Add a layer of spice with Mexican lasagna

I would wager that most people who didn’t deal with dough on a regular basis—and even some who did—had no idea what gluten was 10 or 20 years ago.

Now, with some fad diets popping up for folks to avoid it and more people discovering they have gluten intolerances, gluten-free options are cropping up on menus all over.

If you’re not familiar with gluten, the Celiac Disease Foundation explains it as a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. “Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together,” the CDF states. “Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.”

I don’t know about you, but a lot of the gluten-free foods I’ve tried seem to lack some flavor, and I’ve often been glad I’m not in the gluten-intolerant camp. That being said, this week’s recipe is not only gluten free but delicious, so even if you can handle gluten, you should definitely give this recipe a try.

I found this on the blog “Gluten Free with L.B.” If you or someone you cook for has gluten issues, I’d look over her website. The food on there looks delicious, and she’ll e-mail you a free cookbook if you sign up for her mailing list. You can find the original recipe at http://glutenfreewithlb.com/turkey-taco-mexican-lasagna/. I changed up a few items in my version.

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Ground Turkey Mexican Lasagna

Ingredients

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 bell pepper (any color), diced

1 small onion, diced

1 pound ground turkey

15 ounces crushed tomatoes

1-1/2 tablespoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

15 ounce can corn, drained

15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)

12 corn tortillas

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, add oil, peppers and onions. Saute over medium heat until they’re nearly cooked through and add the turkey to the skillet.

When the turkey is completely browned, drain it and then dump in the tomatoes and simmer on low.

Add the spices and stir, letting the mixture simmer for about five minutes.

Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Put one-third of the meat mixture in the bottom.

Layer with six tortillas, another third of the meat mixture, half of the corn and beans and one cup shredded cheese. Layer the next six tortillas, final third of the meat mixture, corn and beans and top with more cheese.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another five minutes. Let the lasagna cool for a bit before serving.

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This made delicious leftovers that we happily ate over the next week after I made this, so even if you’re cooking for two, don’t be put off by making this large lasagna.

I also think you could easily prepare this, then rather than baking it, pop it in the freezer. Just thaw it and bake it for the same amount of time listed above. It would make a quick dinner for a busy night.

For those of you who have to constantly deal with hunting for hidden sources of gluten in your food, I hope you can find a place for this recipe in your regular rotation. And even if you don’t, it’s nice to try something different every once in awhile, and even though this is gluten free, I promise you won’t even miss it.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.