Vegan Enchilada Casserole

I’d been looking at enchilada casserole recipes for a while, but hadn’t found any that really called to me. So I started playing, and this was the result.
Though enchiladas are a Mexican dish, I gave the casserole a Guatemalan twist by using refried black beans, which are a staple here. Most veggie enchilada casserole recipes call for spinach, but I have a garden full of beautiful kale, so that’s what I used. Substitute other greens if kale isn’t your thing.
I don’t use any canned products, so I had to do some prep by making the refried black beans. I added a bit of extra liquid so the beans could be spread easily in the pan.
This version of the casserole uses a red enchilada sauce recipe I found on about.com and modified slightly (below). This sauce has a very bold flavor. Try the casserole with a green enchilada sauce if you want a lighter flavor. Some roasted green chilis would also be a nice addition.
enchiladafilling 250I use the pepper jack cheese recipe from Vegan Richa. It’s made with almond milk and has become my favorite vegan cheese. It’s perfect for this casserole.
This is what the vegetable filling looks like in the pan, before the casserole is assembled. It’s both yummy and beautiful.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbl grapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups corn (I cut the corn off the cob uncooked, but you can use frozen)
  • 5 cups kale, chopped
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (or use your favorite chili powder)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 cups refried black beans
  • 15 corn tortillas, cut in half
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup of your favorite shredded vegan cheese
  • Sliced black olives and chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  1. In a large pan, heat the oil then sauté the onion until translucent.
  2. Add the red pepper, jalapeño, and garlic and continue sautéing for a couple minutes.
  3. Add the corn, kale, tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin to the pan and mix thoroughly. Continue cooking until the kale softens a bit.
  4. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with 1/3 of the tortillas. I put the cut side along the edges of the pan so they fit nicely and cover the whole bottom.
  5. Spoon 1/2 of the refried beans on the tortillas in the pan and spread evenly.
  6. Layer 1/2 of the vegetable mixture on top of the beans.
  7. Place another 1/3 of the tortillas over the vegetable mixture.
  8. Spoon the remaining beans over the tortillas.
  9. Top the beans with the remaining vegetable mixture.
  10. Place the final layer of tortillas on top of the vegetables.
  11. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top of the casserole, making sure the tortillas are completely covered in sauce.
  12. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  13. Allow to stand about 10 minutes before cutting. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

This is a very easy sauce with a bold flavor. Use less chili powder if you want a milder sauce, and omit the cayenne if you don’t want so much spice.
I used a very thick tomato sauce. You may need less water if your tomato sauce is thinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbl grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 2 Tbl chili powder (I use chipotle chili powder)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water (depending on your tomato sauce)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

  1. Heat the oil, flour, and chili powder in a saucepan, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, using only 1/2 cup water at first.
  3. Simmer gently for about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.
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