Have a Healthy Taco Night this week with this Southwestern Taco Casserole with Cornbread Crust.
I recently reviewed the cookbook, Tasting the Seasons: Inspired, In-Season Cuisine That's Easy, Healthy, Fresh, and Fun by Kerry Dunnington. The book included a recipe for Southwest Taco Beef Bake that really caught my eye. It was a healthier version of a classic Tamale Pie. I didn't have all the ingredients needed for this recipe, so I modified it a little and created my own. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all!
This Southwestern Taco Casserole is a great way to hide a few extra vegetables for your family. This recipe has grated carrots that add a little sweetness and color to the dish. The kids will never know they are in there. The crust is filled with corn and green chiles too. I added chopped frozen Anaheim and poblano chiles to this recipe. My garden was overflowing with them this last season, so I have been adding them to just about everything. You can easily substitute fresh chiles or a small can of chopped green chiles. If you want a little extra heat, swap the cheddar cheese for some pepper jack.
The surprise in this casserole is the addition of Kalamata olives. These olives are Greek in origin, so you may be asking “Why am I putting them into a Taco Casserole?” The reason is salt. These olives have a great briny taste that is so delicious with the sweetness of the corn and carrots. It's adds that salty flavor without adding a lot of actual salt. If you don't have Kalamata olives, substitute green olives stuffed with pimento. That will give you a similar taste. Standard black olives just don't cut it for this recipe.
Taco Beef Bake
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons +1 teaspoon Taco Seasoning
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
- 28 ounces diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup yellow organic cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Anaheim chiles, deseeded and chopped
- 2 poblano chiles, deseeded and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
Taco Beef Bake
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion, and carrots until tender, about 6 minutes.
- Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off any excess fat from beef.
- Stir in taco seasoning and water, Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add black olives and tomatoes to the beef mixture. Combine well.
- Transfer beef mixture to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, and baking powder.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add sour cream, olive oil, green chiles, corn and cheese.
- Add cornmeal mixture to egg mixture. Stir well to combine.
- Pour cornbread crust mixture over the beef bake layer. Spread evenly.
- Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. Serve immediately.
So there you have it! A Healthy Southwestern Taco Bake with Cornbread Crust. This is sure to shake this up on Taco Tuesday! If there is any left after dinner, store this individual servings and take it along to work or school. It tastes even better the next day. I know you're going to enjoy this casserole. I know my family loves it!