Monday, October 24, 2011

The Not-Quite-Whole Enchilada

One of the best parts about writing a vegan blog is that my friends (and sometimes people I don't know) are always sending me recipe ideas. And I am proud to say that I have turned the task of tackling the recipes people send me into an effective procrastination tool.

I was supposed to be working on a music theory exam this weekend. It was one of those exams that you take home to work on, and by Friday afternoon it was already destroying my life.

So I made the obvious decision to make enchiladas instead. My creative friend Bonnie had sent me a recipe for regular-people enchiladas, so I would have to veganize them (and de-spicify them – I’m not going anywhere near jalapeno peppers).

Unfortunately, to make the vegan enchiladas I would need to use two processed ingredients: Daiya vegan cheese and enchilada sauce. I probably could have recruited my Reasonably Skilled Alter-Ego to make some enchilada sauce from scratch, but she’s been getting a big head lately so I wanted to prove to her that I could do some things on my own.

I’ve taken the Eating Rules October Unprocessed pledge, so I’m avoiding processed foods for the month and I wouldn’t be able to eat the enchiladas myself. Luckily, my friend Jason was having a party that evening; surely the people at his party would want to eat my enchiladas. I would just have to go to the party instead of working on my take-home exam.

What? I couldn’t waste the enchiladas.

Vegan Enchiladas

2 cups diced zucchini
1 cup corn
1 yellow onion, chopped
¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
2 cups mozzarella-style Daiya

Other ingredients:
Unprocessed corn tortillas
Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce

First things first. I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees, greased a shallow glass baking dish with coconut oil, and put the enchilada sauce in a small pot to simmer.

Then I tossed the zucchini, corn, and onion in a wok to saute in some coconut oil. While they were sauteing, I put the Daiya, cumin, and cilantro in a big mixing bowl. When the sauteed ingredients were ready, I added them to the bowl and mixed everything together:

Now on to the tricky part. One of the annoying things about my kitchen is that there is no counter space next to the stove. So I had to balance the bowl of filling, a plate, the glass baking dish, and the package of tortillas on the three empty burners (the simmering enchilada sauce was taking up the other burner). Spoiler alert: I didn't catch on fire.

I poured about a cup of the warm sauce onto the plate. Then for each enchilada, I coated a tortilla in the sauce, put about a half cup of the filling in the center of it, did my best to roll it up, and placed it in the glass baking dish. I had no idea what I was doing.

Things were going well at first. But then the tortillas started to crack and the filling started to ooze out. I just kept cramming them into the dish, telling myself that enchiladas are supposed to be messy. What else could I do? Ask my stupid Reasonably Skilled Alter-Ego for help? Yeah, right.
The cracking enchiladas, before I put them in the oven.
When the dish was full of not-quite-whole enchiladas, I put it in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. That gave me some time to work on my exam get ready for the party.

Amazingly, my vegan enchiladas were a hit. It was a little ridiculous that I brought them to the party in the first place, since it turned out to be a rather fancy cocktail party. But no matter. They looked like a disaster but they tasted great (I even cheated and tried a little myself). Who's "reasonably skilled" now, Alter-Ego?


  1. Hi Meghan, I'm glad they were a hit. I'm also glad you cheated and tried some! I've found that when the sauce starts to cool down a bit, that's when the tortillas start to crack--I actually dip mine in a skillet of sauce kept simmering on the stove and then transfer to a plate and fill with filling and put in the baking dish. Wonder if that's why you started out with successful ones, and then they started to break apart.
    Anyways, cheers! and Glad you had fun making them!

  2. These are the best! Mine always look like a bit of a disaster because the tortillas crack but they taste amazing.

  3. Oh my can't wait to make these myself...and how spicy were these? I like you don't enjoy a ton of spice.