Some time back, I made an order with Allergy Grocer for some bulk gluten free flours, including Bette Hagman’s gourmet blend. At the time they offered an interesting incentive to buy with them- for every X number of dollars you spent, you got to pick out a free mix from their collection. I ended up getting to pick about 4 free mixes. It was a fun chance to try out some products I wouldn’t otherwise have bought. I got their biscuit mix, a bread mix, a cake mix, and a white GF tortilla mix. A few days ago, I pulled the mix down from the cupboard and got my trusty tortilla press out and set up my kitchen as a mini tortillaria. I mixed up the batch following the ingredients on the back, but I was concerned because it resulted in this very sticky, gooey batter that didn’t seem dry enough to roll out. My concerns turned out to be well founded- after rolling it out between my cut open ziploc bag, when I tried to pull off the plastic, the batter was like toothpaste and stuck to everything in globs. I gritted my teeth and started adding flour- first Tapioca starch, and then white rice flour. It took a LOT of flour to make anything resembling a proper tortilla dough that could be rolled out and handled, and the resultant tortilla was a little TOO floury. However, I cooked them briefly in a pan on both sides and found myself with a lovely stack of non-corn white tortillas. They might have been slightly rough around the edges, but they were definitely tortillas. I love those moments!
My meal plan that first night was to use my fresh heirloom organic tomatoes that I have been lovingly growing on my balcony all summer. Two plants that are heavily producing right now are my favorites- a beautiful Costoluto Florentino tomato that looks like a little red pumpkin, and a Japanese Oxheart with pepper or heart shaped tomatoes, depending on your perspective. I made them into some tasty pico de gallo with some fresh cilantro, also grown on my balcony. Then I sauteed up some veggies and black beans to make some lovely gluten free white tortilla quesadillas. I used a mixture of low fat feta and mozzarella cheese, and served my quesadilla triangles with fresh pico de gallo and low fat sour cream. Mmm, very tasty. For a snack the next morning, I filled one of the leftover tortillas with my sauteed veggie mixture and garnished it with pico de gallo, sans any dairy products, and it was very fresh and flavorful.
Day two: I still had a big stack of gluten free non-corn tortillas in my refrigerator, so I started daydreaming about recipes using them. This time I wanted to make something delicious, rich, and decadent- but dairy free. I searched for vegan enchilada and vegan quesadilla recipes, and came across an intriguing recipe at You’re the Chef that used a cornmeal and tofu base to make a cheesy filling and sauce. It inspired me to hunt down a recipe for enchilada sauce and come up with my own vegan enchilada recipe using a wide variety of fresh vegetables and spices for a fresh, flavorful, and very healthy vegan quesadilla.
*Note- If you are allergic to soy, you could try making up a huge batch of some almond nut “cream” and mixing it with the polenta. The “cheese’ sauce should be as light as possible, and almost airy. Or, you could try mixing a white sauce made from rice or almond milk in with the polenta. Unfortunately, silken tofu is the best way to achieve the proper consistency, but let me know if you come up with a good soy free version. Also, the enchilada sauce is fairly distinctive and “adult” in flavor. For a milder version, you can use a canned enchilada sauce, cut down on the chilies, or just use a good red salsa with or without chipotles.*
Vegan Veggie Enchilada Recipe
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 tsp margarine
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
10 oz Silken Tofu
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
2 tsp. garlic salt
ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. sweet basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 c. red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. white onion, chopped
2 diced cloves of garlic
2 tsp capers (optional)
1/2 c. chopped green onions (the green part)
1/2 c. black olives, pitted and sliced
1 c. black beans, cooked
6 corn tortillas or 4-6 non corn homemade GF tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (can or use the following recipe)
Bring your water to a boil in a pan and add your cornmeal gradually, whisking continuously until it thickens thoroughly (takes a few minutes.) Take it off the burner and set it aside to cool slightly.
Add margarine, garlic salt, and onion powder to the cornmeal mixture, and then put it all into a food processor with your silken tofu and blend. Add your fresh spinach, parsley, and additional herbs and process until smooth and creamy with green flakes evenly distributed through the mixture. Don’t blend it too much.
Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan on the stove, and throw in your chopped garlic and white onion, sautee until they are translucent and slightly caramelized. Throw in your capers. Let heat through and then take off the heat. Throw in your chopped red pepper and olives, mix, and season if needed with salt and pepper. Remove to a plate or bowl, rinse out your pan and heat it again.
Add a marginal amount of olive oil (think teaspoon, not tablespoon) to the pan and then when the oil is warm, fry your tortillas one at a time, heating each side until slightly oily and more flexible.
As each tortilla is done, put them in a baking dish, glop a good circle of the tofu/cornmeal mash in the center, and top it with your sauteed veggies and garnish with your black beans. (Be a little sparing with your mash, depending on how many you are making- you want to have some left over to top the enchiladas!) Spread a little enchilada sauce on top and gently close each enchilada to make a “taco” type shape. If it won’t stay shut, gently lean a large spoon on top of the taco and let it cool- it will eventually hold its shape. Do this for all of your tortillas, until you have a lovely little row of stuffed enchiladas in your baking Dish. Top them with the remaining ingredients. First I put a thick strip of tofu/cornmeal mash down the center, sprinkled it with the veggie sautee, and put a racing stripe of enchilada sauce down the center. then I basted the uncovered edges of the tortillas with enchilada sauce and garnished with more tofu/cornmeal mash as appropriate.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until you can’t wait any longer. Enjoy! These babies are GOOD and pretty darned good for you, too.
Ancho Enchilada Sauce
4-6 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 small dried red chilies
5 small to medium heirloom tomatoes
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp freshly ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. sugar
Bring chilies, whole tomatoes (with skin on), garlic cloves and water to a boil and then cover them with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Use slotted spoon to lift out the tomatoes and skin them. Let the chilies simmer in water for a little while longer, and then put everything in a food processor and blend on high until you have a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
One small recipe for enchiladas will use up 1/3 to 1/2 of the recipe. You can keep the sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze if desired for later use.