Anyone who’s ever been around for n00bcakes’ Bacon Week knows that I am decidedly not a vegetarian. I like meat; meat is delicious. It goes with everything. But that doesn’t mean I dislike vegetarian food. In fact, there’s plenty of meatless meals I really enjoy, and especially after eating bacon nonstop for an entire week, when your body is breaking out in meat sweats and screaming for something with a little less lard in it, vegetarian foods can be particularly satisfying.
And let’s not forget about your vegetarian friends! They deserve love too, and more than just a paltry cheese pizza option. They eat meatless meals every day of their lives and they seem to be doing okay. And going meatless can be a great way to save some money!
…Wait, why did this become an advertisement for meat-free living? Weird.
Anyway, my point is that you should never turn up your nose at some meat-free meals since they can be just as good as their meat-filled compatriots. Case in point? This meal: butternut squash and black bean enchiladas.
This recipe is a great integration of vegetables into a Mexican enchilada. Basically, you chop and roast a combination of veggies, roll them in tortillas, cover them in enchilada sauce and cheese, then bake. Easy peasy, and pretty delicious-sounding right?
Despite their conceptual ease, however, I was just as equally dreading them because they require peeled and chopped butternut squash. If there’s any cooking technique I hate (besides folding together ingredients) it’s peeling food, and butternut squash can be a particular pain because of its weird shape. Even so, I ended up making this recipe not once, but twice, and that, combined with the fact that I had to peel a large vegetable, should speak to how good it is.
I made this recipe once for my brother and sister-in-law, and once for Emily and her husband. Both groups agreed that this recipe was definitely a keeper, both as fully vegetarian and with added meat (in both cooking instances I made approximately a half-pan of veggie and a half pan of veggie plus meat). What’s even better is that making this twice gave me some insight on how to best peel a butternut squash, so even that part is less of a headache now (pro tip: just get a peeler. Seriously, save yourself the headache and buy a $5 peeler).
The original recipe for these enchiladas includes more ingredients than I finally decided to use; besides squash, onion, and black beans it also includes zucchini and corn. Other similar recipes I’ve seen include tomatoes and chilis, too (varieties I may try in the future). I decided to reduce these ingredients for several pretty legitimate reasons:
- In my experience, it is impossible buy a small amount of butternut squash (more on that below).
- I don’t really like zucchini.
- SO MUCH CHOPPING UGH.
- Cash moneys.
Mostly, though, a medium onion, medium butternut squash, and can of black beans creates so much filling that adding more ingredients doesn’t make sense; even with these ingredients I had to use an additional pan to accommodate all the enchiladas. If you want to feed an entire army, by all means add even more vegetables to the mix, but this recipe is constructed be just for 4 or 5 eaters. Personal preference does make this recipe nice and flexible, though; if you like zucchini or any other vegetables, by all means throw it in and give it a try!
The peeling, chopping, and other preparations required in this recipe are completely worth it, let me assure you. The butternut squash gives the enchiladas a hearty feel and that in combination with the black beans always makes me feel nice and satisfied. And like I just mentioned, it’s an incredibly versatile recipe. You can keep it simple like I have, with 3 main ingredients and salt and pepper, or you can jazz it up with more vegetables, garlic, cumin, red pepper – there’s so much you can do with it. And most importantly, I guess, it’s an easy crowd pleaser and makes a big ‘ole pan of food. Add in some rice on the side and you could feed even more!
Try these enchiladas, and you will have no regerts. This is my promise.
Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas
Adapted from RedluctantEntertainer.com
Makes 5 servings (2 enchiladas a piece)
- 1 small or 1/2 a medium butternut squash
- 1 large onion
- 1 16oz can of black beans, drained
- 10 large tortillas
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or melted fat of your choice, if you’re not going hard-core vegetarian)
- Salt & pepper to taste (a couple teaspoons apiece; I tended to add more pepper)
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1-2 cups shredded cheese
- Salsa or enchilada sauce (your choice)
- Sour cream & avocado enchilada toppers (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Peel and dice both the butternut squash and the onion and put them in a large bowl. If you’re unsure whether your pieces are small enough, remember you’ll be eating these in a tortilla, so giant chunks aren’t a great idea. Consider 1/2″ cubes at their biggest. To be clear, the filling pictured above is actually too big – the 2nd time I made them I had good success with smaller cubes.
- Add olive oil, salt, and pepper to the bowl and toss to coat. Any other spices you want should be added here; I found that salt and pepper, despite their simplicity, were perfect.
- Spread the vegetables in a pan and roast for 15 minutes.
- Pour the black beans into the pan as well, mix/stir. Roast for another 15 minutes.
- While roasting, prepare a 9×13″ and a 9×9″ pans (or if you’re feeling lucky, you can try getting all 10 enchiladas into the 9×13). Pour a thin layer of either enchilada sauce or salsa over the bottom of the pans, spreading to make sure all area is covered.
- When vegetables are ready, reduce oven temperature to 350F.
- Mix in the cilantro. Add ~1/2 cup of filling to each tortilla, roll, and place it, seam-down, in the pan. Don’t be stingy with your filling, but don’t worry if you end up having some left over – it’s actually really delicious by itself (or on eggs! Or on tortilla chips!).
- Cover the rolled enchiladas generously with more enchilada sauce/salsa, then again with cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350F.
- Garnish with sour cream, avocado, and more cilantro!