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Ninja-Fied King Ranch Casserole

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 10
  • Cooking: 80
  • Ready: 90

This hearty chilli casserole puts a healthy spin on a southwestern classic.


For the green chile cashew queso

  • 2 cups/150 g raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour and drained
  • 8-10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white miso, heaping
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ sliced jalapeño (red or green)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ cup/180 ml almond milk
  • ¼ cup/50 g canned vegan chilli

For the casserole

  • 12 corn tortillas, cut in half
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • large bunch of chopped parsley, lightly packed
  • 2 cups/400 g black beans, cooked
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup/200 g crumbled or roughly chopped tortilla chips

For the salsa pico

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, rinsed and diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • small bunch of picked cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

To garnish

  • small bunch of picked cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • sliced jalapeño
  • lime wedges

To serve

  • cooked brown rice (for the side, if desired)
  • extra tortillas and chips
  • hot sauce


To make the green chile cashew cheeze

In a small saucepan, add butternut squash, cashews, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover with water and bring to a slow boil over a medium-high heat for 10 minutes until butternut is completely cooked. Remove from heat to cool, drain and add mixture to a high-speed blender.

Add in remaining ingredients (except the chilli) and blend for 3-4 minutes until wicked smooth, then add the chilli and pulse for 5 seconds to incorporate but still leave it chunky.

To assemble the casserole

Preheat oven to 177ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.

Lightly but evenly spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with oil. Layer 1/3 of the tortillas in the bottom, then top 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 chile cashew cheeze, 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, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden brown. Add the crumbled tortilla chips on the top and bake 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 aside.

Once bake time is done, remove casserole from the oven and let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

To serve

Top with a few tablespoons of the fresh Salsa Pico (save some for the side) fresh cilantro, jalapeño, lime wedge and brown rice, tortilla chips and hot sauce as desired.

Additonal notes

Recipe courtesy of Wicked Healthy, for Veganuary

Imagery © Derek Sarno

Find more great-tasting recipes on the Veganuary and Wicked Healthy websites.

“Say hello to our Ninja-fied King Ranch Casserole, with green chile cashew queso, black beans, jalapeño, salsa & herbage … our healthy spin on a southwestern classic!”

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