I’m almost always in the mood for good Mexican food and this recipe for easy enchiladas is one of my absolute favorites. Hearty and satisfying, they are the perfect make-ahead crock pot dinner for Meatless Monday too!
I realize classic enchiladas may not be a Mexican dish typically associated with clean eating, but there are plenty of things you can do to clean up the conventional recipe without sacrificing flavor.
The Easiest Easy Enchiladas Are Not Necessarily the Cleanest…
Amy’s Kitchen “Mexican Casserole” frozen entree was actually the initial inspiration for my recipe for easy enchiladas. Of course I can’t claim my enchiladas are easier than heating up a frozen entree, but they are not at all difficult to make.
If you are wondering about Amy’s Kitchen brand, I would not go so far as to say they are 100% clean, but overall they do offer some pretty healthy options if you are in a pinch. I like to keep Amy’s on hand for my always-very-hungry 14-year old son, Blake. As with almost all prepared frozen food entrees though, Amy’s portion sizes are rather small and Blake really just eats them as a snack. Basically an enchilada casserole, Amy’s “Mexican Casserole” is his absolute favorite. The ingredients are mostly clean…
If you are following the 8-Week Anti-Inflammatory nutrition program from our Clean Cuisine book the only ingredients that are not 100% “clean” in the Amy’s “Mexican Casserole” would be the two that are highlighted in red above; the cheese and the expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/ or sunflower oil (If you are confused about how to choose clean oils read this).
I decided it was time to come up with cleaner easy enchiladas since Blake seemed to be eating the Amy’s ones with more and more frequency….
Compared to conventional recipes, here’s what I cleaned up in my recipe for easy enchiladas:
- No Refined Oil. I use either organic extra virgin olive oil or organic unrefined red palm oil. (Note: Although I don’t recommend conventional red palm oil, you can read about the incredible nutritional profile of organic unrefined red palm oil here.)
- Lots of Vegetables!
- Twice the amount of beans. Superfood beans are a super clean source of plant protein and antioxidant-rich food that I try to make a point of eating every single day. And for anyone trying to lose weight, the fiber and resistant starch in beans will definitely help!
- Organic Sprouted Tofu. Eating a high percentage of plant-based foods is a huge part of eating clean and swapping organic sprouted tofu for meat not only makes the enchilada recipe easier, it’s cleaner too. Keep in mind, the higher on the food chain you go, the more toxins accumulate—so plant-based protein will always be cleaner than the cleanest organic animal food. I choose organic tofu to avoid GMOs and I choose sprouted because sprouting makes the tofu easier to digest and makes the nutrients within it more bioavailable. I like Wildwood Super Firm Organic Sprouted Tofu.
- Grass-Fed Cheddar (and Not Too Much!) As much as I love it, cheese does not exactly fit into the clean food category. However, a little goes a very long way and it just adds so much flavor that I can’t completely nix cheese from my diet (or cooking!) I do only use a fraction of the amount that a conventional enchilada recipe calls for though. And I make sure to look for grass fed cheese, which is more important to me than organic (when it comes to choosing clean animal foods it is super important to make sure the animals were raised on the food nature intended; cows are designed to eat grass, not grains.) Imported from the British countryside and sold at Whole Foods Market, Sweet Red Grass Cheddar is one of my favorites.
- Sprouted Corn Tortillas. Instead of using flour tortillas made from refined flour, I opt for 100% whole grain sprouted corn tortillas instead. Just like the tofu, sprouting makes the tortillas easier to digest and also releases all the vital nutrients stored within the corn. Food for Life makes a great sprouted corn tortilla (Note: Food for Life has no preservatives so look it in the frozen section.)
Make it Pretty!
Once the enchiladas are done cooking they will NOT look at like the beautiful squares in the photo. They will taste amazing, but they might not look all that amazing. If you want to be able to cut the enchiladas into squares, you will need to allow the enchiladas to cool and then transfer the crock pot insert to the refrigerator and chill for up to 8 hours. Once the mixture is chilled you can cut enchilada squares, heat and serve.
Ok! On with the recipe. Finally.
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil or organic (unrefined red palm oil)
- 6 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 2 organic green or yellow bell peppers (finely chopped)
- 1 box (24.6 ounces chopped tomatoes (such as Pomi))
- 1 can (4 ounces chopped green chiles)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Unrefined sea salt (to taste)
- Cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 10 ounces super-firm organic sprouted tofu (such as Wildwood, patted very, very dry with paper towels and sliced super thin.)
- 2 cans (15 ounces each organic pinto beans (look for a BPA-free brand, such as Eden Organic), rinsed and drained)
- 2 cans (2 1/2 ounces each black sliced olives, drained)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen organic corn (thawed)
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded grass-fed cheddar cheese (such as Sweet Red Grass)
- 8 sprouted whole grain corn tortillas (such as Food for Life)
- Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat; add the garlic and onions and saute 3 to 4 minutes, or until onions soften. Add the bell pepper and cook a few minutes more, until all vegetables are soft. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, green chiles and cumin. Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper.
- Ladle 1/4 of the sauce onto the bottom of a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker.
- Follow that with 1/4 of the tofu, 1/4 of the beans, 1/4 of the olives, 1/4 of the corn, and 1/4 of the cheese. Top that with 2 tortillas and repeat until all of the ingredients are gone. (Note: do not add the tortillas for the final step because they will harden and dry out if they are not covered with sauce)
- Cover and cook on low about 1 hour, or until bubbly throughout. Although you can serve immediately after cooking, you will need to refrigerate for up to 8 hours before you can cut the enchiladas into squares (see notes under “Make it Pretty!” in article above.) However, if you want to serve immediately after cooking, I suggest serving it in a bowl.
For a complete meal, serve alongside a big fresh chopped green salad.
P.S. Looking for More Healthy Dinner Recipes?
If you liked the easy enchiladas, be sure to check out a full month’s menu of delicious healthy dinner recipes (including weekly shopping lists!) in our Clean Cuisine Dinners digital cookbook.