enchilada

Easy Vegetarian Verde Enchiladas

Listen up, meal preppers! This one’s for you!

Despite sometimes being finnicky to fill and roll, enchiladas are one of my favorite dishes to meal prep for an easy dinner for two. One reason I love them so much is because the combination of filling ingredients is almost endless, meaning you can always customize this dish to suit whatever you’re in the mood for or have at home. As much as I want fall to begin, I couldn’t help but make one final (okay it might not be the laaaast) meal prep that celebrates all things summer.

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For these enchiladas I used some summer farmers market zucchini and bell peppers, but you could certainly swap in yellow squash and poblano peppers, or even some fresh corn and tomatoes. For a fall twist, go with chipotle butternut squash! To go with these fresh veggies, I decided to use cheese as the main protein source. Typically I would use some canned black beans, or shredded rotisserie chicken, but my husband and I were feeling extra cheesy and let the Monterrey Jack (and Greek yogurt, for me) handle the protein component. Plus, to provide more satisfaction and to fill us up from this meatless dish, a generous amount of avocado was sliced on top.

Enchiladas wouldn’t be complete without the sauce, and since I firmly named this version EASY, I have to admit I used a prepared salsa verde this time. While making a homemade red or green enchilada sauce is not rocket science (google and you’ll find hundreds of DIY recipes), we already had some tomatillo salsa in the fridge and this seemed like the perfect way to use it up.

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Before getting to the recipe, I wanted to touch quickly on how meal prepping can fit into an intuitive eating approach. As you may know, I take a fairly “hands off” approach when it comes to the what, when, and how of food and eating for the most part. If you’re in the mood for a big bowl of pasta one night, make that, but if your body is craving some greens after the weekend, then listen and make up a big salad. While it sounds like I’m saying “don’t over-commit or plan, just decide what you want to eat in the moment”, I do find there to be a very practical side to intuitive eating as well.

Practically speaking, having some semblance of a meal “plan” can allow you to be prepared for the week with a nourishing option when you want it. Making up a dish, like enchiladas, or roasting up some veggies with a pot of rice, at least gives you the option to eat “as planned” or on the fly when you need to. For example, since your personal/dinner plans may change during the week, that meal you prepped ahead of time may not even get eaten when expected- and that’s okay! The beauty of prepped food, I find, is that it’s there and ready for when you want it, but portions can also be moved to be enjoyed the next meal, or the rest can even be frozen if you don’t get to it. Meal prep and planning absolutely has a space in intuitive eating when we see a prepped meal as a resource, a tool to reduce dinnertime stress, or an act of kindness for your body, rather than as a rigid rule to abide by at any cost.

I encourage you to try planning out a dish for the week and see if it helps you feel more prepared, yet flexible. These enchiladas would be a great place to start!

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Easy Vegetarian Verde Enchiladas- serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • 2 bell peppers (yellow and red), chopped into 1/2 inch squares

  • 1 cup chopped zucchini (same size as peppers)

  • 1/2 white onion, diced

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • pinch of salt

  • 12 small corn tortillas (or flour, which honestly roll up better!)

  • 2 cups pre-preparred salsa verde (or homemade if preferred)

  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

  • sliced radishes, avocado, cilantro, and Greek yogurt for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet until shimmering, then add the bell pepper, zucchini, and onion. Cook, stirring every so often, until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic powder, cumin, and salt and cook for another 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.

  3. In a 8x12 baking dish, spoon about 1/2 cup of the salsa verde into the bottom of the dish and set aside.

  4. To assemble the enchiladas, lay out a tortilla and place two spoonfuls of the vegetable mixture in a line down the center of the tortilla. Gently roll up the tortilla and place it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas and filling.

  5. Pour the remaining salsa verde over the prepared enchiladas and sprinkle the tops with the cheese. Bake uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve warm, or allow to cool for meal prep storage.

  6. In a sealed container, or an aluminum foil wrapped cooled baking dish, store the enchiladas in the fridge for up to 3 days. Garnishes can be added after reheating.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Lately I've been challening myself to eat a mostly plant-based diet after reading the fascinating work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell in The China Study. While I am by no means a vegan and could absolutely NOT live without eggs, cheese, or yogurt, I do get bored of the same ol' chicken breast, turkey burgers, and seafood dinners, so I am challenging myself- or rather, enjoying experimenting- with adding more beans and legumes in my meals.

These Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas were a quick and easy product of my forray into a plant-based diet, and lucky for me, the whole batch was all mine to enjoy (who else is living with a no bean eater?).

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What I love about this recipe is the ease in which it lends itself to meal prepping. I took advantage of a low-key weeknight to peel, dice, and roast my butternut squash, so that these enchiladas would come together in a snap the night I planned to eat them. And, bonus (!) there was plenty of leftover roasted squash ready to be added to other lunches and dinners throughout the week.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Black bean Enchiladas- serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups peeled, diced, roasted butternut squash

  • 1 cup black beans

  • 1/2 3 oz. can diced green chiles

  • 2.5 cups washed spinach

  • 6 small corn tortillas

  • Sauce of choice- enchilada, taco, or salsa verde

  • Optional toppings- crumbled cheese (I used feta, but goat or Mexican queso fresco would also work beautifully), chopped cilantro, pepitas, or pomegranate seeds

Directions

Roast squash the night before or earlier in the evening. To roast, I simply seasoned the squash with a bit of olive oil and cumin, then baked at 350 degrees until fork tender. In a bowl, combine squash, beans, and chiles. Toss to combine and set aside.

Wash spinach and toss directly into a warm saute pan to wilt. You could even add in some minced garlic for more flavor and boost in antimicrobial power.

For the assembly, coat the bottom of a baking dish with your sauce of choice. Warm tortillas in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until pliable and keep wrapped in a towel during assembly process- I skipped this step and ended up fighting dry tortillas that wanted to split open at every roll- do not skip this step!

Now you are ready to roll. Place a small amount of spinach on to a tortilla first, followed by 2 scoops of your squash mixture. Gently roll tortilla and place seam-down into the prepared baking dish. Repeat rolling with remaining tortillas and nestle closely together in baking dish. Spoon sauce over enchiladas, then transfer dish into oven to bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove enchiladas from oven, top with cheese and assorted bits, serve, and dig in!

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