Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas


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My reacquaintance with squash…

Now, if you had asked me 6 months ago what I thought of the idea of butternut squash black bean enchiladas, a shrug and a “meh” is probably all you would have gotten. I’ve always had an iffy relationship with squash, dating back to the acorn squash my Beloved Stepmom used to make – a mealy, cloying mash covered in butter and brown sugar. Too rich, too mushy, too sweet!

A few months ago Wonderful Wife decided to go meatless. That experiment has become regular practice for her. The result has been a drastic reduction in the amount of meat we eat at home, and I have to say I’m not mad about it at all. We’ve discovered some amazing new ingredients and some killer recipes that I’m excited to share with you, starting with these amazing butternut squash black bean enchiladas!

This recipe was one that Dear Friend Danielle fixed for us on a cozy couples getaway to the beautiful Oregon Coast. I admit I was lukewarm at best when I heard what was on the menu. Obviously, I was proven wrong – and I have copycatted that recipe multiple times now, tweaking and refining to my version of perfection. Delicious and sophisticated, but SIMPLE!

Use the ingredients YOU love!

For this delectable Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe, I use my own enchilada sauce and my own chili powder blend. Of course, you can sub these with your favorites, or give mine a try (recipes coming soon!)! I absolutely love growing my own hot peppers, and drying them out for chili powder blends has changed how I think about chili powder! Speaking of growing peppers, you may want some extra zing to try on top of your enchiladas! Check out this killer Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce!!

It may seem like there are a lot of steps in this recipe, but there truly are only 3 phases. 1) Prep, 2) cook the filling, and 3) assemble! Pretty easy! The trickiest part for me is always peeling and cubing up the butternut squash. They can be a real hazard, so be careful! I strongly recommend investing in a good Y-shaped vegetable peeler.

Here is a great tutorial on how to prep butternut squash

Prep your ingredients before you start cooking

I am a big advocate of prepping ALL of my ingredients before I begin any cooking. As a cook who is always looking for ways to simplify and prevent overwhelm in the kitchen, I have found that this step is HUGE in making the cooking process calm and enjoyable – and if it’s not enjoyable, you’re doing it wrong! After selecting appropriate music, my first step is always to grab my stack of trusty prep bowls and gather ingredients. I really love the process of cleaning, chopping, measuring out all of my ingredients so that the cook goes smoothly and I’m not racing to cut or measure while my food overcooks or boils over. No fun!

You’ll need about 2 ½ cups of cubed butternut squash for this recipe. Most butternuts will yield more than this, so I usually cube up the whole thing, and set aside the leftovers to roast & freeze. (They make a yummy addition to breakfast potatoes, omelets, or delicious soups!)

Next you’ll dice your onion. Wonderful wife & I love onions in all forms, so I leave them relatively big – maybe ½-inch to ¾-inch pieces. You could leave them bigger, or dice them smaller if you have onion-averse folks at the table. Heck, you can cut them however you like! Cut them right out of the recipe for all I care! You do you! ?

Heat check!

For the jalapenos, I go ahead and remove the seeds and white membrane. It’s not that I don’t like the heat, but in this instance, we want these more for flavor than for heat – we’ll get plenty of kick from the chili powder and enchilada sauce. If you’re big on spicy food, go ahead and leave them in.

Set aside ½ cup of the diced onion and 2 tablespoons of the diced jalapeno – we’ll use these when we assemble the enchiladas in a bit. 

Open up your 2 cans of black beans and give them a good rinse. Set aside.

Finely mince 4 cloves of garlic. (Or the equivalent. Recently, my supermarket has been offering up some puny little garlic heads!)

Open your can of rotel, but do not drain it. You can replace this with an equivalent amount of plain canned tomatoes. You could also use 10 oz of diced fresh tomatoes with ½ cup of water or stock. 

Roughly chop ½ cup of fresh cilantro. I’m not a HUGE cilantro guy when it’s used as a garnish, but when it’s used in a cooked recipe it really lends a great flavor. Measure out your chili powder, cumin, water, oil, cheese, enchilada sauce and olives. Assemble your mise en place and you are ready to go.

