Corn Tortilla Casserole

Hot, bubbly Corn Tortilla Casserole,

Stop throwing those stale, dry, broken tortillas away! You need them to make Corn Tortilla Casserole. In fact, this dish cannot be prepared with fresh tortillas; they just disintegrate. 

Decades ago my husband asked me to make a recipe he found in a vegetarian cookbook. Now, why my "meat and potatoes" man was reading Laurel's Kitchen, why I actually prepared a dish with tomato sauce and cottage cheese mixed together, and how he knew it would be so good, I will never know. Despite how my version of the recipe has changed and adapted over the years, I still use tomato sauce and cottage cheese. And sometimes even chicken. Sorry, Laurel.

In short, dried out corn tortillas make us do the dance of joy. Our friends, too. So try not to freak out over the unusual combination of ingredients before you've tried the recipe.

Corn Tortilla Casserole

12 to 15 dry corn tortillas (the larger ones)
1/4 cup olive oil, or more
1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
6 or 8 green onions, sliced
1 15-ounce can sliced black olives
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups shredded cheese (a Monterey Jack-cheddar combo is good) 

Tear the tortillas into roughly 2-inch pieces and set aside. (What can happen? They'll dry out?) 

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the seasonings, green onions and olives. When the green onions are tender add the tortillas and toss until they are coated with olive oil. Add a little more oil if necessary. 

Blend the tomato sauce and cottage cheese. (Not in the blender.) Pour the sauce over the tortilla mixture. Move the tortillas around a bit so that some of the sauce seeps through. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Reduce the heat, cover, and let it cook until heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 10-15 minutes. 


  • Costco makes a "Mexican Style Blend" of Monterey Jack, cheddar, queso quesadilla, and asadero cheeses that is perfect, and already shredded. 
  • I've been known to spread too fresh tortillas across the countertop to air all day so they would be dried out enough by dinnertime. 
  • If you must add meat to this dish opt for chicken, but never ground meats.

Tortilla Chicken Casserole

Add 2 cups fresh or cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces, to the skillet with the onions and olives. Increase the amount of shredded cheese by 1/2 cup.

Back to Recipes for Leftovers

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