Vegetable loaded enchiladas that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and healthy enough any day of Mayo.
Today marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. What does that have to do with enchiladas? Absolutely nothing.
Then again, if we use six degrees of separation-style logic:
- During most of Shakespeare’s life, Elizabeth I was the Queen of England.
- Elizabeth I defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588.
- The Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire (part of modern day Mexico) between 1519 and 1521.
- Spanish became the most widely spoken language in Mexico as a result of the Spain’s conquest of the region.
- ‘Enchilada’ comes from the feminine past participle of ‘enchilar’, meaning ‘season with chili’ in Latin American Spanish.
- Ah-ha! We’re there already. Enchiladas all round.
Clearly it’s a good day to watch Macbeth while eating enchiladas.
On a non-Shakespearian note, we’re less than two weeks away from Cinco de Mayo – a day to celebrate all things Mexican!
Enchiladas are one of my favorite Mexican foods. Mostly because I’m a giant fan of food that’s smothered in sauce and baked. Saucy lasagna, cannelloni, enchiladas, baked ziti or penne: I love them all. Plus, these sorts of dishes tend to be easy to make and reheat well.
The only downside to enchiladas is that they aren’t a particularly pretty dish. But hey, you can’t have everything.
These enchiladas are filled with chickpeas, zucchini, mushrooms and roasted bell peppers. The sauce is made from chipotle chilies and tomatoes – which I know isn’t traditional, but I so love my tomato-based sauces (I’m half-Italian, after all).
The sauce can be made ahead of time and even frozen. But just to warn you, frozen sauce takes a long time to defrost!
I used previously frozen sauce and frozen tortillas (which don’t take so long to defrost), so this was a real ‘clean out the freezer’ dish for me. Well, it would’ve been if I didn’t also have a million banana muffins, peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip waffles stashed in the freezer.
Since not a huge fan of cumin, I made these enchiladas without any ground cumin. But if you can’t imagine cumin-less enchiladas, add about ½ teaspoon to the filling. Same goes with cheese: as you can see, I prefer my enchiladas cheeseless (weird, I know), but don’t let me stop you from sprinkling over plenty of shredded cheese before baking these amigos.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the toppings! Sliced avocado or guacamole is absolutely necessary – but I’m sure that one goes without saying.
Fun Fact: Americans consume approximately 81 million avocados on Cinco de Mayo each year. And for good reason!
- 1 tablespoon (15mL) olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups (360g) tomato passata (tomato puree)
- ¾ (180mL) cups water
- 1 chipotle pepper in abodo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon abodo sauce
- 2 large red bell peppers (capsicums)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup (60g) sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup (130g) diced zucchini
- 1 cup (160g) cooked chickpeas
- 6 small white corn tortillas
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped cilantro (coriander)
- For the sauce: In a large (or medium-sized) saucepan, warm the olive oil over low heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the shallots are tender and translucent. Add the garlic, and sauté for another minute.
- Add the tomato passata, water, chipotle pepper and abodo sauce, and season with salt.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer. With the saucepan lid partly on (so it’s tilted), simmer the sauce for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the stove heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. If the sauce reduces too much or too quickly, stir in a little more water.
- For the roasted bell peppers: Preheat the broiler (oven grill). Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil, and grease the foil with cooking oil spray.
- Slice the bell peppers in half, and remove the stems and seeds. Place them skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Broil (grill) for 10 – 20 minutes, or until the skins have blackened.
- Transfer the blackened peppers to a plastic freezer bag, seal the bag closed, and set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes. Once cool, remove the skins and chop the peppers into small pieces (scissors are easiest for this). Set aside.
- For the enchiladas: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large (or medium-sized) skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Alternatively, grease the skillet with cooking oil spray. Add the sliced mushrooms, and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their juices.
- Add the diced zucchini, chickpeas and roasted bell peppers (with any excess liquid). Season with salt, and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the zucchini is just tender. Turn off the heat, and then stir in ¼ cup (60mL) of the sauce.
- Lightly grease a large rectangular baking pan or casserole dish (at least 11-inch/28cm long). Cover the base of the pan in a thin layer of sauce.
- Wrap the tortillas in paper towel (or a kitchen towel) and microwave for 30 seconds, or until warm.
- Place the first tortilla on a large plate, spoon some of the chickpea filling down the middle, and fold over the sides to wrap the tortilla. Place it seam side down in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
- Spread the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas, leaving the very ends bare.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20 – 30 minutes, or until warmed through. Serve with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro.
I used 6-inch white corn tortillas. Flour tortillas would also be fine.
Tomato passata is just pureed Italian tomatoes (plus a little salt). You can use canned peeled or diced tomatoes instead. Just puree them using a blender or food processor until smooth, and then measure out 1 ½ cups.
The sauce and roasted bell peppers can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.