Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Enchiladas Verdes (and a casserole version!)

A few weeks ago, six other families and mine planned to get together for a pot luck at my friend Lana’s house.  One of the families keeps kosher, so we decided to go with a fish and dairy meal.  I thought these vegetable enchiladas verdes would be a great vegetarian option.  At least it seemed like a good idea at the time, but that’s because I wasn’t remembering Mr. Picky’s haircut after school that day and his basketball practice from 4-5.  I think I was just craving enchiladas on the day I volunteered and not thinking it was a bonehead move to offer to make them for 35 people.

Beautiful veggies ready to roast

Homemade enchiladas are one of my absolute favorite things to eat.  But I’m not talking about the overly cheesy and soggy kind.  I love a good (GMO-free) corn tortilla wrapped around either some poached chicken or vegetables and beans and then smothered in fresh tomatillo sauce.  You can even hold the cheese.  We ski a few times each year in Deer Valley, Utah, which is known not only for its great ski runs, but for pretty good lunch on the mountain.  Once in a blue moon they serve the most divine roasted vegetable enchiladas, which is how this recipe was inspired.  I actually prefer vegetable enchiladas over ones with chicken and my husband says he doesn’t miss the meat at all.

Roasted Vegetables

I also prefer the “green” version over the red and I love making tomatillo sauce from scratch.  Have you ever seen one of these cuties?  One of my students thought the supermarket prewraps each tomatillo in these paper husks, but in fact, they grow that way.  Tomatillos are related to tomatoes, but they have a tangy, puckery, sourness that Mr. Picky doesn’t care for, so his enchiladas are made with no sauce for now.  You know what I say?  More for me!  If you eat dairy, that tanginess does go particularly well with cheese or sour cream.  Just saying.  I tried several methods for making tomatillo sauce and broiling them on a sheet pan was not only easy, but that little bit of char on the tomatillos added tons of flavor to the sauce.  You can also boil them, but boiling vegetables, especially ones high in Vitamin C, isn’t usually my first choice.

Tomatillos

I’m sure you can see from my pictures that dicing up 3 sheet pans of vegetables was a bit of work.  When I do this for my family, it’s no big deal.  But besides the vegetable prep, there is also the task of rolling each tortilla around a small amount of filling and nestling them side by side in a baking dish.  So the first pan started that way until I started cursing myself for not having volunteered a lasagne, the perfect potluck dish to feed a crowd.  LIGHTBULB!  Enchilada Lasagne!  At the rate I was going, there was no way we would make it to dinner even fashionably late.  So I took 6 corn tortillas and made one layer on the bottom of the baking dish, dumped half of the remaining filling on top plus a few sprinkles of cheese, put down another 6 tortillas in one layer and covered the whole thing with tomatillo sauce and a bit more cheese.  2 minutes. Done.  Am I a genius or an idiot?  Toss-up.

Tomatillos Ready to be Broiled

Charred tomatillos and jalapenos

There are so many delicious vegetables you can use, or use up if you have a bunch of random odds and ends in the fridge.  This time around I used butternut squash, sweet bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus and red onions, but I have also added sweet potatoes, zucchini, and carrots.  I’ve never used sauteed or blanched greens, such as spinach or Swiss chard, but I think I will the next time around.  I was going to post this recipe next month, but it occurred to me that you all may be entertaining for the Super Bowl this weekend and my new discovery of the Enchilada Casserole would be the perfect thing to serve a crowd.  Here are a few ways to make this even easier for you:

  • Use pre-made enchilada sauce — but only if you have access to a good one or if you can’t find fresh tomatillos.
  • Make your own sauce, but do it the day before.
  • Dice and roast your vegetables the day before or first thing in the morning.  Keep them in a covered container in the fridge until you are ready to assemble your enchiladas.
  • Make the casserole version.  It will take sooooo much less time, especially if you are making more than one pan of it.
  • Assemble it in the morning.  That will give you time to clean up the family room and whip up some guacamole before your guests arrive.
  • Freeze it.  Thaw it out and bake for a delicious dinner another busy night.
Tomatillo sauce ingredients in the blender
About to roll

