May 30, 2014

Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas Verdes

While I consider myself pretty well-versed in many different types of cuisine, including Mexican, I admit that I had never had green enchilada sauce until very recently. What makes this green (verde) sauce so unique, I’m sure, is that cute little Mexican “tomato” called the tomatillo. It’s not really a tomato, but it’s in the same family. It’s a nightshade vegetable related to the cape gooseberry.

Tomatillos have a paper-like husk that gets thinner as the tomatillo ripens and eventually falls off. The fruit can be several colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Their distinctive, tart flavor is perfect for this yummy sauce. 
I recently discovered this amazingly delicious brown rice mix from the folks over at Lundberg. It’s called “Jubilee” and it has five different kinds of rice, including a bit of black and red rice. I made it with the enchiladas, using my Mexican Rice recipe and it was divine!

  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (2 15 oz. cans)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • ½ cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 TBS smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup vegan cheese shreds (optional)

~ for the sauce

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound serrano peppers*
  • 1 pound tomatillos
  • 1 sweet, yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp tamari or other low sodium soy sauce (optional)
* NOTE: Serranos are the traditional peppers used for green enchilada sauce but they can be quite hot. If you prefer a milder sauce, use a different variety of pepper, or you can mix and match. I used some Anaheim peppers in my sauce to lessen the heat. Remember, peppers also vary in heat on their own! I’ve purchased jalepeños before that were mild and some that were insanely hot.
What’s the hottest pepper in the world? It’s way up there on the top of that chart. In 2007, Guinness World Records certified that the Ghost Pepper, a.k.a. Bhut Jolikia, was the world’s hottest chile pepper, tilting the scales at over one million Scoville units. No, I’ve never tried one!


~ for the filling

  1. Water sauté the onion until tender.
  2. Add the beans and remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. The beans should be falling apart a little. Add a bit of water if needed but not too much. You want a thick, pasty consistency.
  3. Set aside.

~ for the sauce

  1. Remove the stems and the seeds from the peppers and rough chop them. 
  2. Quarter the tomatillos and place them in a sauce pot with the peppers and remaining ingredients. 
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the tomatillos and peppers are tender.
  4. Let the mixture cool a bit, then puree in a food processor. It only takes a few moments. The sauce should be a bit chunky (that’s how I like it). If you prefer a very smooth sauce, just use a blender instead.

~ construction and final prep

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Place the corn tortillas in an oven-proof bowl and cover with foil. Bake for about 10 minutes until warm. They will be easier to handle this way and not fall apart so easily.
  3. Cover the bottom of a large casserole dish with some of the sauce.
  4. Spread about ¼ cup of the bean mixture onto each tortilla, roll gently and place in the casserole dish.
  5. Top with the remaining sauce and the vegan cheese if you’re using it.
  6. Bake, covered, for 20-30 minutes until the sauce is bubbling.
  7. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and sliced avocado (optional).
Makes 10 enchiladas. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

4 responses to “Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas Verdes”

  1. Helen these look fantastic!

  2. Helyn says:

    Thank you, Tami!

  3. Sita says:

    Where can you get tomatillos Helen? I have never seen them fresh. Are they sold in cans? I am eager to try this. It looks quite yummy.

    • helynskitchen says:

      Hi Sita! My grocery stores have them. If yours doesn’t you can check a Mexican market. Hope you can find them!

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