Hands Down the Best Healthy Recipe I’ve Tried: Perfect for Your Pickiest Eater

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Picky eaterI’ve been eating healthier for two and a half years now. I best describe my “diet” as simple, clean eating: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins instead of pre-packaged, processed foods or fast food. I love eating this way, but I do occasionally miss some of those comfort foods we all know and love. That all changed when I tried a recipe for Cheesy Taco Bake from The Naked Kitchen. The best way to describe this recipe? A healthy “Hamburger Helper,” without the hamburger. Double this for freezing, ladies. Your kids and/or picky eaters will LOVE it!

Warning: There’s a little upfront work with this recipe as you must pre-make the enchilada sauce and taco seasoning. However, once you make both, you’ll have plenty to use for several batches. In a hurry? You can always use store-bought enchilada sauce and taco seasoning.

Cheesy Taco Bake
(Makes 8-10 servings)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 6 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp Taco Seasoning (see below)
  • 4 heaping tbsp Homemade Enchilada Sauce (see below)
  • 1 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 7 ounces organic firm tofu (you can also substitute with quinoa or any other protein source)
  • 8 ounces whole grain pasta of choice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup croutons, finely crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 4-6 ounces shredded cheese

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 12 ounces no salt added tomato paste
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt to taste

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sauce pan heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add the flour, reduce heat to low and stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Add in the enchilada sauce and broth. Stir well and then add the nutritional yeast and taco seasoning. Mix well, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large sauté pan add 1 tbsp broth and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
  5. While the onions are cooking, use a fork and mash the tofu into small crumbles. Add the crumbled tofu and black beans to the pan and stir well. Remove from heat.
  6. In a large bowl add the cooked pasta and rice, the onion, bean and tofu mixture and the cheesy enchilada sauce. Stir well and transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top (if using) and then the croutons. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

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