Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas

by Andie Mitchell on March 1, 2011

brown rice and black bean vegetarian enchiladas

Something you may not know about me is that I eat a mainly vegetarian diet. And not for any particular reason either, I just find myself living day in and day out without paying much mind to meat. I’m lucky to love nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, tempeh, and generally anything else that might make my mother cringe.

In fact, if it weren’t for this blog and my constant urge to diversify the dishes I share here, I wonder how often I’d buy and make chicken. I also wonder how many ways I’d try to squeeze cake into breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, dessert. Did I mention snack?

Yes, I adore the succulence of a perfectly seared steak, the sweet smokiness of  pulled pork, and the way lamb seems to melt on my tongue after a day of slow cooking, but I could go days, weeks, even months without ever really noticing that I’ve missed those tastes. And yes, last weekend I was over the moon to attend Cochon 555, essentially a massive heritage pork festival where I spent three hours eating everything from pork ravioli to pork belly sliders to bacon brittle gelato. And yes, even after hearing that it’s barely identifiable as ‘meat’, I’d still rather eat at Taco Bell than just about any other Mexican spot. Chalupas or bust.

But still. Those days and events are few.

I know that there are volumes to be written about the merits of going without meat even once a week. The impact on health, wealth, and the environment. But I’ll let others write those pages. Sometimes I wonder if we haven’t missed at least one aspect of the point behind letting go of meat-centricity. What if instead of praising our smaller carbon footprint and going easy on our arteries, we simply said, “Hey, did anyone realize that plant-based dishes can be different and absolutely delicious?” The point being that we don’t need to find the reason why we’re stepping out of the box, but instead the reason why we’ve limited our culinary creativity in the name of tradition. Not the why, but the why not?

 

brown rice black bean vegetarian enchiladas

 

I get that kobe beef will always taste as luscious as butter and that turkey, carved on Thanksgiving, will be nostalgically and physically satisfying. But the frontier for vegetable exploration is still fairly unsettled in my book. Who says lentils aren’t as lovable? Grilled portobello mushrooms as “mmm” inducing? Well, no one.

I’ve experimented up a storm. A few failures of note. A few, “Let’s never try this again.” The hard part isn’t pleasing my palate, but the one belonging to my beloved, Daniel. Convincing him that tofu isn’t only a savory marshmallow has been grueling. Perhaps trickery was involved. A wink as I placed the top bun on our “burgers.” Fingers crossed behind my back while presenting a bowl of chili missing the carne. Whatever white lies I may or may not have told have been worthwhile. Our kitchen now is a much more adventurous place. And not just because I have a penchant for throwing pots and pans and swearing.

 

brown rice and black bean vegetarian enchiladas

 

These enchiladas are a vegetarian meal that Daniel requests over and over again. He loves them and so do I, though my love for them has lots to do with how quick, cheap, and eeeaaassy they are. I hope Sandra Lee will forgive me for borrowing her branding here, but…these are semi-homemade and fabulous. Chunky rice and beans mixed with sweet bell peppers inside flour tortillas, smothered with salsa and melted cheese. Find something better than melted cheese and then call me. I’ll be waiting patiently by the phone.

A few recommendations: Never waste money or energy buying enchilada sauce, especially since salsa is a world tastier and more all-purpose. Also, buy a few packets of natural taco seasoning. And though I do love the one by Old El Paso, it’s got about a million and one foreign ingredients so I’d opt for Trader Joe’s version if you can. Otherwise, a little MSG never killed anyone. Well, it may have, and I just don’t know. Taco seasoning is great to have on hand in any case. Whip these up for your family and serve them with hot sauce and sour cream.

Dinner is served.

 

brown rice and black bean vegetarian enchiladas

brown rice and black bean enchiladas

 

In a large bowl, mix 2 cups brown rice, a rinsed and drained can of black beans, 1 bag of defrosted tri-color peppers, 3/4 cup medium salsa, and 1 packet taco seasoning. I like to use taco seasoning packets from Trader Joe’s because they don’t contain 57 tablespoons of MSG and the ingredient list is short.

 

black bean vegetarian enchilada filling

 

brown rice and black bean enchiladas

Divide the mixture among twelve 6″ flour tortillas. Roll each tortilla tightly around the filling and place them side by side in a greased 13×9″ baking dish, whose bottom has been coated with 1/2 cup of salsa.

brown rice and black bean vegetarian enchiladas

Spread 1 1/4 cups medium salsa evenly over the top of the rolled tortillas, then sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese.

 

brown rice and black bean vegetarian enchiladas

 

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees F, until the cheese has melted.

brown rice and black bean enchiladas

 

Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas

serves 6


12, 6″ flour tortillas (~100 calories each)

2 cups cooked brown rice

1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1, 16 oz bag frozen bell pepper strips, cooked and drained

1 packet taco seasoning

2  1/4 cups medium salsa, divided

1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13×9″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and spread 1/2 cup of salsa over the bottom. Lay your tortillas out on a clean work surface.

