Hi all, hope you had a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday. You might be getting to a slow start this Monday and looking for a distraction, I am here to save the day! This weekend I made my very own unique smothered enchiladas, vegetarian style. So take opportunity of procrastination seriously and learn what to make for dinner tonight.
So this enchilada recipe is constructed in a casserole dish, smothered in a white salsa verde sauce and baked in the oven. It is perfect for serving immediately or storing (before baking) in the freezer until you feel like whipping it out, just make sure you seal it up well. The inspiration for this dish was simply going to Trader Joe’s and finding this salsa–Avocado Salsa Verde.
This salsa intrigued me and I had never seen it before so I decided to try it and make it the star of my white sauce. Any salsa verde would work for this sauce . As an alternative to using salsa verde, I would suggest using an entire can of roasted green chilies. Here are the main ingredients to making my vegetarian enchiladas.
Taco mix, salsa verde and roasted chilies are the nuts and bolts to the flavor profile of this dish. Also, I made my enchiladas vegetarian (Gimme Lean is vegetarian, not vegan, ground meat substitute) but you could easily used ground beef/turkey, chicken or steak for the filling instead.
Okay, now let’s get started. Bring a medium-sized skillet with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. When the skillet is hot enough, the oil will emit a tiny bit of smoke, add ground “beef” about half a red onion sliced and a tablespoon of taco seasoning.
Break up the meat so it is in tiny pieces and cook until just browned. Once the meat has browned set aside in a bowl. Return skillet over heat so you can start to cook the vegetables. Either slice up a red pepper, green pepper and white onion or be bad like me and buy a frozen bag of already sliced peppers and onions. Before adding vegetables, put in a tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the vegetables in the same pan the meat was cooked in on medium to medium high heat.
Add about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of taco seasoning and half of the 4 ounce roasted green chilies can to the vegetables. Saute until slightly soft then add the meat mixture back to the skillet and turn the heat off.
Set aside until it is time to fill the tortillas. Then start making your sauce. In a medium saucepan add a 1/3 a cup of beef/vegetable/chicken stock. Put the heat on low and add an 8 ounce package of brick cream cheese that has been softened. I used light cream cheese but you could use regular. Stir constantly until cream cheese is completely melted.
Add about a 1/2 cup of light sour cream, entire salsa verde package, the other half can of roasted green chilies, a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning.
Set sauce aside on low heat until ready to spread over the enchiladas. Stir this sauce occasionally, you do not want this to clump on the bottom of the pan. You could also add coarsely chopped cilantro to the white sauce if you are like me and forgot you had some sitting in the fridge and thought “oh this would be a perfect addition, what a great find.”
Grab some large tortillas, I used whole wheat, your Mexican style cheese variety, I just purchased already shredded cheese, and the meat ‘n’ veggie mixture.
put some of the cheese down then meat ‘n’ veggie mixture. Roll up the tortilla tightly and secure each side with a toothpick.
Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the skillet is hot enough, add two enchiladas.
When the enchiladas have browned, flip them and brown the other side.
Something I forgot to mention before browning the enchiladas, take out your casserole dish and put a tiny amount of white sauce down to coat the bottom of the pan. when you have finished browning the enchiladas place them in the casserole dish. Below you can see my work station. Just filling enchiladas, browning them and placing them in the casserole dish.
Do not forget to take the toothpicks out of the enchiladas once you finish browning them!! you do not want to eat a hunk of wood now do you? I didn’t think so. In between browning each pair of enchiladas you might need to add more oil to the saute pan. Fill up the casserole dish with browned enchiladas, my dish could only hold seven at a time. Then it’s sauce time.
Pour the sauce over the enchiladas until they are completely covered. You don’t have to use all the sauce if you don’t want but remember, you will be baking this dish and the cream sauce will melt. Now what I do is almost cover the enchiladas entirely, add some shredded cheese then add the rest of sauce and more cheese. Another good idea is to put a little of the sauce aside in case you want more to put on top of your enchilada when you eat it.
Bake your casserole for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. You could also broil (low) the casserole on the bottom rack of the oven until the topping is browned. Remove from the oven and let cool/set for several minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- 12 ounces meat or meat substitute
- 1 red and green pepper
- one white onion
- 1/2 red onion
- 3 Tbsp taco seasoning
- 3 Tbsp oil of choice (olive, vegetable or canola)
- 1 4oz can of roasted green chilies (use half and set aside)
- 1/3 cup broth (vegetable, chicken or beef)
- 1 8oz. brick of light cream cheese
- 1/2 cup of light sour cream
- 10oz. avocado salsa verde or any other salsa verde
- other half of 4oz can of roasted green chilies
- 1 tsp taco seasoning
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- large whole wheat (or white flour) tortillas
- 2 cups of shredded cheese (could buy already shredded Mexican mix or shred equal parts of Colby, sharp cheddar and/or Monterey Jack)
- Bring a medium-sized skillet with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. When the skillet is hot enough, the oil will emit a tiny bit of smoke, add ground “beef,” half a sliced red onion and a tablespoon of taco seasoning. Break up the meat so it is in tiny pieces and cook until just browned. Once the meat has browned set aside in a bowl.
- Using same skillet (still at medium heat) add a tablespoon of oil. Add peppers and white onion, a teaspoon–a tablespoon of taco seasoning and half the 4 ounce can of roasted green chilies. Saute until vegetables are slightly soft then add the meat mixture back to the skillet and turn the heat off. Set aside.
- To make sauce, grab a medium sauce pan and put on low heat. Add 1/3 cup broth (vegetable, beef or chicken) and a softened 8 ounce package of brick cream cheese. Stir constantly until cream cheese is fully melted. Add about 1/2 a cup of light sour cream,10 oz. salsa verde, the other half can of roasted green chilies, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning. Taste and add anything else you think the sauce needs more of. Set on low heat, stir occasionally and begin preparing enchiladas.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To prepare enchiladas, spoon meat and vegetable mixture as well as shredded cheese mixture onto large tortillas. Roll tightly and secure ends with toothpicks.
- Grab casserole dish and place just a small amount of sauce to cover bottom of dish. Set aside and place stuffed tortillas in dish after they’ve been browned.
- Heat a skillet with about 1 tbsp oil to medium heat. When hot, add two stuffed tortillas. Brown then flip. Remove and place in casserole dish after both sides have been browned. Remove toothpicks. Repeat this browning process until casserole dish is completely filled.
- Pour the cream sauce over the enchiladas until they are completely covered. Top with shredded cheese (to your liking). Place in oven for 30 minutes to bake. Remove and let cool before serving.