Mexican food is easy. I hate to say it, considering I wait tables at a Mexican restaurant on Friday nights and like to pretend we’re gourmet and shit, but it is. Or at least it can be. Soft tacos are my go-to when I don’t feel like making anything else. Mexican lasagna has always been a pot-luck crowd pleaser of mine (back before there was such a thing as Pinterest and I didn’t know I could cook). And beans and rice? How can you mess that up? Plus, I don’t know too many folks who would say no to cheese and sour cream.
So when I realized I’d be throwing a dinner party two nights in a row, I decided that I could only handle being (or, er… pretend to be) a contestant on Top Chef for one night (see No-Bake Zucchini Lasagna). I had my newlywed friends, Kate and Greg, who also happen to be my new neighbors, over for dinner last night and decided to take the easy but delicious way out with vegetable enchiladas, adapted from Annie’s Eats. I’ve been following Annie’s Eats for a while now, and I gotta hand it to Annie. She’s never let me down. I mean, I’ve only ever actually made two of her recipes, but everything she posts looks good, and that’s gotta count for something.
I made the enchilada sauce on Sunday and chopped all of my vegetables for the enchiladas on Monday night (after my first dinner party guests left). Good thing too because there was an accident on my way home from work, leaving me with less time to get ready than I had planned! There’s nothing like a traffic jam to really screw things up.
Anyway, the enchiladas were a hit and I really had a great time with my neighbs. It was a beautiful night and the sunlight in my apartment was just right. We shared great wine, lots of laughter, gossip about the neighborhood, book club discussions, plans for eating funnel cake at the state fair, and Kate even managed to fix my smoke detector… that Greg broke while they were over… right after he told me he could be my handyman. Thanks, but no thanks.
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
- ½-¾ cup water
- Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar and cook just until fragrant. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Again, I made this two days in advance and stored in the fridge until I was ready to use. You can also freeze if you want to save for longer.
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (I used half of a large onion)
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine (I used parts of a red and a yellow pepper)
- 1 (8 oz.) zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded and chopped (I used half of a green zucchini and half of an orange one, both of which I sliced thin with the mandolin)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (I only had one, so that’s all I used. I added a dash of garlic powder to make up for it)
- 1½ cups enchilada sauce (above), divided
- 1 cup finely crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese (I used feta)
- ½ cup minced fresh cilantro (again, didn’t measure this)
- ¼ cup drained chopped canned green chiles (didn’t have these, so didn’t use)
- Salt and pepper (I think I forgot the salt and pepper…)
Preheat the oven to 450˚ F. Put black beans in a bowl and mash with a fork until almost completely smooth. Set aside. Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until slightly softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook just until tender, 3-5 minutes more. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the veggie mixture to a large bowl and stir in ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, the queso fresco, cilantro and green chiles (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble, briefly microwave the tortillas until warm and pliable, about 30 seconds. (Mine were already pliable, so I skipped this step). Place about 1/3 cup of the filling mixture (or however much you think is good, I didn’t measure) down the center of a tortilla. Tightly roll up the tortilla and place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the enchiladas, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar over the top of the sauce. Cover with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, 3-5 minutes more. Sprinkle with additional queso fresco or feta and cilantro for garnish, if desired. Serve warm with lime wedges and Fat Tire.
Note: I had a lot of the filling leftover. I might just eat it as is, with some of the leftover enchilada sauce. Or perhaps I’ll wrap in flour tortillas. Or serve over rice. Or with quinoa. Or over a bed of spinach or arugula. Or make a taco salad. Or put over chips to make nachos… The possibilities are endless!