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Mexican Vegetarian Cooking (1989) – Stuffed Chili Casserole

September 7, 2012

Metcalfe de Plata, Edith, and Laurie Gruenbeck. Mexican Vegetarian Cooking. “Stuffed Chili Casserole.” Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1989. P. 99 [TX837. M535 1989]

Librarian’s Note: UTSA Special Collections also holds a Spanish-language edition of this cookbook, published a few years prior to the English one [TX837 .M53518 1985], featured last winter: Salsa Picante (December 16, 2011) and Enchilada de Legumbres (December 23, 2011).  

By Lauryn Bailey, an undergraduate biology student at UTSA

Mexican Vegetarian Cooking

Cover of Mexican Vegetarian Cooking by Edith Metcalfe de Plata

This recipe for Stuffed Chili Casserole came from “Mexican Vegetarian Cooking” by Edith Metcalfe de Plata of La Margarita’s, a vegetarian restaurant in Guadalajara, Mexico. This dish is fast and easy, but also delicious and fun to make. As I took it out of the oven even my sister (who is a carnivore and proud of it) commented, “Dang, that really does look good!” After taking it out of the oven, I topped it with some fresh parsley to give it a nice, professional look in contrast to the bright orange cheese. The Stuffed Chili Casserole tasted wonderful and had a rich flavor to it.

I chose to use a recipe from this particular cookbook because, although I am not a vegetarian, I do strive to only eat meat a few times a week. Multiple studies have shown the health benefits of limiting meat intake among men and women.  On average, vegetarians live approximately seven years longer than meat-eaters. Reducing meat intake also reduces the risk of getting cancer. The National Cancer Institute has shown that women who eat meat every day are almost “four times more likely to get breast cancer” [1] than those who don’t. Eating a healthy vegetarian diet can also help a person to lose weight and reduce bone loss by consuming a more appropriate amount protein. Research has shown that “the average meat-eating American woman eats 144% over the recommended daily allowance [of protein]” and men “eat 175%” over [1]. Eating a vegetarian diet lowers the ingestion of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet, all the while increasing the consumption of complex carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, and phytochemicals. This, of course, is assuming the vegetarian is consuming a huge amount of fruits and vegetables and highly limiting their cheese and dessert intake. The results are astonishing: people who eat this way are at a lower risk of developing “obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, renal disease, and some cancers” [2]. Because of these findings and numerous others, I am limiting my meat intake and am following through by trying out new recipes such as the Stuffed Chili Casserole.

  1. Norine Dworkin, “22 Reasons to Go Vegetarian,” Vegetarian Times (April 2009):;col1.
  2. “What are the Benefits of a Vegetarian and Vegan Diet,”

stuffed chili casseroleStuffed Chili Casserole

3-4 tortillas
1 (7 oz.) can Ortega chilies
½ c. chopped onions
1 c. grated sharp cheese
4 eggs
5 tablespoons of water
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley

  1. Layer the tortillas on the bottom and sides of a 1 & ½ quart buttered casserole.
  2. Add the chilies (split open) and the onions and cheese.
  3. Beat the eggs thoroughly and mix in the water, baking powder, and flour.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the chilies and cheese and sprinkle with parmesan.
  5. Bake, uncovered, at 375⁰F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley.

Kitchen Note: Be sure to use a separate, clean bowl to beat the eggs.

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