Who doesn’t like taco night?  That’s what I thought – everyone loves taco night! Here is a soon-to-be family favorite you’ll be asked to make again and again. However, this is not your typical, calorie-laden, carb-heavy taco casserole. Think of this casserole as more of a “lighter” but better version of those heavy in unhealthy carbs and overly rich in cheese and sour cream. This casserole steps up the nutritional power by adding in simple ingredients such as beans and veggies, creating a healthy meal. And did I mention how convenient this recipe is for those busy and rushed days? This one-dish meal provides the convenience of prepping it a day ahead of time. Think of how easy it will be after a long day at work and all you have to do is stick it in the oven to heat up.

This taco casserole is special – not only does it provide a mouthwatering and flavorful southwestern flair but with smart ingredient switches, it’s a healthier version you can feel good about. Whole-grain, corn tortillas take the place of chips or white flour tortillas. This simple swap provides more fiber, fewer calories and a much lower reduction in carbs. Adding canned black beans and tomatoes to taco-seasoned meat creates a nutrient-dense filling.  Top with a little bit of cheese, serve over a crisp bed of lettuce and use the Mexican yogurt dip – rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and protein – for topping your casserole if desired or for dipping fresh veggies, and you’ve got a delicious, healthy meal ready to serve your family.

Photo taken by Cheryl Mussato

Get started today and see for yourself what a sure-to-please recipe this is!

Southwestern Taco Casserole with Mexican Yogurt Dip – serves 8

Nutrition per serving: Calories – 325; Total Fat – 14 grams; Protein – 24 grams; Carbohydrates – 24 grams; Fiber – 5 grams; Sodium – 475 milligrams

Ingredients:

6 corn tortillas (about 6 inches in diameter)

Cooking spray

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ pounds of ground round beef

1 medium onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)

1 1-ounce packet of lower-sodium taco seasoning

1 14.5 ounce can no-salt-added black beans, drained

1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted finely diced tomatoes

½ cup jarred or fresh salsa

2-3 tablespoons lime juice

1 ½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

¼ cup chopped green onions

4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut corn tortillas into ½ to 1-inch squares. Cover a sheet pan with foil; place cut tortillas on lined pan. Coat tortilla pieces with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat all pieces. Bake for 12 minutes, stirring tortilla pieces every 3-4 minutes.
  3. Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onion. Cook and stir until beef is browned, about 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess liquid; return meat mixture to skillet. Add taco seasoning, stirring well. Add beans, tomatoes, salsa and lime juice. Cook a couple of minutes or until warm throughout and slightly thickened.
  4. Sprinkle half of the toasted tortilla pieces in the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of beef mixture, ¼ cup cheese and remaining tortilla pieces. Add remaining beef mixture and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until warm throughout and cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with green onions. Let stand 5 minutes then cut into 8 pieces or spoon each serving over ½ cup chopped Romaine lettuce.

Mexican Yogurt Dip – Make this while casserole is baking or even the day before

Ingredients:

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

½ cup store-bought salsa or your favorite homemade salsa

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh cut-up veggies such as carrots, peppers, cucumber or zucchini or tortilla chips for dipping

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients (except veggies or tortilla chips) together in a small bowl. Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Categories: Recipes

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Cheryl Mussatto

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

2 Comments

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Penny · April 5, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Is the Southwestern Taco dish low in purine? Watching my uric acid. This sounds so good.

Thanks in advance.

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    Cheryl Mussatto · April 8, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Penny! Thank you for a great question! The main food that might be a problem for you is the ground beef – while not considered a food high in purines, it is considered moderate in purines. What I would suggest as a good substitute for beef, would be ground turkey. The only other food that is also considered moderate in purines are beans. But beans are lower in purines than beef is. I would recommend using only half a can of the black beans just to be on the safe side.

    Thanks for reaching out, hope this information helps and enjoy the recipe and for following my blog!

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