My dad is a … ahem how should I put this tactfully?… not so great cook. As long as I could remember his repertoire consisted of two things: veggie burgers (frozen ones that he heated up) and spaghetti. It didn’t matter much when this was broken up by my mom’s and my own cooking, however as I prepared to leave for college I became worried that both of my parents would develop a terrible nutritional deficiency or overdose on a primarily veggie burger and spaghetti diet (I’m convinced it is possible). So I set out to teach my dad to cook. With my dad as my sous-chef we cooked some of our old favorite recipes and even developed a few new ones of our own. Summer sweet potato enchiladas with chipotle jalapeño sauce are the product of that endeavor.
I should also update you that my dad’s cooking abilities have developed tremendously. While he may not be making enchiladas regularly, he can now whip up roasted veggies and he considers an expert in chili.
While sweet potatoes may be thought of as a Fall/Winter food, they are remarkably versatile and feel summery when paired with zucchini or summer squash.
Yield: 5-6 enchiladas, depending how much stuffing you make and use per tortilla
Ingredients for the enchiladas:
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into ½ inch rounds and then each round cut into fourths
- 2 small summer squash/zucchini, cut into pieces that are the same size as the sweet potato
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Piri Piri powder (a spicy Portuguese seasoning; you can substitute for red pepper flakes or cayenne)
- Chipotle Chili Powder
- ½ of a large white or yellow onion, sliced into rounds
- 1 package of veggie chicken or other similar meat substitute (optional)
- ¾ cup frozen corn [preferably Trader Joe’s roasted corn]
- 1 18oz. can of Enchilada sauce (I prefer green)
- 2 tablespoons hot diced jalapeños
- 5-6 tortillas
- shredded cheese, preferably cheddar or something with Mexican flavors (vegan cheese works well)
- Preheat oven to 350 and place black backing sheet in oven.
- Place sweet potato and summer squash chunks in mixing bowl; add olive oil and toss with the vegetables. Add cumin, piri piri, chipotle chili powder, pepper and salt until you have reached the desired level of seasoning. Toss until vegetables are evenly coated with oil and spices. Pour vegetables onto black backing sheet from the oven; bake for approximately 15 minutes (or until sweet potato can be pierced through with a fork and seems mostly cooked), turning vegetables halfway through baking.
- While the squash and potato are baking, grill the onion and veggie chicken on a Panini press. Onion is cooked when it is translucent and has light grill marks on it. The chicken is done when it is hot through the entire piece and has dark brown grill marks. Remove from Panini press and slice both the onion and chicken into pieces that are similar in size to the potato.
- In a mixing bowl, toss together the baked squash and potato, onion, chicken, and frozen corn. Add about ¾ of a cup of the enchilada sauce and 2 tablespoons jalapeños and toss to coat.
- Assemble the enchiladas: distribute filling between 5 or 6 tortillas; roll them and place them seam down in an 8inch casserole dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, thoroughly coating each one. Sprinkle cheese on top. If there is leftover filling you can also sprinkle this on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until enchilada sauce begins to bubble. To get a nice crispy tortilla and cheese layer, broil for an additional 4 minutes.
Some Notes on the Enchiladas:
These are very versatile and can easily be changed based on what ingredients you happen to have available. Regular potatoes or butternut squash can replace the sweet potatoes, “veggie ground round” can replace veggie chicken, kale or spinach can be added, black beans can replace the veggie meat, etc. I tried to not use a frying pan for this, but if you want to sauté some greens or veggie ground round you can do that and then combine all of the various components (enchilada sauce, jalapeños, corn, baked potatoes, etc) in the frying pan. If you don’t have a panini press, the vegetables can be roasted in the oven or cooked in a frying pan.
Ingredients for the Chipotle Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Sauce:
- Plain Greek yogurt [I recommend nonfat]
- Chipotle Chili Powder
- Tomato Paste
- Canned diced hot jalapenos
- Cilantro, stems removed
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. I didn’t provide any quantities because you can make this to your taste. For 2 people I would use about ¾ of a cup of Greek yogurt, and then add the rest of the ingredients to taste.