I try to eat as much organic food as I possibly can, but a 100% organic diet is just not feasible right now, cost-wise. It’s pretty sad, considering both Tom and I work full time and are not the sort of people who buy designer cuff links or go on swanky vacations. Living in a high cost of living area combined with somewhat exorbitant prices for organics means sacrificing here and there. In an effort to bring our grocery bill down a bit and make room for being able to buy organic dairy and meat products we do eat (like the grass-fed steaks we enjoyed this weekend), I’m trying hard to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our rotation. I finally convinced Tom (who’s been complaining about our grocery bill as of late) to do a vegetarian meal each week. (Just don’t tell him that the last two weeks, it’s been 2 vegetarian meals in a week…he hasn’t noticed, and I plan to stick with it. Shhh.)
Beans are an easy way to do vegetarian. They’re healthy, have protein, and they’re full of fiber so they fill you up. I planned on making pretty simple black bean enchiladas, but I had half a bag of baby spinach that needed using up, and by some miracle, red bell peppers were on sale, so I had one of those, too. The filling for these turned out delicious. Really flavorful and believe me, you will not miss the meat. Beans have a meaty texture as it is, but mashing some of them up, a method I use for our normal black bean side, fools you even more. Not that you really need to be fooled, because black beans are awesome and so are spinach and red peppers.
I was going to make a standard enchilada sauce for these, but then I remembered how much I loved the chipotle and tomatillo salsa from Rick Bayless. Also, it was crucial that a chili pepper or two be used in some way, shape, or form in the sauce, considering I didn’t use any in the filling. I ended up having an extra tomatillo (read: I completely missed it when I was making the chipotle-tomatillo salsa) so I just diced it up and threw it on top. It was a nice added texture and tang.
These were fabulous. I loved them for dinner and I might have even loved them more for lunch. And, come to think of it, they made a pretty great breakfast one morning, too. :)
I promise that some day I will learn to take pictures of things like enchiladas and lasagna, but today is not that day.
Chipotle and Tomatillo-Sauced Black Bean Enchiladas
2 tsp. canola oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 bay leaf
3 oz. baby spinach
2 oz. cream cheese, softened (lowfat is fine)
10-11 corn tortillas
2 batches* Chipotle salsa with pan-roasted tomatillos or enchilada sauce of your choice
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack, Mexican blend, or any other cheese of your preference
Preheat the oven to 350.
Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until tender. Add the beans, broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. bring to a boil and then reduce to low heat, simmering for about 10 minutes and stirring occasionally.
Stir in the spinach and let it wilt. With the back of a wooden spoon, mash some of the black beans to thicken the mixture. Off the heat, stir in the cream cheese. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Meanwhile, spray/brush the tortillas with oil, stack in twos, and place in the oven until soft and pliable, about 3-4 minutes.
Spoon a little bit of the salsa over the bottom of a baking dish.
Make the enchiladas by spooning some of the bean mixture into each warmed tortilla, rolling them up, and placing them seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Top the enchiladas with the salsa, and then with the Monterey Jack cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
*I made one batch of sauce, which was not quite saucy enough. I think 1.5 would be enough, but why not just make 2 and have some extra for chips? :)