During these cold winter months about the only thing my body seems to crave is comfort foods; so comfort foods I eat. But I also want to feel good after I eat so I love to re-create my favorite comfort foods into nutritious, healthier versions. Enchiladas, for example, are one of the ultimate comfort foods that I could eat week after week. However, a typical enchilada entree served at a restaurant is far from healthy, estimating around 700 calories, 40 g total fat, 25 g saturated fat, only 4 g fiber and more than your daily requirements for sodium. Believe me that type of meal will leave you feeling anything but well.
The other night I put together a healthier enchilada recipe that is much lower in calories, fat, sodium and higher in fiber and nutrients. These guilt-free stacked enchiladas came out delicious and were so easy to make. Most importantly this simplified version will satisfy your craving for spicy, warm, and cheesy comfort food without weighing you down. Actually, it will leave you feeling “comfortable.”
Stacked Black Bean and Zucchini Enchiladas
makes 4 servings (1/4 of enchilada pie)
1.5 cups spicy home-made enchilada sauce (recipe below) or store bought enchilada sauce
3 whole grain tortillas
2 zucchinis, grated and divided into 2 halves
1 cup cooked black beans
1.5 cups shredded reduced fat cheese (I used a mixture of two kinds of medium cheddar)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a baking dish spread 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce on bottom of dish. Coat tortilla with enchilada sauce and lay in dish. Top with 1 grated zucchini, 1/2 cup black beans, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Coat another tortilla in enchilada sauce and lay in baking dish on top of the shredded cheese. Top with 1 grated zucchini, 1/2 cup black beans, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Coat the last tortilla in enchilada sauce and lay in baking dish on top of shredded cheese. Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top of stacked tortilla and cover with 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into 4 triangles and serve warm.
Recipe Note: You can easily turn this vegetarian version into a meat version by substituting 1/4 cup beans for 1 oz cooked meat. For this recipe that would be 4 oz of shredded chicken, lean beef, or turkey in place of 1 cup black beans. Also, This recipe easily doubles and you can make the stacked enchiladas side by side in a larger baking dish. These also freeze well and keep up to 6 months in the freezer.
Nutritional facts per serving: 306 calories, 11 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 618 mg sodium, 40 g total carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 20 g protein
Spicy Home-Made Enchilada Sauce
makes 6 servings (.25 cups per serving) about 1.5 cups total
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green chilis, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 (14.5 ounce) can reduced sodium canned chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth or water
1/4 teaspoon each: sea salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes until vegetables soften. Add some water or vegetable broth while cooking if onion mixture starts to stick to pan while cooking. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use the enchilada sauce as is for a chunky sauce or blend for a smoother texture.
Nutritional facts per serving (.25 cups per serving): 39 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber, 1 g protein
BALANCE IT OUT: Balance this meal out with a big salad. I eat my enchilada on top of a bed of lettuce and then I don’t even need to worry about salad dressing. Guacamole, salsa, and low fat sour cream would all work great alongside this meal.