Chilaquiles Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content


This recipe, created by Lila Y. Cornelio, won Best Entrée in VT's 2011 Chefs' Challenge. After going veg at age 15, Cornelio began making meatless versions of her family's Mexican recipes. For her athletic performance cuisine class, she fed a wrestling team this tortilla casserole, based on a chicken dish her grandmother used to make. Her aim: keep it nutritious but just as flavorful. "Instead of frying tortillas, I baked them, which eliminated hundreds of calories alone," she says.



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15 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into strips
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8 plum tomatoes (3 lb.), divided
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12 tomatillos (3 lb.), divided
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1 medium onion, chopped (1 ½ cups), divided
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2 jalapeno chiles, divided
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6 cloves garlic, peeled, divided
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2 ¼ tsp. dried oregano
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1 ½ tsp. black peppercorns
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3 sprigs fresh thyme
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1 bay leaf
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4 cups cilantro leaves
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6 large egg whites, beaten
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3 oz. crumbled queso fresco, divided
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1 oz. part-skim mozzarella, grated (¼ cup)
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3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
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½ cup low-fat sour cream
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1 avocado, sliced


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread tortilla strips in single layer on baking sheets. Spray with cooking spray, flip, and spray other side. Bake 7 to 10 minutes, turning once, or until crispy. Cool.

2. Place 4 tomatoes, 6 tomatillos, 3/4 cup onion, 1 jalapeño, 3 cloves garlic, oregano, peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaf in large pot; cover with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and simmer 15 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and tomatillos are pale. Remove bay leaf; remove pot from heat.

3. Preheat oven to broil. Spread remaining 4 tomatoes, 6 tomatillos, 3/4 cup onion, jalapeño, and 3 cloves garlic on baking sheet. Broil 25 minutes, or until vegetables are browned, turning occasionally. Cool slightly.

4. Adjust oven temperature to 375°F. Transfer broiled vegetables to pot with boiled vegetables, and stir in cilantro. Blend in batches in blender until smooth. (You should have about 9 cups.)

5. Coat 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Wipe out pot, and heat over medium heat. Slowly add sauce to pot (sauce will sizzle). Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.

6. Increase heat to medium-high. When sauce boils, stir in egg whites 5 seconds, or until they feather into sauce. Add half of queso fresco, mozzarella, and tortilla strips. Toss gently to coat tortilla strips.

7. Spread in prepared baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 10 minutes, or until tortillas have absorbed most of sauce. Let stand 6 minutes. Serve topped with lettuce, sour cream, sliced avocado, and remaining queso fresco.

Nutrition Information: 

11 g
Total Fat: 
8 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
45 g
8 mg
170 mg
7 g
9 g
Serves 8

Comments on this Recipe

Flavor was great but turned out way too mushy. Not sure if frying the tortillas would help or not. I loved the flavor but think next time I'll skip trying to bake/broil and just serve nacho style.

Is this too spicy for kids?

i made these for lunch for my boyfriend and they turned out very well! the only problem is there are just two of us so this recipe made too many! they also turned out a little more saucy than they should but over very good recipe!

Way to saucey & mushy for us.. & I had high hopes!

Okay so - made this and was so disappointed - so mushy and watery - but because I had made 2 (one for my family and one for a potluck dinner) I was able to experiment with the second one - I cooked it longer (like 4x longer) and added a bit more cheese and it was absolutely delicious! I should have guessed seeing that the tortillas did not crisp in 7-10 minutes more like 20. So cook it longer and enjoy!!!!

These are wonderful. So creamy and flavorful, I never notice that there isn't any meat. Not too spicy, just perfect. Make sure the tortillas are very crispy, since the sauce goes right over it.

Eggs are in the recipe how is this veg.