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Texas' Winning Recipe: Tex-Mex Veg-Head Lasagna

“I was first inspired to make this recipe by my mom. She always tells us to add vegetables to everything we make and to experiment. I love Tex-Mex food and also lasagna so we thought this was a good way to combine both. My mom also tells us to be flexible so we use canned or frozen vegetables if we're out of fresh. You can substitute any veggies and fruits you like. The possibilities are endless. My mom says not having or liking one ingredient is not an excuse to not try a recipe or to buy fast food!”

Priya Patel, Age 10, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from Texas

Makes 4 Servings


For the Lasagna Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • Juice of ½ fresh lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano or regular oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or broth

For the Tortilla Lasagna:

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 2 corn cobs, kernels removed or 1 cup frozen corn
  • ½ cup low-fat cheddar or jack cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 large red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Cilantro, for garnish


  1. To make the Lasagna Filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large nonstick skillet, warm the oil over medium heat, and cook onions for 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a slow boil, about 4 minutes. Turn off heat and mash beans with back of wooden spoon or masher.
  2. To make Tortilla Lasagna: In a round or square oven-safe dish, put 2 tablespoons tomato sauce, followed by a tortilla, 3 tablespoons black bean filling, 1 tablespoon cheese, 5 spinach leaves, ⅕ of the corn, and bell pepper. Repeat with remaining tortillas and ingredients. (You will have a little tomato sauce, cheese, corn, and bell pepper remaining.) On the 6th and last tortilla, top with remaining 3 tablespoons tomato sauce and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add the remaining cheese on top and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Slice into wedges and garnish with any remaining peppers, corn, and cilantro.

342 calories 8g fat 56g carbohydrates 16g protein