Veggie Enchiladas

6 09 2009


Robert has an extreme and undying love for Mexican food. So do I, of course. Our neighborhood is packed with cheapie Mexican joints that feature some pretty excellent food. But even though the restaurants are cheap, we’re on a stiff budget, so we rarely eat out. When he’s craving Mexican food, which is, like, every night, I often find him in the kitchen making what he lovingly terms “cheese slammers,” his fancy name for quesadillas.

But I’m worried about him eating all those cheese slammers. I mean, it seems like it would only take a few of them to gob up the ole arteries, right? So the other night I set out to make something that would satisfy our Mexican food craving, but wouldn’t land us in the hospital for a bypass. Thus, veggie enchiladas were born.

Of course, veggie enchiladas are nothing new. But these were packed with vegetables from our produce box, and had just a smidgen of cheese on them. When I asked him if he felt cheese-deprived whilst eating them, he seemed surprised to find out that I had been so stingy with the queso. That’s a good sign, I think, especially coming from a man who experiences severe cheese anxiety when our stocks are running low.

Amazingly, these veggies were just as delicious as a giant pile of cheese would have been.

Amazingly, these veggies were just as delicious as a giant pile of cheese would have been.

This is another non-recipe. I mean, it’s one of those that begs for improvisation. You can use it to clean out your fridge, or your can make it fancy-like. Put your favorite veggies in them, cooked with your favorite method.

Veggie Enchiladas

12 corn tortillas

1 can enchilada sauce (I used Hatch medium)

1 ear of corn

6 roasted green chiles

1 zucchini

1/2 onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

1 sweet potato

1/2 cup cheese of some sort (I think I used cheddar)

First, prepare all of your veggies. Slice and dice anything that needs slicing or dicing, and cook anything that you want mellowed out. I grilled the zucchini and the sweet potato, after marinading them in a little chile powder and lime juice. Then I sliced them into thin strips. I didn’t cook the onion or jalapeno, though, and my green chiles were already roasted (I cut those into long thin strips, too.). Oh, I also grilled the ear of corn and then cut it off the cob. Basically, you need to prep EVERYTHING that’s going in the enchiladas. Have it all ready, and in little bowls if you want to pretend you are on the Food Network.

Colorful prepped veggies

Colorful prepped veggies

Now, preheat the oven to 350. Pour a little of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 13 X 9 pan (actually, I used two smaller pans, just for kicks).

Heat up a frying pan, but do not add any oil or anything. Heat tortillas for a few minutes, one at a time, on the pan. This makes them more pliable. You will be able to stuff them and roll them without them breaking apart. Heat the first tortilla, then stuff it with a few tablespoons of your veggies, then roll it up and put in the pan, seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Oh, nestle them together, but don’t totally pack them in the pan. My best enchilada results are when I make about 10 to 12 per pan. Any more than that and everything sort of turns into a big mushy gob.


Once you’ve got the pan filled, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Then top with a bit of cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake until bubbly and until the cheese is melted (maybe 20 minutes or so). Remove the foil and cook for about 5 minutes more.

Serve with a blob of plain yogurt and/or some avocado, and revel in the fact that these puppies will not send you straight to the ER with severe angina.





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