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
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 9×13-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.