Black Bean Enchiladas

black bean enchiladas

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m sharing one of my Dad’s favorite dishes — enchiladas!  My Dad is a great cook and has a number of signature dishes.  Enchiladas were one of his specialities when I was growing up and will forever remind me of him when I make them.

I love Mexican inspired cooking because of the range of flavors and the many options for vegetarians.  These enchiladas are a perfect example — they are totally meat free and actually don’t have much cheese, but they are incredibly satisfying to a wide range of eaters (including kids!).

The filling is essentially jazzy black beans and rice.  Begin your saute with a diced red and/or orange bell pepper, a chopped red onion, and 5 cloves of minced garlic.  Season with a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, a 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.  When the peppers and onions are nearly finished add 2 cups of cooked brown rice and 2 cups of cooked black beans (a can of beans works well if you haven’t taken the time to soak and slow-cook dried beans).  Mix everything together and cook for a few minutes to fully integrate the flavors.

black bean enchilada filling, black beans, rice, peppers, onions

When your filling is finished, spoon it into tortilla wraps and arrange them in a baking dish.  Try to keep the wraps tight together in the baking dish to prevent them from opening up while baking.  Any tortilla wraps will work for this recipe, but I recommend whole wheat spinach wraps.  The wraps end up absorbing the flavor from the filling and sauce and even the pickiest eaters won’t be able to tell you’ve used whole wheat.  It’s a no-brainer opportunity to choose the healthier option.

black bean enchiladas, tortillas
When I have time I make my own enchilada sauce (essentially tomato sauce with chilli’s in adobo and other spices added), but in a pinch I use a jar of medium salsa and it works amazingly well.  Actually, it’s one of my favorite things about this recipe — it is quick, easy, and can usually be made with things I have around the house.

After you’ve arranged your enchiladas in the baking dish, cover them completely with the salsa and sprinkle grated cheddar cheese (about half a cup) over the top.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and started to brown on top.  Let the enchiladas cool and set for 10 minutes before digging in.

Consider this your basic enchilada recipe and feel free to experiment based on what you have available.  Enchiladas are very forgiving about their fillings, so get creative!  Some of my other favorites are spinach, potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and corn.  Similar to my eggplant lasagna, enchiladas are as healthy as the ingredients you use to make them.  What are some of your favorite combos?

 

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