Vegetarian Enchiladas with Butternut Squash and Black Beans
Enchiladas will forever hold a special place in my heart. Mexican vegetarian enchiladas were what I ordered off of the kids menu at my family’s favorite Tex-Mex spot, we eat them for Christmas dinner (it’s true), and enchiladas were one of the first “real” meals I ever learned to cook for myself. Versatile, freezer friendly, and forever delicious, I’ve made enchiladas dozens of different ways over the years. These Vegetarian Enchiladas with Butternut Squash and Black Beans are one of our absolute favorites.
Healthy and packed with colorful veggies, this is a big ol’ pan of cheesy delight. It’s quick to pull together thanks to the help of a few pantry items, and it’s so tasty, I’m just as likely to make a pan of this Mexican vegetarian enchiladas casserole for only for Ben and myself as I am for a group of friends.
I was first introduced to the deliciousness that is butternut squash in vegetarian enchiladas via my creamy white Butternut Squash Spinach Enchiladas. I adore that recipe, and I hope you try it at some point.
For today’s vegetarian enchilada recipe however, I wanted to take a slightly more traditional spin, as well as speed up the cooking process.
About This Vegetarian Enchiladas Recipe
Today’s easy vegetarian enchiladas recipe keeps the butternut squash inspiration but is quicker and more convenient to make, thanks to a few time-saving pantry staples like canned enchilada sauce and black beans.
To give the vegetarian enchiladas extra depth of flavor, I spiced them with cumin and chipotle chili powder, which has a deep, smoky flavor that’s a pleasing contrast to the sweetness of the butternut squash.
The recipe does have a bit of a kick, so if you are ultra sensitive to spice, I’d recommend adding less, then tasting it and adjusting accordingly.
- To Make Vegan. Omit the cheese or use a nondairy cheese alternative.
- To Make Gluten Free. Use certified gluten free corn tortillas. Since corn tortillas are smaller, you are likely to have more enchiladas.
- Vegetarian Enchiladas with Refried Beans. Swap refried beans for the black beans. Spread them in the tortilla, before adding the sautéed butternut squash.
- Vegetarian Enchiladas Without Beans. Simply leave them out or try adding sautéed tofu like in my surprising and oh-so-yummy Vegan Enchiladas. (Another tofu hit: Tofu Tacos!)
- Vegetarian Enchiladas with Sweet Potato. Swap sweet potato or a squash that is similar in texture and flavor to butternut, such as kabocha or hubbard. Just make sure that, for your own sanity, it’s easy to peel and cube.
- Vegetarian Enchiladas with Spinach. Add even more veggies by stirring a few handfuls in with the butternut squash towards the end of its sauté time.
If you want to add meat, I’d suggested sautéed ground turkey (add some additional seasoning). Be sure to check out our family’s favorite Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas!
How to Store, Reheat, Freeze Vegetarian Enchiladas
- To Store. Baked enchiladas can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat enchiladas on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave.
- To Freeze After Baking. Let the pan cool completely. Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- To Make Ahead and Freeze. Enchiladas can be assembled and stored unbaked in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months (let thaw overnight in the refrigerator). Top with red sauce right before baking (do not top, then refrigerate or freeze unbaked, or the enchiladas will become soggy).
What to Serve with Vegetarian Enchiladas
- Salad. This Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad would be delicious as a side dish.
- Refried Beans. Make your meal extra hearty with a side of Instant Pot Refried Beans.
- Margarita. Pour a refreshing Skinny Margarita, and call it complete!
One vegetarian enchilada recipe, so many delicious options! If you decide to try one (or all of them!) I’d love to hear from you.
Vegetarian Enchiladas with Butternut Squash and Black Beans
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion - diced
- 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-cubed butternut squash - about 1 small, 1 1/2-pound squash
- 3 cloves garlic - minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili powder - reduce to 1 or 1/2 teaspoon if sensitive to spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 15-ounce can low sodium black beans - rinsed and drained
- 1 10-ounce can red enchilada sauce - or 1 1/4 cups homemade red enchilada sauce
- 3/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar - Monterey jack, pepper jack, or similar cheese
- 6 taco-sized - about 8-inch whole wheat low-carb tortillas (I used La Banderita brand)
- Optional - for serving: sliced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, additional shredded cheese, additional chopped red onion, nonfat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the squash, garlic, chipotle chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the squash is softened but still has a bit of chew, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste a few pieces of the squash to make sure it’s the right texture overall. Stir in the beans, cooking just to warm through, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
- Spread a thin layer of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Fill the tortillas with a heaping 1/2 cup of the squash and bean filling, roll snugly, then arrange side by side in the dish, seam-side down. Pour the remaining sauce over the top, then sprinkle the top with cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Let cool slightly, then serve with desired toppings.
- To make vegan: Omit the cheese or use a nondairy cheese alternative.
- To make gluten free: Use certified gluten-free corn tortillas. Since corn tortillas are smaller, you are likely to have more enchiladas.
- Enchiladas can be assembled and stored unbaked in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months (let thaw overnight in the refrigerator). Top with red sauce right before baking (do not top, then refrigerate or freeze unbaked, or the enchiladas will become soggy).
- Baked enchiladas can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, let the pan cool completely, then cover tightly. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the oven.
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