Friday, May 7, 2010

Vegan Cinco de Mayo Celebration

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I made my favorite vegan enchilada recipe this week and, realizing that I hadn’t shared it with crEATe yet, decided to make it the subject of this week’s blog post in case readers feel so inspired to have a post-Cinco de Mayo celebration. 

If you’re vegan—or enjoy vegan cooking—and don’t own a copy of Robin Robertson’s Vegan Planet, this book should be your next cookbook purchase.  Robertson offers a short guide to eating vegan, explains foods that may be unfamiliar to non-vegans (tofu, tempeh, seitan, nutritional yeast, etc.), suggests dairy and egg substitutions, and lays the foundation for a successful vegan kitchen.  The cookbook’s 400 recipes are divided into nineteen sections that include appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, “food that sizzles,” “the global oven,” vegan pizza, desserts, breakfasts, and many others.  Her recipes are generally simple, require ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores, and cost-effective. 

I modified Robertson’s recipe for Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas, adding tempeh for extra protein.  Soy cheese on top would also be delicious!

Enchilada Casserole with Black Beans, Sweet Potatoes, and Tempeh
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1-15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ brick tempeh, diced
1-14.5oz. can diced tomatoes, drained (you could also use fresh tomatoes)
Plenty of chili powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 jar of your favorite salsa
6-8 large whole wheat flour tortillas
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly oil a 9x13-inch baking pan and arrange the diced sweet potatoes in a single layer. Roast until tender for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through baking time.  Remove from the oven and set aside.  Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the rest of the enchilada filling.  Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and sautee until fragrant.  Add beans, tempeh, diced tomatoes, and chili powder and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  When sweet potatoes are finished roasting, add them to the frying pan and cook two minutes longer to allow flavors to mix.
  3. Spread half the salsa over the bottom of a lightly oiled baking pan (you can use the same one the sweet potatoes roasted in to save on dishes). 
  4. To assemble the enchiladas: place a tortilla on the counter.  Spoon a portion of the filling down the center of the tortilla and roll it up, tucking the ends underneath.  Place the tortilla in the baking dish seam side down.  Repeat with the other tortillas, reserving about ¾ cup of the mixture.
  5. Spread the remaining salsa over the top of the enchiladas and top with reserved filling.  Cover the pan and bake for about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. 
  6. Serve with chips and homemade guacamole. Enjoy!
Notes: This recipe can be extremely flexible. Here are some substitutions you might try:
  • Refried beans instead of black beans
  • Butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes
  • Tofu or seitan instead of tempeh
  • Corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas
  • Fresh tomatoes or homemade salsa would always be a great recommendation
  • Green enchilada sauce instead of salsa (this is one of my favorite substitutions)
Working my way through Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, I also made some pretty successful oatmeal raisin cookies this week.  I altered Moskowitz and Romero’s recipe, substituting agave nectar for cane sugar, and decreasing the flour and adding more flaxseed and a little bit of cornstarch for some extra fiber and omega-3s and consistency.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies
1 large very ripe banana, mashed
¼ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable oil
1/3 cup agave nectar
½ cup flour
½ cup ground flaxseeds
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
½ cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together the banana, oil, and agave.  Add the flour, flaxseeds, cornstarch, and baking soda and stir until uniform.  Dough will be moist  Fold in the oats and raisins.
  3. Roll the dough into balls and flatten a bit on the top.  Place each cookie about two inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool on cookie sheet for two minutes.  Enjoy!


  1. Very yum! So simple. and i am sure it feeds a crowd.

  2. I am going to make these this week!