I have always wanted to surprise my boyfriend with a country picnic as he is quite the country boy and loves outdoors. So today was the day! I made a healthy, vegan (he’ll never even know that it was vegan muhaha)  Mexican casserole, gathered a couple things together and came up with this cute little creation for a nice date to end his long work day!

I’ll put the recipe for the casserole below! It may appear difficult as the ingredient list is a little long but it truly isn’t that hard!

I grabbed some mason jars and placed some inexpensive candles in them, used my beloved plaid scarf as a table cloth, snagged a pallet from behind a grocery store, hung some twinkle lights along it and threw on some country music. It was simple and so much fun to do. I was so, so, so excited. My heart was pounding when I heard his truck in the driveway because he had thought I was out of town. Hehe. Hopefully he liked it 🙂

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Healthy Vegan Mexican Casserole:

Sauce:
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tsp coconut oil melted
-2 tbsp chili powder
-1 tbsp healthy flour (I used rye flour)
-2 small cans of tomato paste
-1 1/4 cup water
-1 tbsp cumin
-red chilli flakes to desired spice level
-salt & pepper to taste

1.) Sauté minced garlic in coconut oil
2.) While garlic is sautéing, combine dry ingredients together and mix well. Then combine with tomato paste & water
3.) Put tomato paste mix in pan and sauté altogether with the garlic
4.) Simmer for 10-15 minutes & set aside

Casserole:

-healthy noodles or you can use brown rice  (I used brown rice noodles)
-1 tsp coconut oil
-1 onion, chopped
-1 jalapeno, chopped
-3 bell peppers, chopped
-1 package of taco seasoning
-1 can black beans, rinsed
-1 1/2 -2 cups of the sauce we just made ^^^
-1/3 cup vegan cheese (I used Daiya for the first time. So good!)
-healthy chips to crumble on top (I used quinoa chips)
-1/2 avocado diced for garnish

1.) Cook noodles/rice. Be sure not to over cook as we will be putting this in the oven as well and do not want them to get mushy.
2.) Preheat oven to 350
3.) Sauté onions, peppers & jalapeno
4.) Add 1 cup of the sauce we just made ^^^ to the veggies along with beans and the taco seasoning
5.) Stir in pasta
6.) Once mixed well together, transfer mixture to a casserole dish and top with the “cheese”
7.) Bake for 10-15 minutes
8.) Garnish with crumbled chips & diced avocado!

p.s. I did cook some chicken on the side for my mocho man and mixed it in there when I dished out his portion 🙂 So, that is an idea for you as well if yourself or whomever you may be making this for enjoys meat!

Now go get planning your surprise picnic and put a smile on his face. It’ll warm his and your heart to see him happily surprised xx

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