Made with seasoned beef, a creamy filling, flour tortillas, and of course, cheese, this Tex Mex spin on a classic Italian dish is an easy recipe that is sure to be a family favorite.
This recipe for Mexican Lasagna is a cherished recipe from my childhood that is loved whether served for a family dinner or for entertaining company. It is super simple to make but has an amazing presentation and incredible flavor.
I know there is nothing truly Mexican about lasagna! But that is what my family called this southwestern dish and the flavors are certainly Mexican or Tex-Mex-Inspired.
It is a cherished recipe from my childhood that is loved whether served for a family dinner or for entertaining company. It is super simple to make but has an amazing presentation and incredible flavor.
From the spiced ground beef, to the cheesy filling, to the glorious toppings, this recipe is creamy, hearty, filling, and simply delicious!
This Mexican Casserole is made with 4 key elements that are layered together to make a dish stand out from others.
- Tortillas. In place of noodles, this recipe calls for tortillas. I prefer using homemade flour tortillas, but your favorite brand works just fine. If you need this recipe to be gluten-free, corn or gluten-free tortillas work just as well.
- A Hearty Beef Mixture. Instead of sausage and ground beef coated in tomato sauce like classic lasagna, this Mexican Lasagna is made with ground beef that is seasoned with diced tomatoes and Mexican seasonings, like those found in taco seasoning. Feel free to use leftover taco meat instead of this ground beef mixture, but I like the texture and moisture that the diced tomatoes add to this lasagna recipe.
- Creamy Cottage Cheese Filling. This unique cottage cheese layer is something I have only ever seen in my mom's recipe for Mexican Lasagna, and what makes this recipe memorable. The cottage cheese adds tang and texture and when combined with spicy Pepper Jack cheese, it creates an incredibly flavorful filling. If the Pepper Jack cheese is too spicy, use Monterey Jack in its place.
- Toppings. This casserole is best finished with toppings--just like tacos. I love to serve with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocadoes, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. For picky palates, serve the toppings on the side and let everyone dish out the toppings as desired.
- The first step to making this lasagna is to drain the cottage cheese. This helps to keep the casserole from being watery. To do this, simply place the cottage cheese into a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and let it drain while you brown the meat.
- While the cottage cheese is draining, brown the meat by heating a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once browned, drain off any excess grease and then add in diced tomatoes and seasonings.
- Simmer over medium-low just for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to develop and the liquid to partially evaporate from the tomatoes.
- For the cottage cheese filling, mix together the drained cottage cheese, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, and egg together.
- Then it is as simple as assembling the lasagna. Spray a 9x13 dish with nonstick spray and place 6 tortillas on the bottom and sides of the pan, overlapping slightly, forming a crust. Spread with the meat mixture and then top with another layer of tortillas. Spread the cottage cheese mixture over the tortillas and then cover with shredded cheese.
- Bake until heated through and the top layer of cheese is melted.
- Allow the lasagna to rest for 10-20 minutes before slicing and then topping with your favorite toppings.
To prepare in advance, assemble the casserole as directed, cover with foil, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator up while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the foil and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until warmed through.
More Mexican-Inspired Favorites
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- 16 ounces small curd cottage cheese
- 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
- ½ small onion finely diced
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 16 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 12 flour tortillas
- 1 egg
- 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese see note
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- For serving: diced tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, sour cream, olives, onions, etc
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.
- Pour a 16-ounce container of cottage cheese into a fine-mesh strainer and let drain over a large bowl while browning the beef.
- In a large non-stick skillet, brown the ground beef with the minced onions, breaking up as the meat cooks.
- Once the meat is browned, drain off excess fat and return to skillet. Add in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and diced tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by at least half.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the drained cottage cheese, the egg, and Monterey Jack cheese together until combined.
- Place 6 tortillas on the bottom and sides of the pan, forming a crust, overlapping slightly.
- Pour beef mixture over tortillas and cover with an additional layer of tortillas, just to cover the top of the meat mixture.
- Top the tortillas with the cottage cheese mixture and then sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Rest for 10-20 minutes before slicing and serving with desired toppings.