Why This Recipe for Vegetarian Enchiladas?
Many vegetable based entrees and I have a love hate relationship. I love their flavor, I love the idea of eating a plant based diet, but often times I am left with my hunger feeling unsatisfied. After several trials of making these Vegetarian Enchiladas, I was able to come up with a repeatable recipe that leaves even the most carnivorous eaters content. The Black Bean and Sweet Potato filling is packed full of flavor and keeps my hunger at bay for several hours afterwards.
Before You Start Cooking
Here are some helpful tips for making these Vegetarian Enchiladas.
- When cutting your vegetables, it is always convenient to have a waste bowl set up next to your cutting board. This eliminates a lot of mess and unnecessary movement.
- Corn tortillas can be stiff and may break when you are filling them. To soften them microwave them for 1-2 minutes with a small cup of water to make them more pliable.
- When cutting a sweet potato, making one flat size with your first knife cut will make the task safer and easier.
- By cutting all of your vegetables before you start cooking, you will be able work work easier and cleaner.
- Placing a baking sheet under the pan for your vegetarian enchiladas, you can prevent any spill over from dirtying your oven.
Choosing Ingredients for these Vegetarian Enchiladas.
If you feel up to it, please go ahead and make your own Salsa Verde for these vegetarian enchiladas. This is an area where you can tailor the spice level to your liking. The quality and freshness will certainly come though in the final dish. You might have troubles depending on where you live to find fresh tomatillos though. I have included a Salsa Verde recipe below if you feel like making your own. It makes a little more than you will need for this recipe. But, if you are going go through the trouble of making it, why not set some aside to enjoy with chips.
If you are looking to take a short cut or cannot find fresh tomatillos. I recommend looking for a fresh Salsa Verde in the produce isle at your grocery store. These are typically good quality and will work great in this dish. I do not recommend the canned salsa verde or the green enchilada sauces that you can find next to the taco seasoning packets. The alternative I would suggest would be this particular Salsa Verde in a jar. It is as good of quality as you are going to get without it being fresh.
Corn tortillas are preferable over flour for these vegetarian enchiladas. Texture and taste were the deciding factors. In tests corn way out performed flour in both. There is no need to venture off with blue corn or some other variation when choosing a corn tortilla. Many grocery stores in the United States will have some authentic corn tortillas refrigerated. These are often produced regionally and typically are superior to any national brand.
Unlike flour tortillas, corn tortillas typically come in one size at most grocery stores. They are about 6 inches in diameter. I would not suggest going any smaller than that. That is going to determine your pan’s width.
I try to keep sourcing the ingredients easy and simple for all of my recipes. There are a variety of authentic Mexican cheeses that would work well for these vegetarian enchiladas, the problem is they are not commonly found everywhere. Monterey Jack is fairly common to find most place and works great. You will want to buy a block of it and shred it your self if you want the best results. The mild sweet and salty flavor pairs well with the sweet potatoes and black beans. Where Monterey jack really stands out is how well it melts and browns in the oven. I have tested several shredded cheese blends with these vegetarian enchiladas, but they just failed to live up the the results from Monterey Jack.
This recipe is already prep heavy for most home cooking, so I recommend just using a quality canned black bean. Try to stay away from anything that is flavored in any way. You will want to rinse your black beans well under cold water before using them. I find mesh strainers like these work great for small quick tasks like this.
There are a variety of vegetables that go into these vegetarian enchiladas. All of them are typically stocked in most grocery stores in the United States, so I do not anticipate you having any trouble finding them. Just make sure that they are fresh and you will be set.
Items you will need
These are items that I personally use, but any purchases from these affiliate links support this website.
- Baking Dish This one fits 6 inch Tortillas Perfectly.
