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Vegetarian Enchiladas with Chipotle Chile Cream Sauce

As we have transitioned to a more plant-based diet, we are selecting more whole grain foods. This was confusing for me at first. I learned that the The Whole Grain Council created the “Whole Grain” stamp to help consumers identify real whole-grain food products. The 100% stamp guarantees that each serving contains a full serving or more of whole grains. The 50% stamp means each serving contains 50 percent of a whole-grain serving. So, now when I make enchiladas, I buy whole wheat tortillas rather than white. When I was shopping for this recipe, I was surprised to see that the Mission® whole wheat tortillas have this stamp. Finding the stamp on a product is so much easier than reading all the ingredients to ensure the product is, in fact, whole grain.

Some companies may sell whole-grain products but are not yet using the stamp. If a product does not bear the stamp, its label should list the number of grams of whole grain in each serving or say “100% whole wheat”. I learned I can trust that term. I also learned if I see the terms “whole grain” (name of grain), “whole wheat”, “whole” (other grain), “stoneground whole” (grain), “brown rice”, “oats”, “oatmeal” (including old-fashioned and instant), or “wheat berries” I can feel confident I am eating whole grain.

To help us adjust to a new eating style, my son shared his favorite vegan cookbook with me, “The Happy Health Plan.” The authors live in Ireland and run a vegan restaurant called The Happy Pear. I must admit I struggled making recipes from this book as they measure all their ingredients by grams rather than ounces—converting the ingredients was difficult for me. I have made their vegan enchiladas several times and have tweaked and changed their recipe until it has my own personal touch and a more Mexican-cuisine flavor. Don’t worry. My version uses ounces, not grams.

Carol Ann’s Vegetarian Enchiladas with Chipotle Cream Sauce Serves 2 to 4  

Enchilada is the past participle of the Spanish word “enchilar”, which means to add chili pepper to or “to season or decorate with chili.” So, in keeping with the meaning, I have garnished my enchiladas with red chiles and pickled jalapeño slices. We are not big fans of black beans, so I use pinto instead. If you love black beans, use them instead. If you can’t find fire-roasted diced tomatoes salsa style, substitute fire-roasted or your favorite salsa.

To soak cashews for cream sauce:

⅔ cup cashew nuts Boiling water for soaking nuts

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium bowl, place cashews and cover with boiling water. Soak cashews for 30 minutes.

For the enchilada sauce: 1 (10.75-ounces) can tomato purée ½ cup vegetable stock 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon lime zest 1 tablespoon maple syrup ½ tablespoon chili powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon salt In a large bowl, place tomato purée, vegetable stock, lime juice and zest, maple syrup, chili powder, garlic and onion powders, cumin, and salt and whisk until well combined. Set aside. For the filling: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ½ cup red onion, chopped ½ cup green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped 1 (15.5-ounces) can pinto beans, drained 1 cup whole kernel sweet corn, drained 1 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped 2 cups Kroger® fire-roasted diced tomatoes, salsa style In a small skillet, place olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until crisp tender, about 4 minutes. In a large saucepan, place red onion, green bell pepper, beans, corn, roasted red peppers, and fire-roasted tomatoes over a medium heat and cook until heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes.

To assemble tortillas:

6 whole wheat tortillas Enchilada filling Enchilada sauce Lay tortillas on a work surface one at a time. Place 1/6th enchilada filling down the center of each tortilla and roll tightly. Place rolled tortillas seam-side down in a 12 by 8-inch ovenproof dish. Pour enchilada sauce evenly over the top and bake for 5 minutes.

For the chipotle cream sauce:

Soaked cashews ¾ cup oat or almond milk 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, minced 1 tablespoon adobo sauce 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon lime zest ½ teaspoon salt Drain and rinse soaked cashews. In a blender, place cashews, non-dairy milk, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, garlic, lime juice and zest, and salt and blend until smooth. Drizzle the chipotle chile sauce over the enchiladas and garnish as desired. For the garnish:

1 red chile, thinly sliced Pickled jalapeno slices Avocado slices Fresh cilantro, chopped Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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