Friday, March 23, 2012

The Whole Enchilada

I am not vegan.  I am not even vegetarian.  But I try to eat a plant based diet as much as possible.  I like to think of myself as a flexitarian, if I have to give myself a label.  But hey, who needs a label?

Adam?  He prefers meat, or even fish, and flour-based products (i.e. bread and pasta) to beans, tofu and whole grains.  Sigh! He always accuses me of trying to turn him into the gassiest man on the planet because of all the veggies, beans and whole grains I feed him.  Geez, he's so paranoid! 

Anytime you do increase your fibre intake it may take some time for your body to adjust, but it will adjust.  You should also increase your fluid intake.  The health benefits of a high fibre diet are plentiful.  Most North Americans don't get enough.  You should aim for 35 grams of fibre per day.

Anyways...I love creating hearty vegan recipes like this that satisfy even the most carnivorous appetite.  These enchiladas are chock full of veggies and nutrition, but are just as delicious as their meat and cheese filled counterparts.  If your brood won't accept tempeh as a meat alternative, just sub in 1lb of ground chicken or turkey and you are still giving them a healthy, fibre-packed, veggie-filled meal.

I've become obsessed with finely chopping up cabbage in the food processor and mixing it into various dishes.  It usually becomes undetectable in stews, curries, etc., and when kept raw and mixed in to things like tuna or egg salad, it adds a nice crunch.  Personally, I think cabbage is one of the most underrated foods.  It is ridiculously cheap, very versatile and delicious.  Adding it (or other finely chopped or pureed) veggies into things like soup, stew, curry or pasta sauce, is a great way to boost nutrition and lower the calories of your favorite dishes.

This is a large recipe which makes it perfect when cooking for a crowd or wanting a double-duty meal.  The filling can be enchiladas for the first meal, eaten on it's own like chili the next day, or served over rice, etc. You can cut it in half, or you can make the whole recipe and simple freeze the extra filling for another time.

The Whole Enchilada

Whole grain 10 inch tortillas (8-10)
Shredded non dairy cheese (or your favorite reduced-fat cheese)
1 recipe enchilada filling
1 recipe enchilada sauce

Enchilada Filling

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (easiest in food processor)
1/4 of a green (or purple) cabbage, finely chopped in food processor

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbls chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
350g package organic tempeh, crumbled by hand or pulsed in food processor
2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 650ml jar passata (strained tomatoes)

Saute onion, cabbage, garlic and spices with oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add in remaining veggies and vinegar and saute until veggies start to soften.  Add tempeh, beans and tomatoes and turn heat down to medium low.  Simmer until veggies are tender and filling is nice and thick.

Enchilada  Sauce

1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbls chili powder
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped or cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce.  Thin out with water until desired consistency is reached.  Season to taste.

To assemble the enchiladas, take a greased oven safe shallow baking dish and spread the bottom with some of the enchilada sauce.  Place desired amount of filling into the tortillas sprinkle each with some cheese, fold in both ends, and then roll up.  Place tortillas side-by-side in baking dish.  Cover the top of the tortillas with more enchilada sauce and sprinkle with more cheese.  Bake in the oven at 400F until cheese melts.  Makes 8-10 enchiladas.

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