Veggie Enchiladas with Quinoa and Black Beans || This hearty vegetarian main is loaded with quinoa, spinach, black beans, spices and topped with an easy homemade enchilada sauce.
Ok, first off…it’s been a while since my last post. An absence I mostly attribute to six long months of home renovations and a bout of pneumonia that pretty much knocked me out from November to Christmas. And then…it just felt hard to get back to it. Despite the lack of new recipes here, there has been plenty of cooking and baking, plenty of eating and testing, and a few standout recipes along the way.
THIS healthy veggie enchiladas recipe is one of them. I’ve made this meal a handful of times over the past couple of months and I feel good about it every time because a) it’s not only a hearty and rewarding main, but b) also a superfood-laden dish with big flavors.
In place of a meaty filling, I use quinoa (a pantry staple in this house)—cooked with sautéed onion, garlic, and spices—and add in black beans, fresh spinach, and round it out with a super easy enchilada sauce and a handful of cheddar. The quinoa filling is spooned onto whole wheat tortillas, which are tucked and rolled, topped with (as much) additional enchilada sauce and cheddar (as you like), and loaded into a casserole dish and baked. What emerges from the oven 25 minutes later is a meal the whole family will enjoy. It’s hard not to love anything that comes out of a hot oven covered in bubbling melted cheese, but I digress. My kids are down with quinoa and, in small quantities, don’t find the enchilada sauce too spicy at all.
*If you don’t like quinoa, try this swap: chop up cauliflower and sweet potato and roast until tender and browning. Toss with the spices and other filling ingredients.*
How to make these veggie enchiladas:
- Make the enchilada sauce and set aside. See below for details.
- Lightly grease a large 11 x 13-inch casserole dish with olive oil and set aside.
- Spread out six large whole wheat tortillas (10” diameter — there is some discrepancy in terms of the size of large tortillas between brands so aim for this size.)
- If possible, task kitchen helpers to prep the garnishes (wash cilantro, spoon sour cream into a serving bowl, slice some lime wedges, and make some guacamole), while you tackle the quinoa. It would also be nice if they set the table…
- To the stove. In a large stove-top pan over medium heat, add olive oil, followed by the diced onion and minced garlic. Stir around for a couple of minutes, until translucent and almost browning. Toss in your rinsed quinoa (rinsing is key — it removes the quinoa’s bitter coating), add the spices and toast in the pan for a minute. Add in the water and bring to a gentle boil. Allow the quinoa to cook, undisturbed until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender between 15-20 minutes. *If all the water is absorbed and your quinoa is still too crunchy add an additional cup of water and boil it off.*
- Next, stir in a 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, plus a cup of cheddar. Stir in the beans and spinach until combined. The spinach will reduce down as it’s incorporated.
- Spread a tablespoon of the enchilada sauce on each tortilla (right down the center and spoon the quinoa filling over top. Now, tuck in, and roll. Place in the casserole dish and bake until golden and the cheese is bubbling.
- Serve with all of your fav garnishes.
How to make homemade enchilada sauce:
The good news? All you need for a quick and easy enchilada sauce is a few pantry staples. These to be precise: tomato paste, chicken broth, and spices (chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and salt).
In a small stove-top pot, you’ll whisk together all the above ingredients and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. A few minutes of simmering and you’ll have a sauce with zing.
I like to get this done right away and set aside until needed.
MAKE IT A MEATY MAIN: Want to turn these veggie enchiladas into a meaty main? Use lean ground beef or ground turkey in place of the quinoa. Simply brown and add in the other filling ingredients (minus the water).
MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Opt for gluten-free tortillas or corn tortillas.
GARNISHES: For ALL the flavor, load on as much fresh cilantro, sour cream, green onions, guacamole, and extra enchilada sauce as you want.
SUBSTITUTIONS: This recipe lends itself to whatever you have on-hand. Swap black beans for kidney beans or corn or lima beans. Use chopped kale in place of spinach…you see where this is going.
DOUBLE IT: Double the enchilada sauce and freeze half to make this meal even quicker the next time an enchilada craving strikes.
If you give this one a try let me know in the comments below! I love to hear from you.
Looking for more vegetarian meals? Try these meatless mains:
- SPINACH PESTO PASTA WITH WALNUTS
- LEMONY RIGATONI PASTA WITH KALE AND SHALLOTS
- OVEN-BAKED ROASTED POTATO FRITTATA RECIPE
- MUSHROOM PIZZA RECIPE WITH GARLIC AND SAGE
Veggie Enchiladas with Quinoa and Black Beans
- 6 large flour tortillas (whole wheat, white or gluten free) 10'' diameter
- 1 cup dry uncooked quinoa (rinsed) I use tri-color, but white or red quinoa works too
- 4 cups water
- olive oil as needed
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 can of black beans (540ml) drained and rinsed – sub: kidney beans
- 4 cups washed baby spinach sub: chopped fresh kale
- 2 cups cheddar cheese 1 cup add to the quinoa filling, 1 cup reserved to top the filled enchiladas
- 1/4 cup enchilada sauce plus more for topping (see below)
Easy Enchilada Sauce
- 1 small can tomato paste (156 ml)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- sour cream
- green onions finely chopped
- fresh cilantro
- enchilada sauce
Easy Enchilada Sauce
- In a small stovetop pot whisk together tomato paste, chicken broth, spices and salt. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and then let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Make the enchilada sauce and set aside.
- PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large 11 x 13-inch casserole dish with olive oil and set aside. Spread out six large whole wheat tortillas (10'' diameter — there is some discrepancy in terms of the size of large tortillas between brands). Prep the garnishes (wash cilantro, chop green onions, spoon sour cream into a serving bowl, slice lime wedges, and make guacamole).
- THE FILLING: In a large stove-top pan over medium heat, add olive oil, followed by the diced onion and minced garlic. Stir around for a couple of minutes, until translucent and almost browning. Toss in your rinsed quinoa (rinsing is key — it removes the quinoa's bitter coating), add the spices and toast in the pan for a minute or so. Add in the water and bring to a gentle boil. Allow the quinoa to cook, undisturbed until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender between 15-20 minutes. *If all the water is absorbed and your quinoa is still too crunchy add an additional cup of water and boil it off.*
- Next, stir a 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce into the quinoa, plus a cup of cheddar. Stir in the black beans and spinach until combined. *The spinach will reduce down as it's incorporated.*
- Spread a tablespoon of the enchilada sauce on each tortilla (right down the center and spoon the quinoa filling over top. Now, tuck in, and roll. Place in the casserole dish, drizzling additional enchilada sauce over top and sprinkle the remaining cheddar. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve with all of your fav garnishes.