Thursday, March 7, 2013

Vegetable Enchiladas

Maybe you're trying to cut back on meat. Maybe you have a bunch of vegetables around the house. Maybe you're looking to save some money. Maybe you really like delicious meals. Or maybe you just bought thirty bell peppers and are trying to find a way to use two of them. 

Whatever the case, I guarantee you can find an excuse to make these seriously delicious enchiladas. They can seem a bit daunting, but some organization and a little time in the kitchen makes a big ol' batch of scrumptious enchiladas that everyone--even meat lovers--can enjoy.

I altered this recipe from one I got from a friend in my teaching credential program. The original instructions included quite the assortment of canned ingredients, though, and we're doing our best to stick with more natural, whole foods. Some homemade enchilada sauce and fresh produce boost the nutritional value and "real food" appeal of this dish.

Tips for success:
  • Keep your sauce warm on the stove while you assemble the enchiladas. It helps keep the tortillas pliable for when you load 'em up.
  • Set all of your ingredients out in separate bowls, using different spoons for each ingredient. It cuts down on the mess just a bit.
  • If you have helpers (kids can totally help with this meal--except the tortilla-dipping part), give each person a job on the assembly line! Fun family time!
  • Roll the enchiladas snugly but not too tight. When you place them into the dish, tuck them close together so they don't unravel. 
Vegetable Enchiladas
Serves 4 with potential for leftovers
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 15 ounces black beans, rinsed 
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • About 2-3 cups Enchilada sauce (<-- my recipe) 
  • 6-8 ounces cheese (I've used cheddar, pepper jack, jack, cotija--or a combination), freshly shredded
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Thinly slice the bell peppers and zucchini. Toss with salt and pepper and olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Meanwhile, make your enchilada sauce:

Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
Heat the diced tomatoes over medium heat until they start to boil. Mash with a fork or potato masher until desired consistency (I like tomato chunks). Add all of the spices (chili powder through cumin) and stir. Then add the tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer while you prepare the rest, about 15 minutes. You can smooth out the sauce with an immersion blender (or regular blender) if you prefer no chunks.

Once you remove your roasted vegetables, reduce the oven to 325 degrees.

To assemble the enchiladas, first create a little assembly line.
  • Your enchilada sauce should be first in line, either still on the stovetop or still warm in the pot but on an oven mitt.
  • Rinse the black beans and pour into a bowl. Place a spoon in the bowl. 
  • Set the (slightly cooled) roasted vegetables next to the black beans, either on the baking tray or in a more compact container.
  • At the end of the line, place your greased 9x13 baking dish (or two, if you're making lots!). 
Heat up your tortillas three at a time so they stay warm and pliable during assembly. Wrap the tortillas in a damp dishtowel (or paper towel) and microwave for 45 seconds to a minute. Work with one tortilla at a time while keeping the other warm guys wrapped up.

If disaster strikes and your tortilla tears, just roll with it. No one will notice.

From there, it's easy! Dip your warm tortilla in the enchilada sauce (get both sides and shake off excess sauce), then add a small spoonful of beans and a few slices of zucchini/peppers. Place the tortilla in the baking dish and roll snugly. Move to the next tortilla and continue until the dish is filled. Heat up next tortillas as necessary.

To finish, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinkle with cheese and chopped onion. Bake about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbles a little. To serve, garnish with sour cream and avocado--and perhaps a Pacifico?


What's your favorite Mexican dish? I absolutely LOVE tamales. Our local farmer's market has some incredible beef and pork tamales that seriously make me drool. I'm not kidding. I'm drooling right now. It's gross.

Happy weekend, everyone!


  1. These sound amazing! I would love to try them :). My favorite Mexican dish is either enchiladas or tacos. I love making tacos with roasted chickpeas :).

  2. Looks delish! I've never had Enchiladas before!

  3. Oh my looks yummy and like something I could even make. I'm starting to cook more but need simple recipes. This sounds and looks so good.

    Favorite Mexican dish is fish tacos. Now I want to go out to dinner to our fav Mexican restaurant lol