Meat Free Mondays – Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Enchiladas in our house is almost a weekly tradition, but these Butternut Squash Enchiladas took the whole concept and turned it on its head.

That’s because our enchiladas typically are stuffed with leftover chicken, pork or beef combined with beans, rice, cheese and a zesty red enchilada sauce. They are a great way to get a second day out of any leftover protein.

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

But this recipe for Butternut Squash Enchiladas comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Becky, over at Veghotpot, who was one of the first vegetarian writers I discovered after my daughter, Maggie Mae, announced she was becomine a vegetarian last year.

It contains, no meat, no cheese, no beans, no rice and no enchilada sauce. Are you sure that’s even an enchilada, Becky?

While it certainly is different from the enchiladas we are accustomed to, it was delicious and probably a lot healthier as well. Sandi described the flavor the best, noting that it was a nice balance between the sweetness of the butternut squash and the zestiness of the salsa and tomatoes.

The only problem I had was finding butternut squash. Being a hard squash, they usually are available year-round, but I had to visit three stores before I finally found one at Aldi’s. Earlier, I had panic-bought an acorn squash and planned to substitute before Sandi shot that idea down, noting that the flavor pairing would be off. As usual, she was right.

As it turns out, the recipe contains no cheese because Becky is apparently lactose intolerant. (She offers some amazing cheese substitute recipes in her blog today.) But I didn’t miss the cheese at all, especially after I topped my enchiladas with my homemade guacamole and some fat-free sour cream.

Butternut Squash EnchiladasLast week, Becky announced that for the second year in a row she would be participating in the Vegan MoFo Challenge, in which bloggers pledge to write at least 20 blogs featuring vegan recipes, ie. not only no meat, but no cheese, egg or other animal products whatsoever.

For a fleeting moment, I considered the idea, but in the end I love my meat and cheese too much to make that kind of commitment. Still, I will be carefully watching what she posts, especially when they are amazing recipes such as this one for Butternut Squash Enchiladas.

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

1 Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded cut into quarter-sized slices

1 White Onion, rough chop

3 Garlic Cloves, rough chop

1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TBS Cumin

1/2 TBS Chili Powder

Sea Salt

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

1 cup Salsa

10 oz can Diced Tomatoes

4 or 5 Whole Wheat Tortillas

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Combine squash, onion, garlic, oil, cumin and chili powder in a mixing bowl, season with sal and pepper, toss and pour out into a baking pan. Bake until squash is soft and onion is carmelized, stirring once or twice, about 40 minutes. This can be done ahead of time.

2. Combine the salsa and tomato sauce in a mixing bowl.

3. Spray a 8-inch square baking pan with pan spray. One at a time, spread a generous amount of the squash mixture in a tortilla, top with the salsa mixture and roll into an enchilada. Place seam side down in the baking pan. Repeat until all the squash mixture has been used. Top with the remaining salsa mixture, cover with foil and bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 10 minutes so the top gets crispy.

Remove from oven and serve immediately with guacamole, extra salsa and fat-free sour cream on the side.

 

Meat Free Mondays — Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

We love enchiladas. It’s one of our favorite meals to make and we have it at least twice per month.

The great thing about enchiladas is that you can fill them with anything you want. They are particularly great for using up leftovers or if you want to make a vegetarian dish.

So when I found this enchilada recipe — which I found on this blog by the2beths, one of my favorite blogs — I just knew I had to try it. It had some funky ingredients and even the way it was assembled was way different from my enchilada recipe.

The good news: It was delicious. The sweet potato did not overwhelm the complex flavors of the enchilada as I suspected it would. Instead, it kind of complemented the mushroom-pepper-onion-jalapeno-spinach filling. I also thought the sweet potato would make it too dense, but it didn’t at all. It was light and moist.

The bad news: With the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish, instead of mixed in with the filling like I normally make it, the enchiladas stuck to the bottom and fell apart as I tried to plate them.

This may have been because I made them a few hours ahead of time and held them in the refrigerator until we were ready to have dinner. Or it may have been because I used generic store-brand whole wheat tortillas. But next time, I will assemble them the way I normally do.