In a large bowl, mix the rice, beans, peppers, taco seasoning, and 3/4 cup salsa. Divide evenly among the tortillas. Roll each tortilla tightly and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. You may have to place some of the filled tortillas horizontally to make them fit. Pour the remaining 1 cup salsa evenly over the tops of the rolled tortillas in the baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve with hot sauce and sour cream.

 

Nutrition info for 1/6 of entire recipe (2 enchiladas):

Calories: 501, Fat: 14.9g, Carb: 72.4g, Fiber: 10.2g, Sugars: 5.4g, Protein: 21g

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam March 1, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Awesome. I have been a vegetarian for 2 years and I’m sure you are aware that there aren’t a lot of new and exciting recipes out there. These look delicious and I love the salsa tip. That makes so much sense!
Thank you!

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MelissaNibbles March 2, 2011 at 1:46 am

I eat a mainly vegetarian diet as well simply because I don’t crave very many meat dishes. When I do, I eat them. Simple as that. I really like what you wrote about vegetarian dishes being delicious as opposed to preaching about animals and carbon foot prints. I think if more people focused on the taste of vegetarian meals, others would be more likely to try it. Once you start preaching, they tune you out. This meal looks fabulous and this is a very well written post. Thanks!

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Lisa (Dishes of Mrs. Fish) March 2, 2011 at 3:12 am

I love black bean enchiladas! I can’t wait to try this version!

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Matt @ The Athlete's Plate March 2, 2011 at 3:45 am

Looks simple but delicious ;) Love your photos!

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 2, 2011 at 5:01 am

THESE are speaking my language! I love veggie enchiladas!

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ericascime March 2, 2011 at 6:13 am

These look like the perfect weekend dinner! I will have to try them!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 2, 2011 at 7:18 am

Thanks Erica!

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Omega March 2, 2011 at 7:30 am

Yum yum! Can you say approximately how much taco seasoning is in a packet? Up here in Canuck-ville we don’t have a TJs, and I already have what seems like an endless jug of it from Costco…
Cheers!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 2, 2011 at 7:57 am

Hey! I think about 2 tablespoons?

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Leah @ Why Deprive? March 2, 2011 at 8:12 am

These sound amazing!! I love enchiladas – and I rarely eat meat either. Not for any reason other than the fact that Im just not interested. That, and beans are SO much easier to cook. :)

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Megan (Braise The Roof) March 2, 2011 at 10:56 am

How have I never known that TJ’s has taco seasoning??? What aisle is it in?

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm

In the canned food aisle, next to the beans and the spices! It’s fabulous!!

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Stephanie @cookinfanatic March 3, 2011 at 4:43 am

I would love to eat more vegetarian meals but my boyfriend likes it otherwise so we try to compromise in the middle… these look delicious too! I made some chorizo and butternut squash enchis this week w/ a mexican spiced crema that turned out pretty great – but maybe my next batch will have to be meat-free! Beautiful pics too, as always :)

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 3, 2011 at 7:21 am

chorizo and butternut squash enchis this week w/ a mexican spiced crema? WHAT?! That sounds out of this world!

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Bee March 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Oooh will have to try this next time I have a craving for enchiladas! I always go with the Campbell’s recipe: tortillas filled with chicken, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup mixed together (sometimes with taco mix or enchilada sauce mixed in), topped with salsa and cheese. This one sounds waaay healthier though :)

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Ooo that sounds goooood Bee! Love anything with sour cream!

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Nicole March 6, 2011 at 4:04 am

I cannot wait to try that recipe!! :)

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thehealthyapron March 8, 2011 at 7:45 am

Thanks for providing the nutrtional profile. These look incredible and I’ve been in a Mexican mood! Thanks!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 7:50 am

You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

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Kelli March 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

I made these last night and my husband and I agree that they are amazing! Having leftovers for lunch today and saving the rest of them for a couple nights this and next week.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 9, 2011 at 8:43 am

YAY! Thanks for the feedback Kelli, I’m so happy to hear it :)

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Katie G March 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

Silly question, but I MUST know…what kind/brand is that orange baking dish?? I LOVE the color orange and love having orange things in my kitchen (my Le Creuset pots, my measuring cups, spatulas…). Orange gets such a bad rap but it’s lovely in my humble opinion. :)

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Jenn March 11, 2011 at 8:53 am

These were fantastic. The only thing that I changed was that I added my own spices instead of using a package of taco seasoning (all the ones that were available were extremely sodium-laden and I’m trying to cut back). I used chili powder, cumin, cilantro, paprika, and some cayenne pepper.

Anyway, they were fabulous and filling. Great leftovers for lunch the next day too!!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

So happy to hear it Jenn! Thanks doll :)

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Diana May 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm

These were great! And lots of freezable leftovers Awesome! I did add some onions and the TJs spice packet was a little spicy, but hey that’s just an excuse for extra sour cream!

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Martha June 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm

These are awesome!!! And I love having leftovers, too… I used salsa verde since my boyfriend is allergic to tomatoes but it still came out great!!!

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Brynna August 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Just made this, ate it, and loved it! Can’t wait to bring some leftovers to work tomorrow!

