 1/2 a day's sodium? It is even really higher in protein than where I should aim and certainly too many carbs. I can really only see this as an 8-serving meal with these numbers. Obviously I will need to 'cut' it with a whole lot of veggies to actually make it fulfill 'eating well' as I would consider it. I'll be adding a whole lot of onions and bell peppers to attempt to get these numbers under control. Read More