- Braising Pan
- Cheese Grater
- Cutting Board
- Wooden Spoon
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Citrus Juicer
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Vegetarian Enchiladas with Black Bean and Sweet Potatoes
For the Filling
- 2 Cups Sweet Potato Diced
- 15 Ounce Black Beans Rinsed
- 1 Cup Red Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 Cup Green Onions Diced
- 1 Each Jalapeno Pepper Optional Diced
- 2 Tbsp. Garlic Minced
- 2 Tbsp. Cilantro Minced
- 2 Tbsp. Cooking Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Ground Cumin
- 1 Tsp Paprika
- 1 Tsp Ground Guajillo Chile
- 2 Tbsp. Lime Juice
- ¼ tsp Lime Zest
- 1 Cup Water
- 8 each Corn Tortillas
- 16 Ounces Salsa Verde
- ¾ pound Monterey Jack Cheese Shredded
- ½ Cup Sour Cream
- Hot Sauce
Prepare the Vegetarian Enchiladas Filling
- Small Dice all of your vegetables approximately the same size as a black bean. Make sure to peel the sweet potato. Cutting one side flat first makes cutting a sweet potato safer and easier.
- After all Vegetables are cut. In a large sauté pan that has a lid over medium heat add 2 tbsp of cooking oil, green onions, and 1 tbsp of Kosher salt. Allow onions to cook for 2-3 minutes by themselves.
- Next add the bell pepper and jalapeno. Allow to cook for an additional 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
- After peppers and onions soften, add sweet potatoes, garlic, spices, salt, and cilantro. Mix all the ingredients well and let cook until spices become aromatic, this should take about 1-2 minutes.
- Add lime juice, zest, black beans and 1 cup of water. Mix well and cover pan with a lid. Lower temperature to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. If all the water absorbs and the filling is sticking to the pan feel free to add a little more.
- Once sweet potatoes are soften all the way through the filling is ready. Remember to taste for seasoning. If additional salt, pepper, or lime juice are needed, adjust and mix well.
- While the filling is cooking, Shred your cheese on a box grater. I prefer a larger setting for this recipe.
Assemble and Bake Vegetarian Enchiladas
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Place corn tortillas in the microwave with a small cup of water, a tablespoon is all that is needed. Cook on high for 1-2 minutes or until they become pliable.
- Take a corn tortilla and fill it with approximately ½ cup of the black bean filling along with ¼ cup of shredded cheese. Fold over and place seam side down. Repeat this step until you run out of space in you baking dish.
- With the baking dish full, pour the Salsa Verde over filled tortillas. Try to evenly disperse the salsa. Take the remainder of the shredded cheese and spread it over the entire surface.
- Bake for 30-45 Minutes at 375 F. Rotate your pan after 20 minutes. Remove from oven when the cheese has turned a mid tone of brown.
- Allow the vegetarian enchiladas at least 5 minutes to settle before serving. Garnish with additional green onions, cilantro, a slice of lime, sour cream, or hot sauce.
- Cutting Board
- Mixing Bowl
- Microplane grater
- Plastic Wrap
- Citrus Juicer
- 1½ pounds Tomatillos
- 1 Each Poblano Pepper
- 1 Each Jalapeno Pepper
- 4 Each Green Onions
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Garlic
- ½ Cup Cilantro
- 2 Ounce Lime Juice
- ½ Tsp Lime Zest
- 1½ Tbsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Ground Cumin
On the Grill
- Set your grill to have two heat zones. One set to high and the other medium heat.
- Remove husk from tomatillos and wash along with the rest of the produce items.
- Place both types of peppers over high heat. Place the tomatillos and green onions over medium flame. Do not cut any of them, everything should still be kept whole at this point.
- Cook the green onions just until they develop some grill marks on them, then set aside till blending.
- The tomatillos should cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat or until they soften and develop some brown spots on their skin. The color should fade to a dull green compared to when they were uncooked.
- Leave the peppers on the grill until their skin becomes black and charred. Then remove and place in a mixing bowl covered with plastic wrap. This will steam the skin loose. At that point scrape off any of the black skin and remove the seeds with a knife. Do not rinse your peppers at this point. There is a demonstration video below showing this process.
Blending your Salsa Verde
- In either a blender or a food processor, add all of the ingredients and blend till smooth. The peppers, tomatillos, and green onions can still be warm if you like at this point. Remember to taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Tasting with a tortilla chip actually works best for this. This way you can tailor salt needs based on how it would likely be served.
- Cool in refrigerator before serving. Will last up to 5 days if store refrigerated.
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