Cook the filling!

I find that a nice dutch oven is the best for my butternut squash black bean enchiladas recipe. I have an enameled cast iron dutch oven that is probably the most used piece of cookware in my kitchen. It heats evenly, holds heat well, and is essentially nonstick. 

Start by heating your oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic, onions, and diced jalapeno. You want to ‘sweat’ these for 2-3 minutes, just so that they soften slightly and the onions begin to get translucent. This helps them start giving up their flavors. Next, add the cumin and chili powder. Stir to coat the onions and cook for a minute or so to release the oils in the spices.

Finally, add cubed butternut, tomatoes, black beans, water, cilantro, and salt. Heat over medium low heat until squash is tender, 30-35 minutes. Stir occasionally. Ad a bit of water if the mixture seems too dry – but remember that you want to end up with a filling that is not watery or runny. 

While the filling cooks, get your baking dish ready by spreading ½ cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle HALF of the reserved onions and peppers in the bottom of the dish as well.

Assemble!

Once the filling is cooked and cooled, fold in ½ cup of shredded cheese. You can use whatever cheese you like! We love our Tillamook cheddar here in Oregon, but you can use Monterey jack or even crumbled cotija cheese – YUM!

Place approximately ⅓ cup of filling in the center of a tortilla, and wrap as snugly as you can without squishing the filling out the ends. Place into prepared dish. Repeat until the dish is snugly packed with enchiladas. A little extra space is better than cramming in too tightly. You want that sauce to fill in the gaps and do its thing. 

Drizzle the remaining 1 cup of sauces over the enchiladas, and then sprinkle the olives and remaining onions and peppers over the top. Finally, top with the remaining cheese and you’re ready for baking!

Cover the pan with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven until the cheese is bubbly, around 10-12 minutes. If you like, you can remove the foil and return to the oven to get some browning on the cheese – some people like crispy edges on the tortillas. You do you!

After these enchiladas have cooled slightly, they’re ready to serve! We like to top ours with cotija cheese, cour cream, and toasted pumpkin seeds!

Print

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas

This meatless treat will satisfy and impress! Sweet and tender butternut squash contrasted by savory, spicy flavors. Comfort food without the guilt!

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 Enchiladas 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: meatless, Mexican, vegetarian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2½ Cups Butternut squash (peeled & cubed – ½” to ¾”)
  • 1 Large white onion (chopped)
  • 2 Jalapeno peppers (Finely diced)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 2 14 oz cans Black Beans (Drained & Rinsed)
  • 1 10 oz Rotel tomatoes with chilis
  • ½ Cup Fresh cilantro (Roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • ½ tsp Salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp Food by Joe Habanero Chili Powder (Use 1 Tbsp if using regular/mild chili powder)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp Canola or Avocado oil
  • ¼ cup Black olives (sliced)
  • 2 cups Shredded cheddar cheese (Use any knid you like!)
  • 1½ cups of your favorite enchilada sauce
  • 8 Flour or corn tortillas

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven.
  2. Add garlic, onion, & jalapeno – saute 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chili powder and cumin, stirring to coat and cook the spices for a minute or so.
  4. Add cubed butternut, tomatoes, black beans, water, and cilantro. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Preheat oven to 400.
  6. In 9×13 casserole, spread ½ c enchilada sauce in bottom, and sprinkle with ¼ c onion and 1 T diced jalapeno.
  7. Add ½ c cheese to filling and mix through.
  8. Using 8” tortillas (flour or corn, up to you!), place approx ⅓ c of filling in the tortilla, roll and place in casserole dish. Repeat for 8 enchiladas or as many will fit in dish.
  9. Dizzle remaining 1 cup of sauce over enchiladas.
  10. Sprinkle olives and remaining onion and jalapeno over enchiladas.
  11. Top with remaining cheese.
  12. Bake, covered, for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is fully melted. Cool slightly and serve with your choice of garnishes. (We like sour cream, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and cotija cheese)

Keywords: black bean, butternut, enchilada, mexican, southwest, squash, tex mex

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