Of all the worldly cuisines, I think dining at a Mexican restaurant is one of the easiest as a vegan. Sure, meat and cheese take the starring role in traditional dishes, but most of the texture and flavor in Mexican cuisine comes from plant-based foods. Think about it – you’ve got warm rice, creamy guacamole, spicy pico de gallo, crisp lettuce, a crunchy tortilla, and a smooth smear of refried beans – just look at all of those layers!
If you’re up for making your own Mexican food at home, the possibilities are pretty much endless. That’s what led me to create these vegan enchiladas with jackfruit and black beans. When pulled apart and sautéed with cumin, paprika, and chili powder, jackfruit mimics the look and feel of chicken – but definitely not in a creepy way.
Unfortunately, jackfruit is lacking in the protein department. So, I did what I always do when a dish needs some hunger-fighting protein power – I added beans. Along with the jackfruit, black beans provide enough dietary fiber to keep you full and satisfied for hours. In other words, this meal is proven to prevent post-dinner snacking. If your grazing habits are anything like mine, this is a huge bonus.
If you’ve never cooked with jackfruit before, there’s absolutely no need to be intimidated. Just watch the video below for a quick tutorial on how to prepare it for saucing and tossing with Mexican spices and green chilies.
These enchiladas are delicious without vegan cheese; don’t feel like you need to add it for the full effect. That being said – if you’ve found a vegan cheese you love and that melts well, just sprinkle it on top before popping your enchiladas in the oven. And please, fill me in on your favorite brand! I’ve yet to find a shredded vegan cheese that doesn’t taste like plastic.
- 1 20-oz. can jackfruit in water or brine, drained
- 1 15.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup salsa
- 1 tsp. cumin, divided
- ¾ tsp. paprika, divided
- ¾ tsp. chili powder, divided
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 4-oz. can diced green chilies, drained
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 10-oz. can red enchilada sauce
- 8 whole-wheat tortillas (I used taco sized)
- 1 cup vegan cheese, optional
- Sliced avocado and fresh cilantro, for serving
- Drain the jackfruit and rinse with cold water. Transfer the jackfruit pieces to a cutting board and slice off the tough core and remove the seeds. Add the fleshy, stringy part of the jackfruit to a mixing bowl and pull apart by hand (watch the video above for a visual demonstration). Blot with a few layers of paper towel to remove excess moisture and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the black beans, salsa, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon paprika, and ½ teaspoon chili powder; season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Use a fork to lightly mash the black beans and give the mixture a good stir.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Drizzle the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and place over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes. Add the jackfruit and the remaining ½ teaspoon of cumin, ¼ teaspoon of chili powder, and ¼ teaspoon of paprika; continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until most of the moisture from the jackfruit has evaporated. Add the diced green chilies and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally, stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted, about a minute more. Remove from heat.
- Pour ½ cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. If necessary, heat your tortillas in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, until soft and pliable. Add a spoonful of the black bean mixture to the center of each tortilla, followed by a scoop of the jackfruit mixture. Roll the tortillas up and place them seam-sided down in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce on top to completely cover the enchiladas, followed by the vegan cheese, if using. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges of the tortillas are slightly crisped and the sauce is bubbly.
- Serve enchiladas warm with sliced avocado and fresh cilantro.