This recipe for pinto bean enchiladas is super hearty with a filling of slow-cooked smoky and spicy pinto beans and spinach, a quick and easy homemade enchilada sauce and topped with creamy avocado, sweet red onion and fresh cilantro. And in case you didn’t notice, these enchiladas are totally vegan, too!
It’s been a loooong time since I’ve done an enchilada recipe. The last one was these sweet potato and black bean enchiladas (excuse the crappy photos from the blog’s beginnings!). Sweet potato and black beans is one of my favorite combinations so why mess with a good thing? Or so I thought.
Enchiladas are like tacos; you can roll pretty much anything into them, so why did it take me so long to get creative with the enchiladas? No idea, but there sure are some great vegan enchilada recipes out there so it’s about time I started to get creative with them!
So here are my smoky pinto bean and spinach enchiladas, and they’re so delicious! Pinto beans lend themselves so well to smoky spices like paprika and cumin and when you cook them from dry until they’re really soft, they make a creamy sauce with their cooking liquid to fill out your enchiladas without the need for cheese.
I don’t top my vegan enchiladas with cheese either since melty vegan cheese isn’t yet something that you can buy in Spain, but the creaminess of the avocado does a great job of taking its place. If you want to sprinkle some cheese over yours before popping them in the oven (and you like in a country where vegan cheese is a thing), by all means go ahead.
These pinto bean enchiladas are great served with Spanish rice, similar to the rice base of my vegan burrito bowls. Since the enchilada recipe is not the quickest one around (cooking the beans and all), you can take advantage of the cooking time to prepare a side dish if you want.
But once the beans are cooked, everything is really quick and easy to put together. Simply whip up an easy blender enchilada sauce with simple ingredients and a few key spices, fill your tortillas with the bean and spinach filling, roll ‘em up and pour the sauce on top then into the oven for 20 minutes. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle over the toppings and there you go! Delicious vegan pinto bean enchiladas on the table!
For the pinto bean and spinach filling
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 500 grams (1.1 pounds) dry pinto beans, soaked overnight
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 250 grams (8.8 oz) fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon smoky paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Pepper, to taste
For the enchilada sauce
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 5 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1/4 of a medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 green chili pepper, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the enchiladas
- 6 large tortillas
- 1 avocado, diced
- Half a small red onion, diced
- 1 - 2 green onions, chopped
- A small bunch of cilantro
- Lime slices (optional)
For the filling
- Heat a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat and add a splash of water (or oil if you prefer), the onion and the garlic. Sautee until soft then add the soaked and drained pinto beans, bay leaves, ½ teaspoon of salt and enough water to cover by about 2.5 cm (1 inch). Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans are soft. For me it took about an hour but it will depend on the freshness of your beans. Watch them and add more water if the pot starts to dry.
- When the beans are soft you should still have a bit of water in the pot. Give them a stir and you should start to get a creamy sauce. If not, cook them a bit longer. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the spinach, remaining salt, paprika, cumin, cayenne soy sauce and pepper.
For the enchilada sauce
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Depending on the thickness of your tomato sauce, you can transfer it to a pan over medium heat to reduce until thickened if desired. I use thick Spanish tomate frito so I don’t reduce my sauce.
For the pinto bean enchiladas
- Preheat your oven to 170°C (350°F).
- Pour about ¼ cup (60 ml) of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of your baking dish. Fill each tortilla with some of the pinto bean mixture and roll it up. If your tortillas crack, warm them in the oven for about a minute. Place them seam side down in the baking dish. Once all the enchiladas are filled, pour over the remaining sauce and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until heated through.
- Once out of the oven, top with avocado, red onion, green onion, and cilantro. Serve with lime slices, if desired.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 enchilada
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 546 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1073mg Carbohydrates: 94g Fiber: 20g Sugar: 6g Protein: 26g