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katie December 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Dearest Andie,

Serendipitously, in an effort to use some canned goods I had laying around, I just made something like these last night! A few changes–instead of peppers, I used organic corn and corn tortillas to go with them, and (this is a great one!) cinnamon as the main seasoning, along with a little cumin and garlic salt. The cinnamon is a total inspiration from a lovely local vegetarian place, and what a hit! I’m a meat eater and always will be, but I love going meat-free as often as I can, too. :)

More importantly (and I hope you read this!), I just wanted to tell you that your blog and your writing is absolutely wonderful. Your “exercising history,” “peace with food,” and “what I miss” sections left me moved and tearful and inspired, and, in part because of you, I’m embarking on a major lifestyle change in the new year. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your beautiful words.

XO,
Katie

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katie December 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm

P.S. Also just wanted to pass on, in the spirit of this recipe and the TJ’s shout out, that I just discovered Trader Joe’s amazing, fat-free, ALL NATURAL sour cream–only 15 calories a serving and DELISH. Enjoy! :)

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Beth February 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

WOW… these were seriously AMAZING!! We have significantly cut down our meat intake and have been on the look out for some good recipes… this made the cut!! My husband even had me pop another batch in so he could take them for lunch the next day. Thank you!

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Josh March 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm

These look amazing… Making them for my roommates tomorrow… One quick question, do you need to cook the rice before you but it in the tortillas?

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Andie March 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Hey! Yes, you have to cook the rice first

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Brett March 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Thank you, Andie! I made these today and they’re delicious. Enchiladas are one of my favorite dishes. I used salsa from the grocery store and it worked well, but I am wondering – do you make your own or buy from the store? If so, do you have a preferred brand? Thank you! :)

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Courtney Gibson April 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm

These were absolutely delicious! I used homemade wheat tortillas and added about 1/2 lb. lean all natural ground beef-hubby likes some meat. We had tons of leftovers which was great, because we were able to eat on it for a couple days!

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Jenni April 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm

These look fantastic and are on the menu for the week! :)

I’m wondering if you’ve ever frozen them (pre-cooked). If so, did it freeze and cook well or would you not suggest it?

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Andie April 4, 2012 at 8:37 am

Hi Jenni! No, I’ve never tried freezing them. If you try it, let me know how they turn out :)
Andie

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Diana Lee April 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

This recipe looks delicious!

As a person living with migraines and an advocate for others living with them, I always like to point out that MSG is an extremely common migraine trigger and good to avoid for people prone to migraine attacks.

Can’t wait to try these enchiladas!

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Rex May 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Is the rice cooked or uncooked and do you heat up the mix before putting it in the tortilla?

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Calli Boyer July 12, 2012 at 7:33 am

I’m 17 and have been a vegetarian for almost six years. It’s so hard to find simple recipes that are good and easy to make. This looks delicious, I can’t wait to make dinner tonight! Thank you so much! Your blog is an inspiration.

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christy wisley August 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Love this! Making it tonight. Just a tip, i didn’t like all the *crap in the store bought taco seasoning packets either. Found a super simple taco mix recipie, that tastes FABULOUS. I just made like ten times the recipie and keep it in a baggy in my pantry. 3 T = 1 mix packet and is so much cheaper. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/taco-seasoning-i/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=taco%20mix&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe

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tracy October 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

These looked so yummy…and they did not disappoint!! One on my new favorites! I used whole wheat tortillas and about a third of a package of trader Joe’s taco seasoning. When I was at trader Joe’s buying the stuff the clerk said this packet is really spicy and cautioned me against using the whole thing. I also used trader Joe’s enchilada sauce on top of them instead of salsa. This was because I ran out of salsa. Next time I will try it with the salsa. They were spicy but not too much. Part of this could also be from the enchilada sauce. Very Good recipe

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Donna Wasman January 5, 2013 at 1:23 am

I just wanted to take a moment and rave about your recipes. They just appeal to me on all levels. Healthy, easy, beautiful…I can go on and on. Magic happened when I found your blog. I am getting ready to have my first helping of Tomorroats this morning. I shall post on how that turns out later today. I shall have to look around and see if you have done a book yet????

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Kristen @ A Modern Mrs. January 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

I’ll be making a lactose-free version of this tonight! Your photos look delish!

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Amy April 11, 2013 at 10:16 am

I can’t wait to make these!! Sounds so delicious and easy! I am currently calorie counting and it says 501 for 1/6th of the recipe so that would be one enchillada? It also says serving size is 2 enchilladas so that kind of confused me??

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Andie April 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Hey Amy!

Thanks for the kind comment! Yep, it’s 501 for 1/6th of the recipe, which does work out to 2 enchiladas. I see how it might have been confusing because in the photo above, my baking pan was small so I only fit 6 enchiladas in it at one time, however 12 tortillas are used and then filled in the full recipe (see the ingredient list), so to serve 6–each person gets 2. I ended up baking my enchiladas in two separate pans because I didn’t have a proper big one.

Does this make sense? Sorry for any confusion!

Andie

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Mary November 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

I was wondering if there was a way to ziplist this recipe or email it to myself. Thanks!

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