If you are looking for a great meatless recipe that tastes incredible, you will love this easy Gluten-Free Vegan Mexican Casserole! This casserole is perfect for those busy weeknights, and you can even meal prep by making it ahead and baking it when you need it! All you need is 30 minutes to make this recipe!

A slice of the vegan Mexican casserole on a plate. A fork is next to the slice.

(This post has been sponsored by Cultivated Foods, LLC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Are you looking for a fabulous gluten-free meat substitute that cooks like ground beef? Mr. Fearless Dining has asked me to cook more meatless meals, and I will be honest…it was tough. Hard to find a meat substitute that is actually gluten free and hard to find a meat substitute that is the same consistency as ground beef.

If you have been struggling to find vegetarian meat that is also gluten-free, I am really excited to tell you about this new product: HAPPY LITTLE PLANTS®. It is brand new, and you can find it at your local Safeway stores, along with all of the ingredients to make this recipe!

Happy Little Plants ground with poblano peppers and cilantro on the counter

I LOVE that you can prepare HAPPY LITTLE PLANTS® products the same way you would ground beef or turkey. Put it in a pan, throw it on a grill, or cook it on a campfire…it is so easy to cook! Go ahead and get creative. This meat substitute cooks just like meat, so you have nothing to worry about when substituting it in your recipes!

Several readers have asked me what brands of dairy-free cheese are good in this recipe. I like VioLife, which can be found in many grocery stores. Daiya also makes good vegan cheese.

Allergen Information:

This vegan Mexican casserole is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and oat-free. Most vegan meat contains soy. If you can find a non-soy option, you can make this recipe soy-free.

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

Happy Plants meat and onions in a skillet.

Step 1: Brown the HAPPY LITTLE PLANTS® product with diced onions and oil in a large non-stick skillet. I used a 12-inch cast iron pan, which worked really well.

Use a metal spatula to break up the plant-based ground meat so that it cooks into bite-sized crumbles.

Chopping poblano peppers on a cutting board.

Step 2: Chop up poblano peppers (removing the seeds) on a cutting board. We will cook these separately with vegan cream cheese to make a creamy pepper layer in this casserole!

Add spices, jalapeõs, and fresh cilantro to the pan of cooking meat.

Step 3: Cook the meat over medium heat. Stir occasionally and continue to break up the meat into smaller pieces as it cooks.

Step 4: Cook the meat mixture until the product reaches an internal temperature of 165° F, measured by a digital meat thermometer, about 10-12 minutes.

Step 5: Add the ground dried spices, fresh cilantro, and sliced jalapeños to the pan and continue to cook and break up the meat for 5 minutes. 

Gluten free meatless meat substitute cooking with seasonings in a pan.

Step 6: Add a can of diced tomatoes to the mixture, turn the heat down, and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

Cooking poblanos with cream cheese.

Step 7: Cook the poblanos and oil over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes until the peppers are softened. Add the dairy-free cream cheese and cook on low until the cheese is melted.

A skillet full of vegan meat filling for the casserole.

I still can’t get over how similar the HAPPY LITTLE PLANTS® product is to ground beef. I could eat it by the forkful without making a casserole!

The corn tortillas lining the bottom of a baking dish.

Step 8: Spray oil on the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish. Line the bottom of a baking dish with corn tortillas. 

Adding the Happy Little Plants Ground over the tortillas.

Step 9: Add the ground layer and then top with more corn tortillas. Your vegetarian Mexican casserole is coming together!

Adding the poblano and cream cheese layer.

Step 10: Add another layer of corn tortillas, the dairy-free cream cheese, and the poblano pepper mixture. Top with the final layer of tortillas.

Casserole is topped with enchilada sauce and dairy-free cheddar cheese.

Step 11: Top with your favorite gluten-free enchilada sauce. Most grocery stores have several choices! Next, sprinkle on the dairy-free cheddar shreds and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

A plate with a big slice of vegan Mexican casserole.

Serve hot, and enjoy!! You can garnish this with vegan sour cream like VioLife or Kite Hill brands. Serve this vegan Shishito Pepper Soup!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the best size baking dish for making this casserole?

I used a 9×13 baking dish to make this Mexican Casserole recipe. You can use a ceramic casserole dish or a metal 9×13 pan.

How can you make this Mexican recipe less spicy?

If you don’t like things too spicy, feel free to leave out the jalapeños from the cooked meat. 

Are poblano peppers hot?

feel free to substitute green peppers instead of poblano peppers.

You can also use tempeh as a protein source, but be sure to check your tempeh to see is tempeh gluten free?

More Vegan Recipes To Try:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

Vegetarian Mexican Casserole

Sandi Gaertner
This delicious gluten free vegetarian Mexican Casserole makes a delicious meatless dinner the whole family will love.
5 from 6 votes
dairy free allergen icon
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
A vegan icon.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dinner Recipes, Gluten Free Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8
Calories 441 kcal


  • 1 pound HAPPY LITTLE PLANTS® vegetarian meat
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or another high heat light oil
  • 14 ounces gluten free enchilada sauce
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 14.5 ounces 1 can diced tomatoes, unsalted
  • 8 ounces dairy-free cream cheese
  • 2 poblano peppers chopped and deseeded
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil for cooking poblanos
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup dairy-free cheese
  • 2 tablespoons scallions


  • Preheat your oven to 350º F.
  • In a skillet add the oil and vegetarian meat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the product reaches an internal temperature of 165°F as measured by a meat thermometer—about 10-12 minutes. Add spices, fresh cilantro, and jalapeños to the pan, and continue to cook and break up the meat for 5 minutes.
  • Add seasonings and a can of diced tomatoes, cilantro, and diced jalapeño. Mix well and simmer covered for 10 minutes.
  • Deseed the poblano peppers and chop into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a skillet, heat oil and add the poblanos. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until the peppers are softened. Add the cream cheese and turn the heat down to low. Stir occasionally, allowing the peppers and cream cheese to cook together.
  • Take a 9×13 pan and grease it, (I used spray canola oil).
  • Layer corn tortillas along the bottom of the pan. (About 6).
  • Add the meat crumble on top of the tortillas and cover with another row of corn tortillas.
  • Add the cream cheese poblano layer on top of the corn tortillas.
  • Top with the last layer of corn tortillas and then pour the can of enchilada sauce over the top of the casserole.
  • Add dairy-free cheddar or Mexican style cheese and bake for 30 minutes so the flavors all blend together.
  • Serve hot.


  1. If you do not have to be dairy-free, you can use regular cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
  2. You can use any brand of vegan meat, just make sure to check the ingredients because not every brand is gluten free. 
  3. Feel free to add any veggies you like to this vegan Mexican casserole. If you like it spicy, add in some roasted hatch green chiles.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 441kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 16gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 1316mgPotassium: 513mgFiber: 9gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1141IUVitamin C: 41mgCalcium: 184mgIron: 3mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I love the options for dairy-free as well. What a relief to find a gluten-free product like this. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the information about this meat-free alternative!

  2. I love how it’s getting easier and easier to find meat alternatives. I am not vegan or vegetarian, but we often like to cook with less meat, so what a great alternative, and this recipe is dreamy!