Mexican Tortilla Pie

I was lucky to not be in New Haven the weekend of Cinco De Mayo since New Haven doesn’t really have great Mexican food. Surprisingly, one of my favorite things that I had that weekend was actually a pizza – the Cinco De Mayo special at Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville, Virginia. Instead of pizza sauce, it had a base of salsa, topped with ground beef, green peppers, caramelized onions, taco seasoning, sour cream and avocados. It was almost like eating a taco except in format of a pizza, and it was delicious! I’m a big fan of the restaurant otherwise too – their crust is really light and fluffy, but at the same time it’s thick as well, unlike the standard New York-style thin crust.

Cinco De Mayo Pizza at Mellow Mushroom

Besides eating tacos disguised as pizzas, we also made a tortilla pie. For those who have never tried to make this, this pie is essentially a stack of quesadillas. It is a vegetarian’s heaven, using  black beans, pinto beans, tomatoes, salsa and cheese. It’s easy to make and is great comfort food. The basic recipe was taken from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/seven-layer-tortilla-pie/ (Thanks KDCG!) Here’s my version with some adaptations:
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans (I got low sodium), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup tomato salsa*
  • 1/4 cup tomatillo salsa*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (I got  low-sodium), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 7 (8 inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 cups cheese – I used a mixture of Monterey Jack and Cheddar, feel free to use any of the 3 or 4 Mexican cheese blends
  • Sour cream

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, mash pinto beans. You can do that either using a fork or a blender. Stir in 1/2 cup tomato salsa, 1/4 cup tomatillo salsa and garlic into this mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup tomato salsa, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.

Preparing the various layers of the tortilla pie

  • Place 1 tortilla in a pie plate or tart dish. Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top with 1/4 cup cheese, and cover with another tortilla. Spread with 2/3 cup black bean mixture, and top with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering twice. Cover with remaining tortilla, and spread with remaining pinto bean mixture and cheese. So in the end, you should have 4 layers of the pinto bean mixture and 3 layers of the black bean mixture.
  • Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes. Spraying the foil with some cooking spray or oil will make sure that the cheese on the top layer does not get stuck to the foil once the pie has been cooked.
  • Cut into wedges, and serve with guacamole (optional) and sour cream

* – I’ve used both pre-made salsa and salsa made from scratch. In my opinion, the pie turns out much better when fresh salsa is used. Just get a basic salsa recipe from the internet if you want to use fresh salsa as well. The main ingredients in my salsa were tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno peppers. I’ve also made this pie using both pre-made tomato and tomatillo salsa, and even that tastes fine.

Tortille pie straight out of the oven

I know it’s not the most picturesque dish, but trust me, it tastes delicious!

 

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