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Creamy Eggplant Lentil Enchiladas (vegan!)

VEGETABLES AND LENTILS
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp chili flakes
6 cups diced eggplant (from 1 medium eggplant, 1/2-inch dice)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 cups cooked black (beluga) lentils (from 1 cup dry lentils)
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup pitted green olives, finely chopped (optional)

CHEESY CASHEW CREAM SAUCE
1 cup raw cashews, soaked and drained
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

ENCHILADA SAUCE
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder (the mild kind)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups crushed tomatoes (see note)

FOR ASSEMBLING
12 small (4-6-inch) corn or flour tortillas

MAGIC GREEN SAUCE (FOR SERVING)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ripe avocado
Big spoonful of tahini
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Big handful each fresh cilantro and fresh basil
1/2 cup water

Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the remaining salt, freshly ground black pepper, chili flakes, and eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook for five more minutes. Stir in the lentils, basil, cilantro, and olives and remove from the heat.

Make the cheesy cashew cream: Add the cashews, lemon juice, water, salt garlic, and nutritional yeast to a blender. Blend until smooth and transfer to a container or jar. If need be, add up to 3 tbsp more water to help it along. The cream should be thick but still pourable.

Make the enchilada sauce: In a skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a tiny pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, until nicely browned. Add salt, pepper, cumin chili powder, and oregano. Cook a couple more minutes to brown the spices before adding the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook until it thickens slightly. Remove from the heat.

Pour the cheesy cashew cream over the lentil vegetable mixture and stir to incorporate.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly oil two 9×13-inch baking dishes.

Assemble the enchiladas: Place a heaping 1/3 cup of the filling down the middle of a tortilla, roll up, and place in a lightly greased baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. (You will need 2 9×13-inch baking dishes to fit all of the enchiladas.)

Pour the enchilada sauce over top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Make the magic green sauce: Place the lime juice, avocado, tahini, garlic, salt, pepper, cilantro, basil, and water in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve the magic green sauce alongside the enchiladas, and top the enchiladas with quick-pickled jalapeños, if desired.

www.upbeetkitchen.com