Happy Kids, Inc: Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas

By Meg Hodson

Enchiladas are a big crowd pleaser in my house!  I've done a lot of variations on these.  This recipe was an evolution of when I began instigating "Meatless Mondays" in my house.  I am a vegetarian, but the rest of the household is not.  My kids eat a pretty heavy plant-based diet anyway, so it's not difficult for them to embrace a meatless day.  And for those of you trying to go meatless on Good Friday, these are sure to please the entire family.

I used to do straight up black bean enchiladas....basically black beans, cheese, sauce, cheese.  But I am always looking for ways to sneak in veggies and other nutrient-rich food into my cooking.  For a lot of foods, my children would eat them, but it's a texture issue with them, and so they initially push them away.  But when they are blended into meals, they don't blink an eye.

I never buy refried or prepared beans, but you can if you like for this recipe.  I cook them from scratch so that I can add them to my food processor and blend with other ingredients.

My daughter loves avocado, and I am so glad.  The list goes on and on of how beneficial this fruit is.  But my 2 boys like the flavor, but don't like the texture.  So, of course, it was an easy decision to blend this into the enchilada filling.

Hmm, what else could we try?  Butternut squash!  It's a great binder, blends well with beans, and is highly nutritious.  I will pre-cook an entire squash or two, dice into chunks, and keep in the freezer to have on hand for various meals.

I also add cooked quinoa to the filling.  My kids generally like quinoa, but they eat it up readily as part of the filling.

The other key to this recipe is the homemade enchilada sauce.  It couldn't be easier to make and it adds an amazing touch to the dish.

Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas Vegetarian meal

Ingredient List For Enchilada Sauce (prepare first and set aside):

1 regular size can (15 oz) of plain tomato sauce
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. parsley
2 tsp. garlic
1 tbl. dried onion
1/2 tsp.chili powder

In small saucepan, combine all ingredients and heat on medium.  When bubbling, turn to low and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.  Set aside.

Ingredient List For Enchiladas And Filling:

**This recipe is easily made dairy-free by omitting cheese and sour cream.**

2 cups cooked (or two cans strained) of  black beans
3/4 cup cooked butternut squash (cubed)
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic
2 tsp. dried onion
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
splash of tabasco
2 tbl. lemon juice
6 inch tortillas of your choice (corn, wheat, spelt, whatever you prefer)
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, jack cheese, or a combination of the two
Avocado and sour cream to garnish

1.  Gently heat tortillas in a frying pan with a little oil of your choice.  Do not overheat.  About 30 seconds-1 minute per side is good.  You will need 12-16 tortillas.

2.  Cook the quinoa.  Take 1 cup of liquid or broth and add 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (this will produce 1 cup cooked).  Be sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking.  Combine quinoa and water or broth, bring to boil, cover, reduce to low, and cook 15 minutes.  Turn off burner and let rest (covered) for 5 minutes.

3.  Cubed butternut squash should be cooked for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees (toss lightly with olive oil and salt if desired).

4.  In a food processor, combine black beans, quinoa, squash, cumin, garlic, onion, chili powder, oregano, tabasco, and lemon juice.  You can add 1/2 an avocado if you like to the mix (or save to garnish). If mixture seems to thick when blending, add a little more lemon juice.  Blend until well incorporated.

5.  With a 9x13 Pyrex dish (or similar casserole dish), thinly spread a layer of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Begin assembling the enchiladas.  Scoop about 1/4 cup of the black bean mixture into the center of a tortilla, add a little cheese (you can omit the cheese to stay dairy free), roll gently, and begin to make a row of them in your casserole dish.  Repeat process until all the black bean mixture is used.

6.  Use the remaining enchilada sauce and coat the tops of the enchiladas.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle cheese on top and cook an additional 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Again, if keeping it dairy-free, omit the cheese and just cook the enchiladas for 20 minutes.  Serve with avocado slices and sour cream (if desired).

I hope you, and your kids, enjoy!

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