Cheesy Black Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Green Sauce
Flour tortillas filled with black beans, green chilies, and cheese, and smothered in a creamy tomatillo sauce and more cheese. These enchiladas are one of those go-to recipes I come back to over and over again.
The first time I made these black bean enchiladas I knew they were destined to be a staple in my home. You know… one of those dishes you find yourself making over and over and over again.
For me, the recipes that I make most often generally check four boxes:
- It’s off-the-charts delicious. For me, this is most important, but not all important.
- It’s easy to make, and include ingredients that won’t break the bank and are easy to find.
- It can be made in advance and/or easily halved, doubled, or tripled at will.
- Leftovers reheat well and are just as good later in the week as they were the night I cooked them.
These enchiladas check all those boxes. Also, both my husband and I find them so delicious that neither one of us can imagine ever getting tired of them. And, maybe it’s all the fiber in the beans, but even though they include a LOT of cheese and some cream in the tomatillo sauce, they somehow don’t leave us feeling weighed down.
Like I said, these enchiladas check aaaaallllll the boxes for me.
Use canned beans or cook up some dried beans
I would pretty much always rather cook up some dried beans than use canned beans for a couple of reasons…
- Dried beans are significantly less expensive than canned
- Cooked dried beans are less likely to cause uncomfortable intestinal gas
- Cooking beans from scratch gives you complete control over flavor
While you do need to plan ahead – soak the beans overnight and then let them simmer for a few hours the next day – the actually hands-on time to prepare a pot of beans is about 5 minutes. I’m not even joking.
So, a pot of slow cooked black beans is my first choice for these enchiladas. Having said that, I’ve used canned black beans the last 3 times I made them because I wanted to make them now and didn’t want to wait for dried beans to cook. They are delicious either way.
The one “from scratch” ingredient that makes a real difference
If I could encourage you to do one extra thing for these enchiladas, it would be to make some homemade flour tortillas. I know, I know. That sounds extreme. Way, waaaaay above and beyond. But hear me out.
Homemade tortillas are actually quite simple to make and are one of those things with a work-to-worth-it ratio that’s exceptionally unbalanced in favor of worth it. This is especially true if you have a stand mixer because the mixer does all the work of kneading the dough for you. After that, it’s just a matter of rolling them out and cooking them for about a minute in a hot dry skillet.
At this point the challenge becomes not eating them all before you can actually use them to make enchiladas. I’m not even joking. They are so much better than the packaged, store bought variety, I feel they need a separate category.
My favorite recipe – the one I’ve been making about once a week for years and years – is published on my other food blog, Of Batter and Dough. It’s one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever published because once you make them, you’re hooked. Ruined for the packaged variety forever. 🙂
Get the recipe for Homemade Flour Tortillas.
If you’re thinking, “But, the tortillas are just going to get smothered in sauce and cheese, so does going through the trouble of making them even make sense?” The answer is yes. We had some guests for dinner last month and I decided that I didn’t want to go through the trouble of making homemade tortillas because of that very reason.
I can tell you right now that it made a difference. Our guests didn’t notice, but my husband and I sure did. Homemade tortillas hold up better under all that sauce and have a noticeably chewier texture. The enchiladas will still be delicious with the packaged variety. But, they’ll be even better with homemade tortillas.
Should you use homemade salsa verde or prepared bottled salsa?
Either one is great. If I am already planning to make some salsa verde, it’s a given that I’ll make extra just for these enchiladas. Otherwise, I’m happy to just pick up a couple bottles of prepared salsa at the supermarket. As long as you choose a variety that tastes good to you, you’ll be golden. My go-to brand is Herdez. To my taste buds, it’s just the right amount of spicy and sour.
Making homemade salsa verde is easy and delicious, especially when tomatillos are in season and plentiful. I highly recommend it. But, a high-quality prepared salsa works just as well in these enchiladas.
Make ahead options
I am not one of those people who can do several things at once. So, whenever possible, if we are having guests for dinner, I try to choose things that can be made in advance. This is so I can actually talk to our guests without being distracted by cooking.
These enchiladas are perfect in that regard because they can be completely prepared in advance. Fill the enchiladas, smother them with sauce and cheese, and cover with aluminum foil or a lid, and put them in the refrigerator. Pop them in a preheated oven about 30 minutes before you want to eat and dinner is served.
More popular meatless main dish recipes:
- Black Bean Soup with Pickled Onions and Cilantro Oil
- Black Bean Tomato Soup
- Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry with Coconut
- Shishito Pepper Tacos with Fried Cheese and Chili Cranberry Sauce
- Tequila Lime Vegan Cauliflower Tacos
- Vegetarian Chili with Pico de Gallo and Chimichurri Sauce
- Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
- Two 15-ounce cans black beans (or, 30-ounces cooked dried black beans)
- 1 cup (9.8 ounces) chopped green chilies
- 2 tbsp green hot sauce (I LOVE Merfs Electric Lime Sauce)
- 5 cups shredded cheese - Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Colby Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend
- 8 flour tortillas (preferably homemade)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 24 ounces (2 1/2 cups) tomatillo salsa or homemade salsa verde
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, for serving
Fill the enchiladas:
- Drain black beans and dump them into a large bowl. Add the chopped green chilies, and 1/2 tsp salt and ground black pepper. Using a potato masher, pastry knife, or your hands, mash the beans until about 50% of the beans are mashed. Stir in the hot sauce and 2 cups of the shredded cheese.
- Working with one tortilla at a time, spread about 1/2 cup of the black bean filling down the center of the tortilla. Roll it up and place it in a 9x13-inch rectangle baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and black bean filling.
Make the sauce:
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the oil to a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Peel and dice the onion and add it to the skillet. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- While the onion cooks, peel and dice the garlic. Add it to the skillet along with the cumin and 1/2 tsp salt and ground black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer.
- Stir in the tomatillo salsa and chopped cilantro to the pan and turn the heat up to medium-high. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat back to medium. Let the sauce simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 - 8 minutes, until it's thickened slightly.
- Stir in the cream and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if desired.
- Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, spreading it to cover them completely. Sprinkle the remaining 3 cups of cheese over the enchiladas.
- Spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick spray and loosly cover the enchiladas. The non-stick spray will keep the cheese from sticking to the foil. If you are using a pan with a lid, use that instead of the foil.
- Bake the enchiladas for 25 - 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bully around the edges of the pan.
- Serve the enchiladas with the fresh, chopped tomatoes.
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