For now however, I would like to share a happy warming recipe for a winter meal. This is an enchilada casserole that is made with a spicy and simple pumpkin sauce in lieu of the traditional red enchilada sauce. This was inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe that a non-vegan friend of mine told me about in which Martha Stewart used a pumpkin sauce for enchiladas. I thought that was intriguing and I have gone on to use that sauce more than once. It is very nice, and I use it here without any modifications.
Instead of rolling up enchiladas I felt more like making a casserole this time, and I loved the way it came out. You build it like you would a lasagna only using traditional enchilada ingredients.
I cut my tortillas with a pizza cutter to make strips and then loosely use the end pieces to make sure there are no holes. I then build the casserole layer by layer of sauteed veggies and black beans until I have this lovely creation:
You can easily use any vegetables you have on hand, or tofu/tempeh/seitan in addition to black beans as the protein. It's definitely fun to get creative with your fillings. This is one warm and cozy dish that is filling but also very healthy and chock full of fiber, protein and micro-nutrients, while being low in fat (even lower if you omit the Daiya cheese).
Enchilada Casserole with Pumpkin Sauce
For the sauce:
Can be viewed via the original recipe by Martha Stewart, here (just ignore the part about chicken-it's waaaayy better veggie!)
1 can (15 oz) organic pumpkin puree or 15 oz freshly roasted pumpkin
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the vegetable filling:
1 T grapeseed oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen ok)
1 small package white or crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini (can use 1 cup chopped broccoli here when zucchini is out of season) quartered and sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
sea salt and pepper to taste
For the black bean layer:
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 can or 1 1/2 cups organic black beans, drained
1/4 cup canned mild green chiles
1 can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 package corn tortillas
To top the casserole:
1 small can sliced black olives
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Daiya cheddar or pepperjack vegan cheese, if desired
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
To make the sauce:
Add the pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, water, salt and pepper to a blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined about one minute. Set aside.
To make the veggie layer:
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, corn, mushrooms, and zucchini. Saute over medium high heat for approximately five minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for approximately 2 minutes more until vegetables are cooked, but not overdone as they will continue to cook when the casserole is baked. Remove from pan and set aside.
Using the same pan:
Add onions, black beans, chiles, and tomatoes. Cook for 5-7 minutes until onions have softened and the mixture is heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
Slice your tortillas into 2" strips using a pizza cutter. Using a casserole dish, spread a thin layer of the pumpkin sauce on the bottom of the dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with the tortilla strips. Next, spread half of the veggie mixture evenly over the tortilla layer. Then add another layer of tortilla strips covering the veggie mixture. Next add the black bean mixture followed by another layer of tortilla strips. Next add the other half of the veggie mixture followed by a final layer of tortilla strips. Cover the top of the casserole in pumpkin sauce well. Top that with the olives, scallions, and Daiya cheese if desired. You will have leftover sauce. It freezes well for next time :)
Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes until the top is gently browned and the casserole is heated through.