I like meat plenty and I have no intentions of becoming a vegetarian anytime soon. That said, I do generally like vegetarian meals and can often go a couple of days without eating any meat and not even realize it. The thing about vegetarian meals, though, is that some of them are truly VEGETARIAN — in that they focus mostly on vegetables — and others are vegetarian in that they just don’t have any meat. You know, mac’n'cheese, cheese pizza, etc. No vegetables in sight, but still vegetarian (and delicious).
Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite foods fall in that second category (ever just had chips and salsa and margaritas for dinner? Big fan.). However, I find that I always just feel good – both physically and mentally — when I eat stuff in that first category.
This meal is squarely in that first category, and it. Is. AWESOME. I wrecked this dish. And look at all those veggies! Sweet potatoes, corn, spinach, multiple types of peppers…and cauliflower! Prior to these enchiladas, neither the preparation nor the enjoyment of cauliflower had ever taken place in this kitchen. I’m not quite ready to start gnawing on the remaining head of cauliflower in my fridge, but that cauliflower was totally eatable (and possibly even good?) in these enchiladas.
STACKED VEGGIE ENCHILADA BAKE (slightly adapted from Perry’s Plate)
2 poblano chiles, cut into matchsticks
2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and cut into matchsticks
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2-3 tbsp olive or canola oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chile powder
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
juice of one lime
2 cups salsa
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
9-10 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack, pepperjack, etc.)
green onions, sliced, for topping
1. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly oil a large rimmed cookie sheet or roasting pan.
2. Place poblanos, red bell peppers, jalapenos, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive/canola oil and sprinkle cumin, chili powder, and minced garlic on top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then stir/mix vegetables so they are coated with oil. Spread vegetables evenly in pan and roast for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350.
3. Prepare 8×8 or 9x9x square pan with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir cilantro and lime juice into salsa. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into bottom of baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, torn as needed to completely cover salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with a final layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through. Let sit for 5 minutes after baking and cut into squares. Top with green onions and serve.
This was delicious! And incredibly filling. Two notes — don’t skimp on the salt when you’re roasting the veggies, and make sure to use a relatively deep pan when assembling your layers. I used a shallow casserole dish and I ran out of room for all the layers. It wasn’t a big deal (I just started throwing stuff in the pan!), but if having perfect layers is important to you, make sure you use a sufficiently deep pan.