But despite the plating disaster, I loved the flavor of these enchiladas. Plus, it gave me an excuse to make our guacamole, which I think is why we have enchiladas (and quesadillas, for that matter) so frequently: We can’t get enough of our guacamole.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 TBS EVOO

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, small dice

8-10 button mushrooms, chopped fine

1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, medium dice

1/2 red onion, medium dice

2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed and cleaned

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

Sea salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

1 12-oz can enchilada sauce

6 8″ whole wheat tortillas

1 cup salsa, plus more on the side for service

1/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese

1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped (full disclosure: I bought this but forgot to put it in)

1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil then add the sweet potato and boil until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash.

2. Preheat oven to 375F. Put cast iron pan on the fire. When hot, add oil. When smoking, add onion, green pepper and jalapeno and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 more minutes. Add black beans, cilantro, cumin and chili powder and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

3. In a casserole dish, spread 1/2 of the can of enchilada sauce around the bottom. One by one, fill the tortillas a schmeer of mashed sweet potato topped with a dollop of the filling, then a TBS of salsa. Roll up like a burrito and place seam side down in the casserole dish. When all tortillas are filled, pour remaining enchilada sauce over them and sprinkle with the cheese. Cover with foil, bake 35 minutes then remove foil and bake another 10 minutes to brown up the top.

I serve my enchiladas with homemade guacamole, salsa, fat free sour cream and baked tortilla chips. This is one of our favorite meals.

What dishes do you love so much you make them at least a couple of times per month? Tell us about them in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!

The Whole Enchilada

Did you every make something just so you could make something else with the leftovers? I do that all the time so we can have one of our favorites — enchiladas.

Enchiladas are kind of like open-ended burritos that are baked. They always include a traditional sauce made out of a variety of roasted peppers pureed together, and they usually include some sort of cheese.

Chicken, Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

Chicken, Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

Whatever else they are filled with is up to you.

I have collected recipes for enchilada sauce, but it’s one of those things that is just easier to buy. It’s not really very expensive and you can get it in a 14 oz can, which is just the right amount. Its very flavorful but not all that spicy.

We like to stuff our enchiladas with leftover chicken, pork or just beans and corn if that’s all we have. I almost always make a little rice to bind it together, but I’ve also made it without rice.

I have a wonderful rice steamer, which is soooo easy to use — you just pour in the rice and liquid, turn it on and forget about it! But I have been making brown rice lately because it’s healthier and I’m trying to weed out our overflowing pantry. Brown rice needs to be made on the stovetop because it takes a lot longer to cook.

I haven’t used instant rice ever since I learned that nearly all the nutritional value is leached out when they pre-cook it then dehydrate it. Yuck.

Whenever I cook a chicken, beef or some sort of pork, I almost always plan on making enchiladas with the leftovers a day or two later. I can justify spending money on the meat if I know I’m going to get at least two meals and probably a lunch out of it.

If you only have a little bit of leftover protein, you can stretch it out with extra rice or beans.

Enchiladas are also another excuse for us to have our favorite homemade guacamole. I also serve it with (fat free) sour cream and our special salsa blend, which is made with two parts regular salsa (any kind) and one part chipotle sauce, which has a wonderful smoky flavor but is much too spicy to eat on its own.

We probably have enchiladas at least twice per month. It’s a night we look forward to because it’s super delicious and easy to make. It can even be made a day ahead of time if you know you are going to be busy, or you can even freeze it for another time.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

8-12 oz leftover chicken, white or dark meat, diced

15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

14 oz can enchilada sauce

1 cup cooked rice

1 cup cooked corn, canned or fresh

1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar and Monterey Jack mix preferred)

5 whole wheat tortillas

Assembling the Enchiladas

Assembling the Enchiladas

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 9″x9″ baking pan with pan spray.

Combine chicken, beans, rice, 3/4 of cheese and 3/4 can of the enchilada sauce in mixing bowl and stir together. Lay out tortilla on cutting board, fill one side with 1/5 of the mixture, roll up tightly and place sealed side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining four tortillas. Drizzle remaining enchilada sauce over the top, then sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and cook for 35 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 5-10 minutes to crisp up the top.

Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa and tortilla chips. Also goes great with beer.