Sometimes you want to eat something that’s just pure comfort. Something warm and made of regular ingredients that can be purchased at a regular store. Maybe you need to bring dinner to a friend who is having a hard week, or maybe you want to slip something in the freezer for a rainy day.
Allow me to present these simple, crowd-pleasing, extra customizable vegetarian enchiladas. If you want, go ahead and add some shredded chicken. These are gluten-free but not really on purpose. You can make them with low-fat cheese and Greek yogurt if you’re trying to cut calories. Still delicious.
This recipe takes a little time so I always make at least one extra pan. They freeze great. Many of the ingredients are available at Costco. The rest can be picked up anywhere.
Let’s get started: you want to take your butternut squash (approximately 3 pounds, peeled and cubed), put it on a roasting pan, drizzle it with oil and put it in an oven heated to 425º. Set the timer for 25 minutes. I do not recommend peeling and cubing raw squash yourself unless you have time, muscle, and a super sharp knife. I do recommend buying it pre-cut at the grocery store. I used Eat Smart Organic brand from Costco. You can also get it frozen. If that’s the case, skip the roasting and add 10 minutes to the bake time.
Now, while the squash is in the oven, fry your tortillas. Frying the tortillas is the thing that takes enchiladas from decent to super delicious. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Fill a small round frying pan with a couple inches of canola oil. Once it bubbles when you put a piece of tortilla in it, it’s ready to fry. You want to dunk each tortilla in for no more than 10 seconds a side, just enough so bubbles form on the top of the tortilla. Drain on layers of paper towels. I use small white corn tortillas made locally at Taco Loco (also a Costco item). I fry about 24 of them. It takes roughly 15 minutes.
Once your tortillas are fried, chop a large yellow or white onion (or two small ones) and two peppers. (When the timer goes off, pull out the squash and set it aside.) Sauté the peppers and onions. Add a can of chopped green chiles.
Next, set up your work station. You’ll need two 8 by 10 or 9 by 11 rectangular pans or the equivalent. Pour a mixture of chile verde and green enchilada sauce in a big bowl. Order you work flow like this: tortillas, bowl of chile verde mixture, filling, spinach/greens (optional), cheese.
Pour some green enchilada sauce into the bottom of the pans and spread it around to cover. Now you are ready to fill you enchiladas.
Dip your first tortilla in the bowl of green sauce.
Then spoon in the filling…
Add spinach, sprinkle in some cheese…(PS: Spinach is optional. In my family, we’re mixed on whether it is too spinachy in texture. I like it. But I lived in a vegetarian co-op in college.)
It’s a messy job. Keep lots of paper towels on hand. Keep it up until you’ve filled all your pans. Then dump on a mixture of enchilada sauce and chile verde.
Final step: sprinkle with cheese. Be generous.
Cover and bake for 25 minutes at 425º. Remove cover and bake 10 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Alternatively, you can wrap tightly and freeze for up to a month. Be sure to defrost for at least 8 hours before cooking and add at least 10 minutes to the bake time.
Green Chile + Squash Enchiladas
32 ounces peeled, chopped butternut squash
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil.
24 small corn tortillas
1 large onion
8 oz canned diced green chiles
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (fattier is kind of better)
24 oz jarred salsa verde (I used medium heat, but go with mild if you’re giving it away.)
2 12 oz cans of green enchilada sauce. (If it matters to you, check to make sure it’s gluten-free. )
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese or “Mexican blend”
Preheat oven to 425º. Spread the squash on a sheet pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake the squash for 25 minutes and then set aside. Do not turn off the oven. In the mean time, heat canola oil in a small frying pan. Lightly fry tortillas individually and drain them on paper towels. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a good-sized frying pan. Add chopped peppers and onion. Sauté until softened. Add green chiles, sour cream/yogurt, squash and 2/3 cup chile verde. Stir to combine. Now you are ready to fill the enchiladas. Pour green enchilada sauce on the bottom of the enchilada pans. Combine remaining sauce in the can with remaining salsa verde. Arrange your ingredients in the order you will use them. Begin by dipping a tortilla in the chile verde mixture. Spoon in filling. Add spinach if you want. Sprinkle with a healthy dose of cheese. Roll closed and arrange in the pan, seam down. Once the pan is full, pour enough green sauce on top to cover the enchiladas well ( you may need a second can), and then sprinkle liberally with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes and then remove the foil, bake another 10 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. Serve with sour cream, hot sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro.