Meatless Monday - Super Easy Veggie Enchiladas

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tonight's Meatless Monday recipe is...

Super Easy Veggie Enchiladas

This is another one that you can keep virtually all of the ingredients in your pantry and freezer to have on hand for a quick meal.

1 can Hunt's Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can large black olives
1 can black beans (or pinto, or probably most any bean, except maybe those weirdly large butter beans... those are just freakish)
2 cans enchilada sauce
1 cup Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP) Crumbles*, or Frozen Meatless Crumbles
1 package taco seasoning
Shredded mexican style cheese
Corn tortillas**

Sour cream
Cholula hot sauce - chipotle or original

*Here in Blacksburg, TVP is available at Eats and also probably at Annie Kay's. It is a super inexpensive form of protein for vegetarians, and easy to use. Don't be intimidated! After thought: I sort of think you may also be able to find it at Kroger too, in the natural foods baking-esqe area, with the Bob's Red Mill stuff.
** NOT flour tortillas!!!! This is a critical point!!! They will *not* be enchiladas if you use flour tortillas. They'll be burritos. I'm just sayin.

If you start with the TVP, you'll have to rehydrate it prior to use. You don't need much, it rehydrates and becomes a much larger quantity. Typically for 1 cup of TVP you'll use about 3/4 cup of water. Just try it a bit at a time until the texture looks right and not too spongy. You can do this with boiling water for a quick effect, or tap water if you have about 15 minutes to wait around while the TVP rehydrates.

Once the TVP has rehydrated, put a splash of olive oil in a pan and saute the TVP until it firms up a bit and some of the water has cooked back off. This is mostly a judgment call... when they start to stick to the pan a bit, I know it's time. From that point, follow the instructions for your taco seasoning as if the TVP were the cooked ground beef; this usually involves adding some water and cooking a bit more. If you start with the frozen crumbles you'll just need to get them to a heated stage before doing the taco seasoning steps.

In between the "taco (not) meat" cooking down a bit, open, drain and rinse the beans and corn. Lightly drain the diced tomatoes to get some of the liquid out, but don't smash down on the lid while you're draining them too much; you just want to keep them from being overly watery and not make them sad smashed representations of former lusciousness. There's a fine line. Open the olives and slice them, either the hard way or a few at a time with one of these awesome multi-taskers. I didn't use the whole can for mine (probably 2/3 of the can?); use as much or as few as you like. If you hate olives you could substitute onions or mushrooms or zucchini or something (don't be shy), you'd just want to saute them up first before putting them in the mix.

Mix the sliced olives, tomatoes, corn, beans and "meat" up in a bowl.

Open one of the cans of enchilada sauce and pour some onto a large plate or bowl. You'll be using this to coat the outside of each corn tortilla as you work with it (yes, the outside. yes, it's a bit messy).

Coat the bottom of your baking pan with a bit of the enchilada sauce. I had so much filling that I filled up one standard rectangular cake pan (13x9? or so?) plus one 8x8 or so square casserole dish with the enchiladas. The good news is, you don't have to cook them all at once; you can freeze some of them for later! Score - multiple meals for the work of one!!

To assemble the enchiladas, get a stack of the corn tortillas laid out on your work surface. Take a good sized bunch; you'll use them. You have to sauce the tortillas before folding - this is important because otherwise the corn tortillas will just crumble and break at the folds.

Take your first corn tortilla from the stack and lay it down on the sauce you poured out into the plate or bowl. Get the one side good and saucy. While over the bowl or plate, flip it over in your hands so that the sauced side is up while you move it over to your stack of tortillas (only one side is sauced). This is so you don't drip all the way across, depending on how far apart your prep areas are. Then, lay the sauced side of the tortilla down on the top of the tortilla stack, thereby saucing the next tortilla in line. On the non-sauced side (which is now facing up), lay out some of the filling you just mixed up in the bowl. Wrap the tortilla up carefully and lay it up against the side of your pan or dish, so that it stays closed. When you go back to your stack for enchilada numero dos, you'll see a sauced tortilla from where you laid the other one on top. Flip it over and pass on some of the saucy love. You can keep flipping over like this until the sauce starts looking a bit thin, then start all over again.

Once your tray is tightly packed with the enchiladas, spread the rest of the sauce over the top. Be sure to get sauce on all the edges of the tortillas or you will get wretched chewy parts that you will not want to eat. Ever had microwaved enchiladas? Know the part I mean? Yeah, like that.

Top them with as much (or little) shredded cheese as you want, cover the tray with tinfoil, and you're done assembling! If you want to freeze one (or more) of the pans, or put it in the fridge for tomorrow, now is the time.

When you're ready to eat, heat the oven to 375 and cook for 45 minutes (if you're working with a frozen pan of them, defrost them first in the fridge). When they're done cooking, let them cool down a bit before serving or they will fall apart when you go to dish them out. They still taste just as good, but they'll look more like enchilada casserole than actual enchiladas. That's the voice of experience speaking.

I recommend serving them with some sour cream (spread evenly on top after dishing them out) and Cholula. You can do without, but they're a bit blander for sure. You could also try topping them with fresh chopped cilantro and salsa, for a lower fat alternative.

I know a recipe is a hit when John goes back for seconds, and even more so when he's willing to eat leftovers. I hit both marks with this one - WIN! It's delicious.


Julia Ellen Smith said...

Hey hey hey, will I finally get to post a comment here??

This is my kind of recipe, all kinds of cans! This, I can do.

I made some meatloaf recently, and it came out so very dry and overcooked (except the middle, which was not-quite-cooked), and I realized I still am no chef after all these years! I should have added some vegetable oil because I was using super-lean turkey & beef; I should have covered it with foil so it wouldn't get so crispy on the sides; etc. etc. This was after we just returned from a cruise and had fabulous dinners every night, and it was so obvious we were back home, eating Mrs. Smith's (that's me) s***ty food!

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