These sweet potato and black bean enchiladas are a healthy vegetarian recipe that the whole family will love! Packed with nutrients and made lower in fat by steaming the veggies, you’re going to love how flavorful these enchiladas are. Plus, you can make them ahead and freeze them!
Smoky and spicy, these enchiladas are the perfect combination of textures and flavors with mashed sweet potatoes and spices, red bell peppers, canned black beans, and lots of fresh cilantro, topped with cheese and baked to bubbly perfection.
These are so tasty and hearty and warm and flavorful and everything that you love about comfort food, but are both vegetarian and really healthy! They’re the perfect thing if you’re a meat-lover trying to eat more plants, or for a “Meatless Monday” recipe.
The recipe makes a ton, so we always eat leftovers for lunch throughout the week.
Plus, you can easily adapt them to be both gluten-free or vegan, if that’s your thing.
What makes these enchiladas healthy?
For one thing, all the vegetables are steamed, instead of boiled or sautéed.
Did you know that when you boil vegetables in water, approximately 20% of the nutrients are lost in the water?
Steaming cooks vegetables just as well as boiling without the loss of nutrients. Plus, unlike sautéing or roasting the vegetables, no extra oil is needed to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
I use a steamer basket – I love that you just stick it in any pot you have and it conforms to the size. But you can use any steamer you want.
For another thing, sweet potatoes and black beans are two of the most nutrient-packed, beneficial foods you can eat.
Praised for their high levels of beta carotene and vitamins A and B, sweet potatoes are a much healthier alternative to a normal potato. Black beans are high in both protein and fiber, a rarity in legumes and vegetables.
How to make sweet potato black bean enchiladas
- First, steam the veggies. Place a diced sweet potato, red bell pepper, and onion in your steamer and cook it for about 20 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork and they’re soft. While you’re waiting, you can chop some cilantro and drain and rinse some canned black beans.
- Next, make the filling. Use a potato masher to mash the steamed veggies with some fresh cilantro, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then, stir in the black beans.
- Assemble the enchiladas. Add a layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish (I used my homemade chipotle enchilada sauce), then stuff each tortilla with the filling, roll and place seam-side down, and top with more sauce and cheese.
Can I make them gluten-free?
Yes! Just substitute the flour tortillas for corn. I recommend toasting the corn tortillas first, so they are easier to roll up without crumbling, and so they hold up better when baking.
How do I make these enchiladas vegan?
Easy peasy. Just substitute your favorite vegan melting cheese substitute for the Monterey jack cheese. You can also just omit the cheese, if you prefer.
Tips and tricks
- I like to warm my flour tortillas in the microwave, wrapped in a damp paper towel, for about 30 seconds or so before filling them. This makes them a little more malleable, so they’re easier to stuff really full without them breaking.
- You can make these enchiladas spicier by adding a diced jalapeño pepper to the vegetables in the steamer basket, or adding some cayenne pepper to the filling.
- If you don’t like cilantro, just leave it out! Or you can add some lime zest/juice in the filling mixture for a little extra bright flavor.
- Serve the leftovers for brunch with a poached egg and sliced avocado on top. YUM.
Other Enchilada Recipes
- For a non-vegetarian enchilada recipe, try these turkey enchiladas with black beans and corn, these easy chicken enchiladas, or these chicken enchiladas verdes with spinach.
- For another vegetarian option, try these vegetarian enchiladas verdes.
- Don’t like rolling up enchiladas? Try this chicken and corn enchilada casserole or this Mexican lasagna instead.
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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
- steamer basket
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
- large onion diced
- red bell pepper diced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 15 oz. canned black beans drained and rinsed (1.5 cups)
- 8 oz. shredded Monterey jack cheese (about 2 cups)
- 10 flour tortillas
- 2 cups enchilada sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Steam the sweet potato, onion, and bell pepper until you can pierce the sweet potato easily with a fork (approximately 15 minutes)
- Remove vegetables from the steamer with a spoon and add to a medium sized bowl. Add the smoked paprika (1 teaspoon), cumin (1/2 teaspoon), ground coriander (1/2 teaspoon), garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon), kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon), and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon), and cilantro, and use a potato masher to mash the vegetables until not quite smooth (leave a few lumps for texture).
- Add black beans to vegetables; stir to combine.
- Add a few spoonfuls (about 1/4 cup) of enchilada sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
- Warm the tortillas in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel for 30-45 seconds, to help make them more pliable.
- Divide the sweet potato mixture evenly into each tortilla, roll, and place seam-side down in the baking dish.
- Top enchiladas evenly with remaining enchilada sauce, and sprinkle with the cheese.
- Bake covered with foil for 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until cheese is completely melted and starting to brown.
- I use my own homemade chipotle enchilada sauce for these, but any store-bought enchilada sauce will work as well.
- Love cheese? Add more inside each enchilada, as well as sprinkling on top.
- Make ahead directions: cover with foil and keep in your fridge for 3-5 days. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes, uncovered for 10.
- Freezer directions: wrap tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes directly from the freezer, uncovered for 10-15 more minutes.
- Make it gluten-free: use corn tortillas instead of flour. I recommend toasting them before to help them not fall apart.
- Make it vegan: use your favorite vegan cheese substitute, or leave it out.
- Don't like cilantro? Use some fresh lime juice and zest in the filling as a substitute.
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious in October 2014. It has been republished with new photos, an improved recipe, and more pertinent information in the body of the post.