This Easy Southwestern Casserole is a delicious dinner the whole family will love. The ground sausage adds a hearty flavor, while the enchilada sauce and spices give it nice, not-too-hot flavor. It’s quick and easy to make and simple to prepare on a busy weeknight.
Plus this easy dinner is kid-approved because it’s tasty without being too spicy.
Southwestern Casserole is one of those meals you can easily make gluten-free. Simply use gluten-free noodles! If you’re not gluten-free, you can use your favorite regular noodles. Easy peasy!
You can also make X dairy-free by substituting dairy-free “cheese,” like Daiya cheese instead of regular shredded cheddar cheese. We’ve made it both ways and while of course, there is no truly “just-like-real-cheese” substitute, Daiya cheese is a good option if you need it.
As a busy work-at-home mom with four kids, I’m always looking for quick-and-easy dinners that satisfy my family. This Easy Southwestern Casserole fits the bill. I also love that it’s easy to make enough to save leftovers for the next night as well. Less cooking and work for us moms all around!
How to Make Easy Southwestern Casserole
There are two ways to make this Southwestern Casserole, which kinda makes it even better. If you’re anything like me, you like options and this casserole has some options.
1) Over the stove only. This fully cooks the casserole and skips the extra step and time of heating it in the oven.
2) Cook over the stove and heat in the oven for 20-30 minutes. This takes longer, however, the end result tastes just a little better because everything is cooked together.
I go back and forth between the two, depending on if I completely forgot about dinner and am running behind or if I’m more organized that day.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and cook 12 oz pasta noodles as directed on the package. I use brown rice spiral pasta (in the photos, you’ll see I used penne pasta- recently I discovered that spiral pasta tastes and works even better in this casserole.) Your choice!
Tip: If you want to include the whole bag of pasta, you’ll need to increase the enchilada sauce and spice or your Southwestern Casserole will probably taste too plain. (Spoken from experience!)
Brown 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey or ground beef with 1/2 pound ground bulk sausage in a dutch oven or large pan. I use ground turkey sausage when my store has it in stock or pork sausage otherwise. Add in 1 cup chopped onion (I use frozen for easier prep and no tears), 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1 diced red or green bell pepper.
Drain once the meat is browned.
Stir in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1.5 cups corn (I use frozen organic corn) …
and 1 large can (19 oz) enchilada sauce along with 1 Tbsp cumin (use more or less to your taste).
Stir to heat fully…
…OR if you want to and have time to cook it in your oven, scoop into a 9×13″ baking dish.
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted on top. (If you use dairy-free cheese, it may not melt fully.)
Serve and enjoy!
If you want to make this Easy Southwestern Casserole ahead of time, make everything as directed, then simply cover and place the 9×13″ baking dish in your refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. You will need to bake for a little longer – probably 30-40 minutes – to fully heat your dinner.
I have not tried freezing this dinner, but I’m sure you can. If you do, please let me know how it works!
- 1.5 pounds ground beef or turkey
- ½ pound bulk pork sausage
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium green or red pepper, chopped
- 2 cups organic cheddar cheese, shredded (divided) (use Daiya, non-dairy cheese or leave out entirely if you prefer)
- 1.5 cups corn (I use frozen organic corn)
- 1 large can (19.5oz)enchilada sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 TBSP cumin, more or less to taste
- 12 ounces gluten-free penne pasta, cooked and drained
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Brown the beef and sausage along with the diced onion, garlic, and pepper over medium heat; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for 1 cup of shredded cheese.
- Cook and stir until fully heated and serve.
- Turn into a 13x9x2” baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover and bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.