Thursday, June 7, 2012

Enchiladas: Pantry Cooking

I know it's spring and it's hardly a time to cook from your pantry -- what with all the asparagus and rhubarb floating about the market, not to mention the first strawberries of the season?  Summer is around the corner and fresh salads and local fruits and veggies should be a staple.  But sometimes, even in the middle of a lovely spring harvest, we need our pantries.

Maybe it's a rainy weekend what you can't get out to market, and a quick dash to the convenience store down the street is all that you can manage. Or maybe it's that crunch time of the year when you can't get organized enough to shop for the week and you find yourself home from work without having stopped for groceries. It's a good time to pull out those pantry recipes. You know, those recipes that you can put together in a snap that are filling and pleasing and leave lots of leftovers for tomorrow?  Here's a good one for you. You probably have everything you need in your pantry or freezer right now.  Yes, there's canned and frozen veggies instead of fresh, but sometimes, convenience rules and you don't have to feel guilty about that.

I've made these simple black bean and rice enchiladas twice, inspired by a post at That's So Vegan. It's got bold, spicy flavours and comforting carbs, plus a little cheesy topping that goes a long way. The best part is that it make a whole lot, so you can totally entertain with it, or keep it in the fridge for a few more meals to come. A squeeze of lime and a hit of fresh cilantro, or some diced avocado on the side would make this dish even better, but don't sweat it. It tastes wonderful even without the added goodies. Can't get tortilla wraps easily?  No problem. Skip the rice in the filling, and steam it up on the side.  Serve your filling over the rice like a chili. Done!

Don't feel bad about cooking from your pantry in the spring.  Sometimes we all need a bit of pantry love. Wishing you lots of sunshine, spring veggies and yummy suppers!

Easy Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas
inspired by That's So Vegan

serves 3-6 depending on appetite sizes!

1 medium carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of frozen corn
1 large can of diced tomatoes,
1 cup of water or stock
1 large handful of basmati rice
6-8 tortillas
1/3 cup of grated cheese (I use mozzarella)

1. In a large pot, saute the carrot, celery, onion, green pepper and garlic in olive oil for 5-7 minutes, or until they start to soften and become fragrant. Add the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and mix well.

2. Add the black beans, corn, tomatoes, stock and mix well.  Bring to a boil and add the rice.  Cook, covered for about 10-12 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is thickened.  Turn off the heat and let it cool slightly while your oven heats up.

3. In a 9'13 pan, add a thin layer of your filling mixture to the bottom. Now it's assembly time! Take a tortilla in your hand and put some of the filling in the middle -- I would say about 1/4 cupish -- just eyeball it.  Now, wrap up the filling nice and tight (better than I did!) and lay it seam-side down on the pan.  Repeat until you fill the pan. I got 6 the first time I made it, and 8 the next.

4. If you have more filling left over, spread it over the top of the enchiladas . Sprinkle it with cheese and pop it in your 350 degree oven for about 15ish minutes -- just so the cheese gets gooey and the tortillas get a tiny bit crispy in the edges.

5. Serve with your favourite toppings (sour cream, diced green onion, avocado) or just plain is a-ok.


  1. I've never made enchilada's, but in the middle of winter, this is the kind of food I want to eat! Looks good!

  2. thanks Ursula! go for it! it's super easy and perfect winter comfort food. :)