Kale and Pinto Enchiladas

For me enchiladas fall into that starchy-cheesy category of food that is so basic and comforting I can’t help but eat far too much of it. (Lasagne and its cousins manicotti and stuffed shells are definitely in that category as well). But these enchiladas are a little different. They’re just as soul-nourishing as the usual ones, but they have kale! and zucchini! and pinto beans! and almost no cheese (which may or may not be a selling point, but if you’re like me and you eat way too much cheese as it is, I think it’s a good thing).

I found this gem of a recipe on a blog I’ve grown really fond of (Daily Unadventures in Cooking ), with enchilada sauce adapted from Mark Bittman, who I’ve only recently started paying attention to and now think is an absolute genius. I’ve seen his books and column around for ages, but for some reason it took me years to sit and look at them with more than a passing glance – which I’m now realizing was my loss!

Anyway, as I’m sure you know, enchiladas can be challenging to attractively photograph, so I’m sorry for the completely mutilated specimen below. I just wanted to show you all the good stuff packed inside these!

Recipe:
(adapted from Daily Unadventures in Cooking)

2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 jalapenos, finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 small zucchinis, grated
salt and pepper
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 recipe enchilada sauce (below)
12 small corn tortillas
a handful or two of grated jack or cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and jalapenos and stir for a minute. Add the zucchini, cumin and a big pinch of salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add kale and stir until soft.

Remove from heat and stir in a a few grinds of black pepper, the pinto beans, green onion, cilantro, and a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce.

Put together the enchiladas, prepare the tortillas by warming them in a hot skillet for about 30 seconds per side. Spoon a thin layer of enchilada sauce over the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 pan.

Form the enchiladas one at a time: Put a few spoonfuls of filling in a tortilla, roll up and place it in the pan. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Enchilada Sauce
(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)

1 large guajillo chile
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes with their liquid
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 tablespoons lime juice

To prepare the chile, pull off the stem and remove the seeds. Turn on a gas burner and hold the chile just above the flame with metal tongs, turning frequently until blistered and fragrant. Cover with cold water and soak for 15 minutes, then drain and chop finely
Put the oil in a medium saucepan and put over medium heat. Add the chopped guajillo, onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften.
Add the tomatoes, sugar and a bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until thickened stirring occasionally.

Stir in the cilantro and lime juice, then puree with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

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13 Responses to “Kale and Pinto Enchiladas”


  1. 1 Katerina January 13, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Your pictures are gorgeous and I am so glad you enjoyed it! I have also found that enchiladas have become one of my go-to comfort foods. I love that you can sneak healthy things into them like the kale. So glad you are enjoying my site!

  2. 2 Lisa January 13, 2010 at 11:26 am

    These sound so good and nutritious! I may have to up the cheese amount though – I’m a true cheesaholic! I love the idea of kale used in this way.

  3. 3 Cara January 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    You are one brave woman to photograph your enchiladas – I dread trying to make casserole-type-things look good in digital! I can tell these are delish 🙂

  4. 4 Jessica {The Novice Chef} January 13, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    This looks wonderful! I love the photos! Yum!

  5. 5 Erin January 14, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I would eat it, but I know my BF would say “Where’s the beef?” Haha… What a great healthy twist!

  6. 6 branny January 14, 2010 at 5:23 am

    This is most definitely my kind of recipe. Can’t wait!

  7. 7 elly January 16, 2010 at 6:46 am

    These sound really delicious! I’ve been wanting to try a veggie enchilada recipe (that wasn’t just cheese). These look great.

  8. 8 Kate January 18, 2010 at 12:29 am

    I love greens in lasagne. I’ve never thought about putting it in enchiladas. What a good idea! Thanks.

  9. 9 Lizzy August 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Just made these- check out my blog!

  10. 10 Adria Killings October 15, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Very cool enchilada recipe. I’ll give it a try. Wish me luck!

  11. 11 Liz December 30, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I made a variation of these last night and they turned out amazingly.

  12. 12 Z May 6, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Great recipe. In Veganomicon they have a recipe for kale and potato enchiladas that are delicious, but this one is much less time consuming. Thanks!


  1. 1 Kale and Onion Tacos with Guajillo Salsa « Cate's World Kitchen Trackback on April 5, 2010 at 5:14 am

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