Veggie enchiladas

Delicious veggie enchiladas smothered in homemade enchilada sauce and cheese

I adore Mexican food but there are not so many Mexican recipes on this website so I decided to put that right…

One of the reasons I make less Mexican dishes now than I used to is that its actually quite difficult to get hold of the ingredients needed here in rural Italy where we live, especially the ready made sauces I’ve tended to rely upon in the past. But then I discovered a brilliantly simple recipe for homemade enchilada sauce on the Cookie and Kate blogsite and it’s a game changer! I’ve included the recipe below and also adapted Kate’s veggie enchiladas using brown lentils rather than black beans, which are also difficult to get hold of here. I have to say this is one of the most delicious things I’ve cooked and eaten in a long time – and, as you know, I’ve cooked and eaten a lot during lockdown! So if you love Mexican food you really should give this a try. And if you think veggie Mexican food won’t do it for you, think again! There is something about this (unusual) combination of vegetables and pulses which gives the enchiladas a great texture and taste. My meat-eating husband asked for seconds…

Ingredients

For the enchiladas

2 cups of enchilada sauce (recipe below)
1 tbsp olive oil
A red onion
A red pepper
A head of broccoli
A good bunch of spinach (I used about 8oz frozen)
A handful of chestnut mushrooms
A can of brown lentils (or black beans if you can get them)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinammon
A chunk of cheese
8 flour tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste
Coriander or parsley to garnish
Ingredients for the veggie enchilada filling – you can use black beans instead of brown lentils if you prefer

For the sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp chilli powder - add more or less depending on how hot you like it!
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups vegetable stock
A splash of cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for quick and easy enchilada sauce

Method

Start by making the sauce. Measure out all the dry ingredients and then heat the oil in a pan, Add the flour and spices and cook until fragrant and slightly deeper in colour – around 2 minutes at most. Then add the tomato paste before pouring in the vegetable stock stirring all the time, ideally with a small whisk to prevent lumps forming (imagine you are making a bechamel sauce). Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for around 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, add a splash of vinegar and season to taste.

Next up, prepare your filling. Roughly chop the onions, broccoli, mushroom and pepper. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onions for around 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the remaining vegetables and the spinach (I used frozen, you can use fresh), reduce the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for about 8 to 9 minutes until the broccoli turns a brighter green. Add the cumin and cinnamon and cook for a further minute before removing from the heat. Add the lentils and around 2 tbsp of the enchilada sauce, mixing well.

Now its time to assemble everything…

Start by pouring some of the enchilada sauce over the base of an ovenproof dish. Then put some of the filling mix inside a tortilla before rolling it up and turn over the ends. Place the filled tortillas in the dish, finishing with the remaining sauce and a good handful of grated cheese. You can use chopped coriander or parsley to garnish.

Bake uncovered in a hot oven for around 20 minutes until the dish is bubbling and the cheese is golden. Take care – this dish is hot, in all senses of the word!

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