I love almost all Mexican cuisine and really enjoy making healthy alternatives at home. This is one such alternative dish, that was adapted from a pasta bake to a Mexican vegetable and beef bake. To make vegetarian, omit the mince and add another tin of refried beans or you could add drained & washed 4 bean mix, red kidney beans etc, from a tin. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand to make this delicious bake. I love that it is such a simple meal; just fry in a pan and let the oven do the rest of the work.
- 400g sweet potato, peeled and cut into small, even pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 500g extra lean beef mince
- 1 red or green capsicum (around 200g), cut into small, even pieces
- 400g tomatoes, roughly chopped
- a generous handful of baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 x 435g tin of 99% fat free refried beans
- 2 tablespoons taco / mexican seasoning
- 1/2 cup light grated cheese
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
1. Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180 degrees celsius. Make sure you have an ovenproof casserole dish or pan to use; the one I used is around 25 cm x 30 cm, however that is very large for the recipe.
2. Place the sweet potato in a medium saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil, covered, then continue to cook for minutes or until the sweet potato is tender but not mushy. Remove from heat and drain over running cold water in a colander.
3. Meanwhile, in a large, deep fry pan or a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan. Next add the garlic and cook for one minute or until just fragrant. Add the mince to the pan and cook, stirring often to break up any lumps, for five minutes or until the mince is brown and cooked. Add the capsicum, tomatoes, spinach, beans and seasoning and stir well for two minutes or until combined and warm. Pour the meat & vegetables into the dish / pan and gently stir in the cooked sweet potato so that it does not become mushy. Sprinkle with cheese and 1/2 of the spring onions.
4. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Serve warm, sprinkled with the remaining spring onions.
Serves / 4
Total Preparation & Cooking time / under 1 hour