04 February 2011

Recipes: Vegetarian Enchiladas and Perfect Spanish Rice

My boyfriend loves cheese enchiladas, but I hate the pure fat content of a dinner that is basically corn and cheese, plus a little red enchilada sauce. I wanted to beef up the veggie content and decrease the fat without having enchiladas that tasted bland or boring. I also wanted to create a meal that was as filling as it was delicious so that one day's dinner could feed two tonight and four tomorrow night, when we'll have company. So I whipped up a batch of Spanish rice to accompany the enchiladas. Yum! The dinner was delicious and disappeared quickly from our plates. Try it, and let me know what you think!

You'll need:
For the enchiladas --
1 bottle Trader Joe's enchilada sauce (you could substitute your own choice, but I loved TJ's brand)
1 bag shredded cheese (about 2 cups) - use cheddar or a Mexican blend
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black olives, drained and cut in half
1 large white onion, diced - reserve 1/4 cup for the rice recipe (follows)
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1 8 oz. package tempeh, crumbled
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 cup salsa
1 cup water
3 cloves garlic, or 1 t. Trader Joe's crushed garlic
2 T. olive oil
1 egg
corn tortillas, about 2 dozen
For the rice --
1 cup white rice
1 cup salsa
1 pinch saffron, about 6 strands (optional, but gives a great color!)
2 cups vegetable broth
1. T olive oil
1/4 cup diced white onion (reserved from above)
3 cloves garlic, or 1 t. Trader Joe's crushed garlic
You'll also need:
wooden spoon, for stirring veggies as they cook
large frying pan
small saucepan, with cover
large bowl
11 x 13 glass baking dish
aluminum foil to cover
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In frying pan, heat 2 T. oil and saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and diced peppers. Cook for a few more minutes until soft. Add the crumbled tempeh and cumin, stir well and cook until warmed through. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
In large bowl, mix beans, olives, tempeh mixture, 1 large handful of shredded cheese, egg, and ricotta cheese.
To assemble enchiladas:
Set up an assembly line like this:
1st - wipe out frying pan and heat over medium high flame.
2nd - large clean plate, stack of tortillas
3rd - bowl of enchilada filling
4th - small bowl with rest of cheese, less 1/2 cup reserved for topping
5th - glass baking dish
In the baking dish, add salsa, 1/2 cup of water, and about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce. Mix this around a little, but it doesn't have to be perfectly stirred up. You just wanted a little liquid all around the bottom.
Heat corn tortillas, one at a time, for 5 seconds on each side. Add to plate (you can use tongs, but i just used my hands to grab 'em quickly from pan.). Add small amount of filling, about 1/4 cup, and a small sprinkle of cheese, about 1 T. Roll gently and place seam side down in the dish.
Repeat until the dish is full. You might have extra filling (I did). Save this for a future batch of enchiladas, just make sure to cook it within a few days because of the egg. Once cooked, the enchiladas will keep well in your fridge for another week. Freeze them for quick dinners later!
Pour about half a bottle of sauce over the enchiladas, doing your best to cover them well. Use the back of a spoon to spread the sauce around a bit. Add about 3/4 cup of water to the bottle of sauce, shake well, and pour the liquid all over the enchiladas. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.
For the rice, heat saucepan over medium high heat and cook onion in oil until soft. Add garlic and rice, stir and cook for about 2 minutes, until the rice is lightly browned. Add the broth, salsa, and saffron to the pot. Cover and bring to a bowl. When the rice is boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered until ready to eat.
This recipe will easily feed six to eight hungry adults. If you have leftovers, pack small servings for office lunches during the week and make your co-workers jealous. Enjoy!


  1. Thanks! My enchiladas always get rave reviews. Now that I'm gluten-free, I'm going to make my own enchilada sauce for the next batch. I'll post the recipe, once I've perfected it. :)


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