On Not Quite the Whole Enchilada

Italian, and Mexican foods were a staple of my vegetarian diet.  I didn’t give much thought to the fact that most meals were delivery systems for dairy.  From cannoli to manicotti, and burritos to enchiladas, cheese in a blanket slept on my plate for many years.

Going vegan changes the equation a bit.  Off the menu Mexican options are obviously fewer thwp-1489240548407.jpgan they were as a vegetarian.  Unlike my former favorite tubular Italian favorites, Mexican tubes are easy to fill with beans, and veggies.

Still, there’s something quite flavorful I remember about cheese enchiladas.  In particular I have to admit to some seriously fond memories of the enchilada plate at Baja’s in Orange, CT, USA.  I don’t know how they did it, but that dish was perfection (save for the whole dairy part).

So I set out to recreate that flavor.  I missed the mark admittedly, but I did comwp-1489240486109.jpge up with something I enjoyed pretty thoroughly.  Though it might be more of a hybrid between a bean burrito, and a cheese enchilada.

I started out with a simple whole wheat tortilla.  I like the Whole Foods organic brand, but
of course any will do.  On top of that, I added some baked beans.  I prefer pinto beans, because I think they offer a sweeter flavor.  Of course, black beans are just as viable an option.

Some onion, a bit of Tofurky Chorizo, jalepenos, and red enchilada sauce fill out the mixture.  It’s the choice of vegan cheese that I think I got wrong.  Normally, Follow Your Heart is exceptional across the board.  Their blocks of cheese are good, but they aren’t quite as versatile as their other products.

In this case, I wenwp-1489240536818.jpgt with the Vegan Gourmet Cheddar.  While I’ve used this cheddar to make a decadent green bean casserole type of dish, it just was a little to processed a flavor for my enchilada.

After folding the wrap, I topped it with red enchilada sauce, and some Daiya cheddar shreds.  I then threw it in the oven on 350 for about 15-20 minutes.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t long enough to melt the cheese inside, which made it that much more of a mismatch for the recipe.

Next time around, I’ll likely try Daiya shreds inside the wrap.  Even if they don’t melt, those shreds are more consistent with their flavor.  Regardless of the cheese misstep, I will say that I did enjoy this experiment quite a bit.

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