Are you planning on having people over for Super Bowl Sunday?  Other great options can be Vegetable Chili served over brown rice, quinoa or millet; a Taco bar; a Fajita bar; a Baked Potato bar; and of course, Guacamole and Baked Tortilla Chips.  As you can see, I am happy to cook before the opening kick-off, but then everybody needs to fend for themselves so I can concentrate on the game.  Go Giants!  By special request, my famous cornbread recipe coming up on Friday!

 enchilada casserole | pamela salzman


5.0 from 3 reviews
Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Enchiladas Verdes (and a casserole version!)
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 5-6 cups mixed vegetables, such as butternut squash, zucchini, sweet bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms, apsaragus, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • Sauce:
  • 20 medium tomatillos, about 2 ¼ pounds, husked and washed
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed (will make the sauce a 5 on a heat scale of 1 to 10)
  • ½ small onion, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 10 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • grated cheese, (such as Monterey Jack) if desired or crumbled queso fresco
Instructions
  1. To roast vegetables: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, but not over-cooked, about 25 minutes. Add the black beans to the vegetables and mix together or put everything into a bowl to combine.
  2. Place all the tomatillos and the jalapeno on a baking sheet. No need to line with parchment paper. Change the oven to broil. Place under the broiler for about 10 minutes, turning over after 5 minutes until tomatillos are lighter in color and contain a few brown spots. Change oven to 350 degrees if baking the enchiladas right away.
  3. Transfer the tomatillos to a blender or a food processor with the jalapeno, 3 garlic cloves, ½ onion, cilantro and sea salt. Process until smooth. You should have 4 cups of sauce.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and warm the olive oil. Add the tomatillo sauce and simmer 5 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, warm the tortillas on a griddle or skillet on both sides until softened.
  6. Pour 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish. Place about ⅓ cup of vegetables down the middle of a tortilla and roll tightly. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with each tortilla. Cover all the rolled tortillas with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheese, if desired. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, about 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.
  7. Casserole version: Pour 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Place 6 corn tortillas in one layer on top of the sauce. Spread all of the vegetables and beans on top of the tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Arrange another 6 corn tortillas over of the vegetable mixture in one layer. Pour enough sauce to cover well and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted.
Notes
Leftovers? Chop up the enchiladas and add to a pot of chicken broth. Heat and serve. Enchilada Soup!

 

 

 

 

Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Enchiladas Verdes | Pamela Salzman

 

Hummus 4 ways

I was talking with my summer intern Hannah about how much I love hummus and how easy it is to make.  I think I have been making my own hummus since before she was born, but the last couple years I have felt hummus boredom so I’ve had a little fun experimenting with different flavors.   Hannah was intrigued since she thought hummus was like puff pastry, which NO ONE makes from scratch.  Well, I knew we had a cooking lesson on our hands!

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from cooked chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) pureed with tahini (a paste made from ground up sesame seeds), garlic, lemon juice, and salt.  I add a little liquid from the pot (or can) of cooked chickpeas and some people add olive oil.  Sure you can add cumin or hot sauce, but essentially that’s it.  I maintain that hummus tastes so much better when I make my beans from scratch, although really you can use canned and it will still be fabulous.  But what kind of a cooking lesson would this be if we used chickpeas from a can?  So I started soaking a ton of dried chickpeas that day, cooked them for 90 minutes the next morning and we began our hummus factory.

I had an idea to make several of my favorite flavors just for kicks, so we also roasted a couple beets, a red bell pepper and cut some cilantro from the garden.  After we made our first batch, which was the traditional kind, Hannah looked at me in disbelief.  “That’s it?! ”  Yep.  That’s it.  “If people knew how easy it was to make hummus, they would never buy it!”  I’m so glad that thought was put out there to the universe.

After that, we made hot pink hummus with a roasted beet, which I agreed would be super cute for a (girl) baby shower or a bachelorette party (Hannah’s idea.)  Cilantro hummus turned out a lovely pale green with a fresh herby flavor.  Lastly, my favorite was roasted red pepper hummus to which I added a little smoked paprika and a dash of cayenne.  We tried all the flavors with raw carrot, cucumber and sweet bell pepper slices, as well as some gluten-free chips.  But I also love the red pepper version on veggie burgers and the cilantro one on a turkey sandwich.  The beet hummus is for pure shock value since despite adding a roasted beet, it just picks up a subtle sweetness and really tastes a lot like the traditional.  You can never have enough healthful dips for summer entertaining.  With July 4th around the corner, there’s no better time to add some pizzaz to an old classic!

