One of the things that I’m constantly grateful for in life is being able to go out to eat at good restaurants. Weird start to a post for a food blog where I’m hoping you’ll stay in and make my recipes, right?
But, hear me out. I think it’s really all about balance. As much as I love cooking, I can’t do it every night and I’m sure you can’t (or won’t, or don’t want to) either. Even the simplest of home-cooked meals require a trip to the grocery store and some sort of food preparation. It just makes sense to set that aside for a night and head out for a culinary adventure.
Eating out offers so much more than just the opportunity to chow down. It allows you to kick back, to let someone else take care of you, to focus on your dining companions, and to try things you’d never imagine making at home.
And, if you’re anything like me, it also offers inspiration. Those “omg-this-is-so-good-i-wonder-what’s-in-it-how-did-they-do-it” moments that lead to experimentation in the kitchen and, when I’m lucky, additions of new delicious dishes to my recipe repertoire.
This recipe came about in just this way. It’s inspired by a wet burrito at one of my favorite local gastro pubs, Green Well.
But, my version became enchiladas because with burritos you either need A) to use super-large tortillas that you can’t really eat a whole one of without your stomach revolting against you for the next 3+ hours or B) you end up with a burrito that is half made up of the folded up tortilla ends and no filling. How to solve for this? Make enchiladas. No folded up ends, maximum filling coverage, and easier to make for a group. That’s a win-win-win, I’d say.
What really makes this recipe and the original burrito recipe it was inspired by is the roasted red pepper sauce. Oh delicious sauce! It’s tangy, smoky, and seemingly rich even though it involves no cream or butter.
You’ll probably want to find all sorts of other things to put the sauce on… such as a dip for roasted potatoes, a spread for a veggie sammie, or one of the layers in a 7-layer dip… you can tell I’ve been thinking about this, can’t you?
Disclaimer. This recipe is not one of the simplest, fastest recipes you’ll ever make. But don’t let the length of the text in the recipe instructions below deter you. It’s worth the effort and feeds eight, so a small family can count on this for at least two meals.
It would also be totally smart to make the rice and the sauce ahead of time. With those ingredients taken care of, the rest turns into a doable 45-minute recipe for a weeknight.
Finally, this recipe packs a hearty punch of 12 grams of fiber, 16 grams of protein, and a third of your daily iron needs. It’s filling, healthy, and delicious. You can’t ask for much more than that, can you?
- 2 sweet red peppers
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ of a large red onion, diced (about ½ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¾ cup brown basmati rice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ⅔ large red onion, diced
- 3 medium zucchini, diced
- 8 oz crimini or baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
- ½ cup frozen corn
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed if canned
- 1 4½-ounce can diced green chilis
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh spinach, loosely packed
- 8 whole wheat flour tortillas, soft taco sized
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
- Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Once done, remove from heat and set aside.
- Make the sauce. Turn on your broiler and coat each of the peppers in a small amount of olive oil. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet on the top rack. Broil for 5-10 minutes, checking often. Flip once the top of each pepper is nicely charred and the pepper has softened. Broil for 3-5 more minutes on the opposite side or until much of the pepper is browned or charred. Remove from oven and set aside. Once cooled, cut off the stems and remove most of the ribs and seeds. You could always grill the peppers over an indoor or outdoor grill as alternative cooking method.
- Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and red onion. Sauté until softened and then add the garlic cloves. Sauté for one more minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, spices, vegetable broth, and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender along with the roasted peppers and blend until smooth. Transfer sauce back to the pot and simmer for 10-15 more minutes while you prepare the enchiladas.
- In a large saute or fry pan, heat the teaspoon of olive oil. Add the red onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until slightly soft. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and continue cooking until all vegetables are soft and beginning to brown. Add the corn, black beans, green chilies, cooked rice, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to combine all ingredients well. Add the spinach and cook for 1-2 more minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with a small amount of sauce. Then, assemble the enchiladas. Fill each tortilla with the rice mixture, a dollop of sauce, roll, and place in the pan with the seam side down. Aim for an even amount of the rice mixture in each tortilla and to use up the entire amount within the 8 tortillas. Easier said than done, but if some end up larger than others it's no big deal. Once done, you should have 8 rolled enchiladas lined up vertically across the long length of the pan.
- Bake, covered with tin foil, for 10 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and top the enchiladas with the roasted red pepper sauce, saving one cup to top the enchiladas as they are served. Bake for another 10 minutes, uncovered. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before gently pulling each enchilada away from its neighbors and lifting out of the pan with two small spatulas.
- Serve with a spoonful or two of additional sauce, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.