“I love taking an hour or two to lovingly prepare, cook and savor a good meal. But sometimes we just need a good go-to meal that comes together quickly and saves for great leftovers. I find that this dish tends to be one of those meals for me. I only need a few fresh ingredients and they are usually things I have in my refrigerator. It’s a family favorite and it’s versatile enough to even satisfy my son’s friends if he has them over. The great thing is that this dish is not only vegan, but also gluten free! It’s a great way to eat well and satisfy everyone.”
- 1 – 12 oz package brown rice pasta (elbow shape work well)
- 2 medium leeks, sliced lengthwise in quarters then in 1/2 inch slices
- 1 bunch green onions, green and white parts sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Vogue Vegetarian Mexican spice mix (see below for ingredients)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 – 4 oz can sliced olives
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (about 1 loosely packed cup)
- 1 – 24 oz can salsa (It should have some chunks in it but not so thick that it’s not saucy)
- 1 – 8 oz package Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds (or another vegan style cheese)
Vogue Vegetarian Mexican Spice Mix
This is a blend of spices you can use in place of packaged taco seasoning–and it tastes so much better! I make this mix then put it in a small glass jar so I have it on hand when I need to spice up Mexican dishes or other things like omelettes and popcorn. NOTE: this is enough to mix up and store. You’ll only need 1 tbsp of it for this recipe.
- 6 tsp cumin
- 3 tsp mild chile powder (I like chile molido)
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 convection).
- Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. I like to ever so slightly just undercook it as it will cook a little bit more in the oven later. Don’t undercook too much though or you’ll end up with crunchy pasta. The main idea is not overcook it so it’s mushy. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside to drain and dry out a little.
- Meanwhile, in a wide shallow 4-5 quart dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat, splash enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and saute leeks and a pinch of kosher salt for about 8-10 minutes or until tender. Add green onions and garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and add in the Vogue Vegetarian Mexican spice mix and saute about a minute or until spices are fragrant. Add the beans, corn, olives and cilantro and cook just another minute then add the salsa. Stir to combine and let heat up for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the Daiya cheese and stir well. Taste for spice and flavor.
- Add in the pasta and stir well to combine. Taste the mixture for spice level and salt and add as needed. Cover your dutch oven with the lid or empty the pan into a covered casserole dish. I like to put a little Daiya or Rice Shreds Mozzerella over the top, too. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until warmed through and cheese is melted. You can take the lid off for the last few minutes to get a little extra melting action if desired.
Footnotes: If you are not vegan, you can make this dish with any cheese you favor. Cheddar and pepperjack work well.
I like to use whole grain pasta. Wheat is a good pasta to use here because it stays pretty chewy even after baked. I like brown rice pasta myself and it’s gluten free, too. If you use another pasta, just make sure NOT to overcook it and use a large substantial size such as rotini, penne or elbow.
Chop leeks in quarter lengthwise then in about 1/2 inch slices. Don’t forget to clean your leeks first!
If you use Daiya brand, I like the pepperjack flavor the best. Mozzerella tastes a little strong to me.
This is the same pan that I sauteed all the ingredients in. If you have a shallow dutch oven/braiser or an oven proof skillet, it’s great to be able to use one pan for the whole dish. This pot also goes right into the refrigerator when I am all done so we can eat leftovers out of it the next day. Here is a shot of all the ingredients added to the pan, sprinkled with a little Mozzerela by Rice Threads and then covered and placed in the oven.
Hot out of the oven. Sprinkle with some cilantro and dollop a little vegan sour cream if you like.