I am always looking for ways to add extra fruits and vegetables to our diet. I take advantage of every opportunity to sneak a little something healthy into our everyday foods: mashed bananas or pureed pumpkin in pancake batter, leafy greens in smoothies, shredded carrots in muffins, broccoli on homemade pizza, the list goes on and on.
Sometimes the addition of healthy ingredients is purely from a desire to include more plant based foods in our diet or feel a little less guilty when indulging in richer foods. Sometimes the reason for adding fruits and vegetables is, honestly, a need to use up ingredients that are left in my produce drawer at the end of the week.
And that, my friends, is how zucchini ended up in these enchiladas. And, I kinda love it. The zucchini not only adds a great deal of extra nutrients and color, but the flavor is a nice addition too. Zucchini is low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of vitamins A and C. It is essentially a blank canvas in the flavor realm; in this recipe it cooks down until tender and absorbs the flavors of enchilada sauce before being wrapped in soft flour tortillas, yum!
A quick note about the ground beef; for some time now I have been exclusively purchasing organic ground beef. It is readily available in grocery stores these days and I stock up on it at Costco for a really reasonable price. If ground beef isn’t your jam, or if you simply don’t like it, ground organic chicken or shredded organic rotisserie chicken can be used in place of the beef. As always, customize the ingredients to fit the foods that you enjoy.
- 1 pound organic ground beef
- 1-2 medium zucchini
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground chili powder
- pinch ground oregano
- 1 (15 oz) jar enchilada sauce; I use 365 brand organic red enchilada sauce
- 10 flour tortillas
- 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese (or mexican blend cheese)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- mashed avocado, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet brown the ground beef, crumbling into small pieces as it cooks. Drain fat from the ground beef using a spoon or paper towel to absorb the extra grease. Shred the zucchini on the large side of a box grater and add to the ground beef. Season with salt, pepper, dried cumin, chili powder, and dried oregano. Cook for 3-5 minutes until zucchini wilts and is tender. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce to the beef and zucchini mixture and stir to coat.
Spray 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray and cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a thin layer of enchilada sauce. Begin the assembly line of making enchiladas. Lay a tortilla on a cutting board and place 1/4 c. filling lengthwise on the side closest to you. Roll the left and right ends of the tortilla toward the center, until they are barely covering the filling then roll the bottom end over and continue until the tortilla is rolled up completely. Rolling the sides in helps to contain the filling.
Place the enchilada seam side down in the casserole dish and continue with remaining tortillas and filling.
Cover the top of the enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake, covered with tinfoil, for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove the tinfoil and continue baking 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melty and begins to brown slightly.
Serve with lots of mashed avocado mixed with lime juice and salt and pepper.
Make ahead tip: Prepare the enchiladas and cover with tinfoil, uncooked. Place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours then bake when you need them. Sometimes I make dinner when my son is napping in the afternoon and this recipe is perfectly flexible in that way. Add 10-15 minutes to bake time if putting them in the oven directly from the refrigerator.
Also, these past couple posts have photos from my iphone…which is not terrible, but its not great either. My husband surprised me with a new DSLR lens to replace the one that has been broken and I can’t wait to begin experimenting. Better photos to come; promise!