Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I Ate: Vegan Enchiladas

I don't normally eat vegan but I am in a book club and one of the members is vegetarian and another member can't eat cheese, so I try to make something everyone can eat.  Usually, this translates directly into salad, but I wanted to try something different.

I have been experimenting in making roasted tomatillo/anaheim pepper sauce for a couple of months now and I stumbled upon this Green Enchiladas recipe when I decided to try a dish without cheese.  It's spinach and mushrooms wrapped tortillas with a roasted tomatillo sauce and cashew cheese on top.  The "cheese" for the dish is roasted poblano pepper/cashew cream spread on top after the dish has been baked.  Cashews soaked in water and then blended up seem to be the go-to item for any vegan dish requiring a cream or a cheese.  It tastes pretty good but cashews are awfully expensive.  When I make this again, I may just skip the cashews and just blend the poblanos with a lowfat sour cream and call it good since I am not vegan.

The secret weapon in this recipe is roasting the peppers.  Roasting peppers may seem difficult, but it is a super easy way to add fabulous taste to a dish.  I myself don't like to have to turn peppers under the broiler or over a grill to get them all black; you do have to watch it constantly.  But I read about a great trick in Cook's Illustrated: cut the peppers in half and seed them before hand and then put them cut side down on your baking sheet.  Then when you stick them under the broiler, you just have to put on a timer for 10 minutes or so.  It works great.  You still have to peel them but if you stick them in a brown bag for a few minutes as they are cooling, it makes the process much easier.   Then you throw the roasted peppers in the food processor with whatever else you need in a sauce and you have perfect yumminess every time.

I modified her recipe a bit by using a lot more mushrooms--portabellas specifically because I wanted big pieces--and roasting anaheims with my tomatillos for the sauce.   I also microwave my tortillas to soften them because dipping them in the sauce is messy and doesn't always work.  I made another batch on the side with ground turkey spiced with chile powder and cumin along with the mushrooms and spinach and that was really tasty. 

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