- Time To Cook According To Recipe: 30 Minutes
- Actual Cooking Time (Including Prep): 45 Minutes
No taco shells? No problem. This gluten-free taco casserole makes uses of crushed-up tortilla chips alongside taco seasoning, ground beef, pinto beans, tomato sauce and cheese in order to make every Taco Tuesday something special.
After reading about the interesting take on a Mexican staple, I decided to try out the potentially good eats for myself, which turned out to be one of the best culinary decisions I’ve ever made. The results were delicious and I’m already craving them again.
I went to the grocery store and picked up everything I would need to complete this meal. Unfortunately, my local grocery store doesn’t (yet?) carry the McCormick product that explicitly states “Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Mix” on the front of the package. Since the “Original” mix doesn’t list any gluten-containing ingredients, I went ahead and just purchased that.
If you’re very particular when it comes to gluten-free labels, make sure you shop around town until you find a store that carries the exact product you’re looking for.
To start things off on the right foot, I preheated the oven so it’d be ready when I needed it later. Then, I defrosted some frozen ground beef in the microwave for five minutes before browning it on the stove using a medium-high heat. The meat took ten minutes to cook and, once it was done, I drained the fat before returning the meat to the stovetop.
After opening the cans, I poured into my meat-packed skillet tomato sauce, drained pinto beans, drained corn and a whole package of yummy taco seasoning mix. The smell alone gave me confidence that this meal was going to end up tasting great. Although the recipe suggests using Mexican-style corn, I simply opted for the plain, no-salt-added variety.
If you want to further decrease the sodium content, you can also rinse your can of beans before adding the contents to the rest of your ingredients. In my case, I ended up just throwing the beans in without running them under water first.
I stirred everything together and waited for the sauce to come to a boil, which took about five minutes. Then, as instructed, I reduced the heat to low and let everything simmer for an additional five minutes.
While the stovetop was doing its thing, I measured out some shredded cheese and I crushed up some tortilla chips. Based on my personal preferences, I mostly just broke the chips in half or thirds, but you can certainly crumble them up until your heart’s content.
I scooped the simmered contents into an oven-safe dish and then layered on my shredded cheese. I stuck the chips vertically into the bakeware and placed the assembled dish into the pre-heated oven. You’re supposed to keep baking the meal until the cheese is adequately melted, which took nearly ten minutes in my case.
I did end up shredding some lettuce to serve with the taco casserole like the recipe suggested, but I ignored the additional recommendations including sour cream and chopped tomatoes tonight. Normally, I'm a huge fan of both, but I wanted to make something quicker!
Obviously, based on the taco toppings you and your family love, you can top the dish with whatever extra ingredients suit your palate.
After devouring one helping, I went back for seconds. The flavor profile and the mouthfeel were both perfect, making me one very satisfied customer. I personally could’ve gotten behind having more tortilla chips in the mix so, when I make this meal again, I’ll probably end up doubling that line item while keeping everything else the same.
Unless, of course, I’m serving vegetarian guests, in which case I’ll just omit the hamburger and add in an extra can of beans such as black or kidney to introduce some variety.
Based on my experience of needing forty-five minutes to prepare this taco casserole, McCormick was a little off on the stated start-to-finish time of thirty minutes. Had I been working with fresh not frozen ground beef, I wouldn’t have needed five minutes of defrost time, but omitting that task still wouldn’t have made this a thirty-minute meal. That being said, the company didn’t let me down on taste, which I appreciate. I was very satisfied overall and will make this dish again soon.
Unfortunately, this recipe took much longer than expected though, so keep that in mind when prepping and cooking this “quick” dinner. You can tailor the recipe to fit your time needs though, subbing ingredients based on how much time you have to cook.
Photos for Pinterest