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A Family Favorite

Pastel Azteca

A family-style recipe, pastel azteca is an easy-to-make casserole filled with delicious and authentic Mexican flavors. Perfect for your gatherings or for a mid-week dinner, this recipe is a wonderful meal solution any time of the year.


• 7 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
• 1 white onion, roughly chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 pasilla chile, chopped
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 whole chipotle in adobo
• Kosher salt
• Fresh ground pepper
• 2 poblanos, seeded, cut into strips
• 2 large zucchinis, cut into strips
• 1 cup corn
• 1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
• 1 ½ cup mashed beans
• 18 corn tortillas
• 3 cups shredded chihuahua or monterey jack cheese
• 2 cups sour cream
• Cotija cheese, for topping
• Chopped cilantro, for topping


1. In a large heavy saute pan add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and pasilla. Saute for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook for about 7-9 more minutes. Place all ingredients in a blender. Add chipotle and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. In a heavy saute pan add about 1cup of avocado oil. Heat the oil on medium high heat. When oil is hot, fry tortillas in batches. Tortillas should just be fried for about 10 seconds on each side (flash fry). Tortillas should be fried but pliable. Place tortillas on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Set aside.
3. In a large heavy saute pan add butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heat over medium high heat. Add poblanos and cook for about 5 minutes. Add zucchini to the pan along with a pinch of salt to extract any extra liquid. Continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes. Add corn and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add shredded chicken to poblano zucchini mix and set aside.
4. Place 1 cup of prepared tomato salsa onto an oven safe baking dish. And spread evenly. Arrange 6 whole fried tortillas in the dish. They may overlap. Spread 1 ½ cups of beans over tortillas.
5. Add remaining tomato salsa to chicken poblano filling. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
6. Add a layer of chicken filling on top of beans.
7. Top off with cheese and crema.
8. Add another layer of 6 tortillas.
9. Continue by spreading cream and cheese.
10. Add remaining chicken filling. Top with the last layer of tortillas. Add cream and top off with cheese. Last layer should be covered in cream and cheese.
11. Cover with aluminum foil.
12. Place in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
13. Remove foil and bake for 5-7 minutes more.
14. Remove from the oven and it is very important for the pastel azteca to rest for about 15-20 min before cutting into it.
15. Serve hot and drizzle crema and cotija cheese on top. Garnish with cilantro leaves.