Add an extra burst of great nutrition to bean enchiladas by weaving pumpkin into the sauce.
When we heard about this month’s Recipe Redux “Green with Herb Envy” cooking challenge, we had one of those LOL moments. The image of green things popping from the earth, backyard gardens, and thumbing through seed catalogs seems light-years away! The Boston suburbs are still blanketed in snow, so instead of seeing green, everything outside right now is bright white. Those poor little crocuses don’t even seem to have a chance. Yes, March came in like a lion … and it’s clearly going out like one.
We love participating in the monthly Recipe Redux blogger roundup, so we decided not to let a little 10-inch snowstorm stop us. We chose gorgeous, aromatic cilantro as our featured herb, and although we may not have used it in a nontraditional way, rather than the usual garnishing afterthought, we added a giant handful right to the bean enchilada filling.
Herbs like cilantro really wow us. They bring big, bright flavors to recipes, help home cooks cut back on the need for lots of salt, they’re pretty to look at, and they’re packed with antioxidants. When we think of herbs—parsley, mint, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme—we think “vegetable.”
Cilantro is one of those love-it-or-hate-it foods (kind of like goat cheese, which, we’re happy to say, we also love). We chose it for the Recipe Redux because we find ourselves turning to it all year long.
Boosting the good nutrition in everything we make is always a priority, and it was super easy with this recipe. In addition to the half cup chopped cilantro in the filling, we also added nutrient-rich black beans, baby spinach, corn, and low-fat cheese. For the tortillas, we turned to 100% whole wheat, and we enhanced the enchilada sauce with half a cup of canned pureed pumpkin.
Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce
Makes 8 Servings
The idea for incorporating pumpkin into the enchilada sauce came from Stacey M., a mom and a fan from Eagle, CO. Stacey wrote: “Pumpkin has become a staple for us for all meals. I made enchiladas tonight. I use canned enchilada sauce and even the mild is a bit too spicy for the girls (they are 4 and 6), but I love spicy food. I puree the can of sauce with about 1/2 – 1/3 cup of canned pumpkin to cut the spice, add nutrition, and thicken it up. I don’t think any of them have figured it out! My girls are pretty good eaters and love sour cream so I serve it with the enchiladas. Add a cup of milk and I can have my slightly spicy dinner that everyone will eat!!” We suggest you garnish with additional cilantro, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, diced or sliced avocado, and lime wedges.
- 1 tablespoon expeller pressed canola oil
- 6 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
- One 6-ounce bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
- One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- One 15-ounce can enchilada sauce (mild, medium, or hot)
- 1/2 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
- Eight 8-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 minutes. Add the spinach, cumin, and chili powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, 3 more minutes. Transfer the cooked veggies to a large bowl and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. When cool, stir in 1 cup of the cheese, beans, corn, and cilantro until well combined.
3. Meanwhile, place the enchilada sauce and pumpkin in a medium-size bowl and whisk until well combined. Spread 1/2 cup of the mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
4. To assemble the enchiladas, place 1/2 cup of filling down the center of each flour tortilla. Roll up tightly, tucking in the ends, and place seam side down in the dish. Cover evenly with the remainder of the sauce, sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese, and bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Nutrition Information per Serving (1 enchilada): 310 calories, 11g fat, (3g saturated, 0.2g omega-3), 730mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 16g protein, 60% vitamin A, 15 vitamin C, 25% calcium, 15% iron
Check out all of the other blog posts from our fellow herb-loving Recipe Reduxers …