Traditional Hummus
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, if canned, drained and rinsed, liquid reserved*
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup sesame tahini
  • 4-5 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 Tablespoons chickpea liquid
  • 1 teaspoon plus a pinch sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the hummus is smooth. Taste for seasoning and texture.
  2. I like it very smooth and creamy, so I let the food processor run for a few minutes. I also prefer to eat it immediately at room temperature, but if you will be refrigerating it, you can add a little extra chickpea liquid since the hummus will thicken after it has been refrigerated.

 

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Variations:

Beet Hummus: add 1 large roasted and peeled red beet to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  Blend until thoroughly combined.

 

Cilantro Hummus: add 24 sprigs of cilantro and a few dashes of cayenne pepper to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  You can use either lemon juice or lime juice.  Blend until thoroughly combined.  Feel free to use more cilantro.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: add 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika, a few dashes cayenne pepper and 1 large roasted, peeled and seeded sweet red bell pepper to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  Reduce lemon juice to 1 Tablespoon and sea salt to ¾ teaspoon.  Blend until thoroughly combined.  Taste to adjust seasonings.

Avocado, jicama and mango salad recipe

Mexico is close to Southern California, right?  They share a border for goodness sake.  Dare I say Mexico is almost local?  Well, this is convincing I do with myself during April and May.  Why? Because it’s mango season in Mexico and I am MAD for mangos.  Yes, we grow mangos in Southern California, but the season is waaaaaay too short for me and the kids. So I’m basically a hypocrite for a few months to satisfy my addiction to a luscious, fleshy, sweet fruit while the other 10 months of the year I turn my nose at melons in the winter or produce from South America.  I’m downright indignant when I see Chilean plums in February.  Can’t you people wait a few measly months until they’re in season here??

Listen, I’m no Barbara Kingsolver and in as much as I admire her quest to go truly local for a year, except for coffee, I buy plenty of goods that are outside of the 100 mile-radius from where I live.  Those foods include flours, grains and fish from Alaska.  But there are many reasons I believe in buying local produce.  In general:

  • local is fresher, which very often means better taste and higher nutritional value.
  • I like supporting local farms and local businesses.
  • local usually equates to eating seasonally which is a more healthful and more balanced way to stay in harmony with nature.  We are given exactly what we need to eat at just the right time of the year.  For example, melons and cucumbers are cooling foods and are very appropriate to eat during the summer months.  In contrast, pumpkin and butternut squash have a warming thermal nature and help us out in the winter.
  • buying local can have a lighter environmental impact versus importing produce.

But at the moment, I am buying 10 mangos every week for snacks, mixing them with yogurt, blending them in smoothies and using them in this scrumptious salad.  You know how I feel about a good dressing and this one is a favorite.  I actually like it just as much as a dip for crudite.  There is a bit of cilantro in the dressing, but I have had many cilantro-haters come over to the other side after trying this dressing.  Choose a crisp lettuce such as a romaine or butter lettuce and feel free to come up with your own creation.  Other possibilities include tomatoes, cucumbers, cooked pinto beans, grilled shrimp or chicken, toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds).

While I’m coming clean about the mangos, did I mention the jicama is from Mexico, too?

Avocado, Jicama and Mango Salad
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ cup cilantro leaves and tender stems (lightly packed)
  • ½ cup unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced, about 8 cups
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ medium jicama, julienned or cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Crispy tortilla strips (optional) see below
Instructions
  1. In a blender combine lime and lemon juices, honey, salt, pepper and cumin. Add the cilantro and blend. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and blend until emulsified.
  2. Arrange the lettuce on a large platter and drizzle enough dressing to coat lightly. Place avocado in a bowl and gently toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Arrange avocado on top of lettuce. Repeat with the jicama and mango. Sprinkle with crispy tortilla strips.

CRISPY TORTILLA STRIPS

 

1 Tablespoon unrefined olive oil

3 6-inch corn tortillas

Fine grain sea salt or additive-free kosher salt

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush the oil over both sides of the tortillas.  Stack the tortillas on top of each other and cut the stack in half.  Then cut the halves crosswise into 1/8-inch thick strips.

Spread the tortillas on a heavy, rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment if desired) and arrange them evenly.  Sprinkle with salt and bake, tossing occasionally for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and cool.