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There are many meals I make but never share. Most of the time, it’s because I didn’t write them down or have been winging it for so long, it seems strange to write about it. These spinach enchiladas are one of those recipes, primarily the enchilada sauce. I never buy store-bought sauce because with a few pantry staples, you can make your own (and it taste better too). It’s taken me years to finally write it down and it’s adapted from The Fauxmartha’s recipe. I also purposely left these vegan but cheese can easily be added.
Spinach Enchiladas with Lentils
Enchilada sauce (see note)
- 1, 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of cayenne
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups shredded baby spinach
- 1/2 cup cooked black lentils
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 corn tortillas
- Minced onion, for topping
- Avocado, for topping
- Cilantro, for topping
- In a blender, combine the ingredients for the enchilada sauce. Puree until sauce is smooth. Transfer to a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until sauce is hot and has thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375˚ F.
- In a medium bowl, combine spinach, lentils, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt, set aside.
- Warm tortillas by either lightly charring them over your gas stovetop or by dipping them in the warm sauce- they just need to be pliable.
- To assemble enchiladas, measure about 1 cup of sauce and spread it evenly in an 8x5 (or 8x8) pan. Next, scoop 1/3-1/2 cup spinach filling into the center of one tortilla, roll gently, and place seem side down in the pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Once all tortillas are nestled in the pan, top with 1 so cup of sauce.
- Bake enchiladas until lightly browning and bubbly, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and top with onion, avocado, and cilantro before serving.
by Erin Alderson
Step by Step
If you own a copy of the Easy Vegetarian Kitchen, you know that enchiladas are one of my 50 base meals. Both the sauce and filling can be changed based on what’s in season and what you have on hand. This tomato sauce is my go-to, all seasonal sauce because I always have canned tomatoes on hand. I think spinach enchiladas are one of the easier variations, only because the spinach doesn’t need cooked ahead of time. I could also list 100’s of variations but a few of my favorite, similar to this recipe:
The Filling: If you’re looking to keep the greens/legume combo try: kale and black beans or chard and kidney beans. Depending on the season, another easy addition is roasted squash (summer or winter).
Add Cheese: I’m not vegan but I think Mexican food is such an easy thing to make vegan without missing anything. However, cheese is amazing in enchiladas. Sprinkle a good melting cheese (gouda, smoked mozzarella, pepper jack) inside each enchilada and over the top before baking.
Add Spice: My typical enchilada sauce has a small kick thanks to a pinch of cayenne. If you want it spicier, use The Fauxmartha’s recipe with jalapeños (+ seeds) or add part (or a whole) chipotle in adobo sauce.
You might have noticed, but 2016 has been deemed ‘the year of pulses’ but in my kitchen, every day is a pulse day. Lentils have always been a favorite of mine, primarily because of their quick cooking and easy adaptability. A few of my favorite lentil dinner recipes: