Cheese and onion enchiladas were a staple growing up in my house, but back then, I wasn’t vegetarian and didn’t care that these were made with bacon grease and chicken stock. This is why I’m so carful when ordering at restaurants. Often, dishes like “cheese and onion enchiladas” on a menu appear to be vegetarian but aren’t.
After some trial and error, I have converted these enchiladas from the original recipe that came on the back of the label of a jar of Pace Picante sauce, into a healthier, vegetarian option.
The sauce is simple and relies on four basic spices: cumin, oregano, chili powder, and garlic. Here’s a tip I learned from my mom, who spend her formative years in Texas: buy the spices from the Hispanic section of your grocer. They are cheaper and fresher. Instead of the bacon grease, I’ve subbed butter. For the chicken stock, use veggie.
You can make these true enchiladas by dipping the tortillas in the sauce and then rolling the filling in them, but this is messy and more time consuming, so I layer them in lasagna-style. The taste is identical, and the presentation may be lacking, but that’s never my top concern. I also like mine extra sauce-y, so I do a double batch.
Black Bean, Cheese, and Onion Enchiladas
- 2 T butter
- 6 T chili powder
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 T oregano
- 1 T cumin
- 1 C milk (I use skim and it works fine)
- 1 C vegetable broth
- 2 T flour
- 1 C chopped white or yellow onions
- 12 oz shredded cheese (I like a cheddar and Monterey jack blend)
- 1 can black beans
- 1/2 can corn
- 12 corn tortillas
Melt the butter on medium. Add garlic and heat for 2 minutes. Add flour and spices to make a roux. Cook several minutes. Add liquid and whisk until smooth.
Assemble enchiladas, either by dipping tortillas in the sauce until they are flexible, filling, and rolling, or by layering. Start by covering the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with sauce. After rolls or layers have been assembled, top with remaining sauce and a sprinkling of cheese on top. Spoon salsa down the center of casserole. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes until sauce bubbles and cheese is all melt-y. Serve with avocado slices and more salsa. Enjoy!