Naturally, a great way to start a food blog post is with a weird meat story. But first, it starts with booze.
I'm an Asian with trained alcohol resistance. Meaning, I am not naturally equipped to drink. I get the Asian flush, I popped Pepcid in my twenties and maxed out at one drink for a loooooong time. Then I matured, and look at me now, practically European in nature with my nightly glass(es) of wine. Training and persistence really pays off.
A while back the training failed me when G and I went wine tasting and I got totally blitzed. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the best Mexican place in Sonoma and destroyed two burritos in hopes it would sop up the booze. We walked into the hotel room and couldn't even look at the free wine on the table. Instead, I looked lovingly up at G when he said, "I have the biggest chunk of carne asada stuck in my teeth. Look." He pulled his lip up and I ran into the bathroom and puked. Pure romance.
It's a miracle I still love Mexican food (and G) as much as I do, but I guess it explains why I rarely, if ever, order carne asada.
Mexican is survival food in our household. It's easy to throw together weeknight tacos, but in typical Jimin fashion, I was desperate to find a way to make our Mexican meals more veggie centric outside of salads and bowls. And specifically green veggies. Turns out, if I wrap a bunch of vegetables with a tortilla and sprinkle it with cheese, everyone eats everything. Shocker.
For me, the magic of this recipe is in the pepita pesto. More greens, more seedy protein, more flavor. It's also crazy good on avocado toast. The filling with the pesto doesn't really need the tortilla and cheese, in my opinion. Throw it on top of some quinoa or cauliflower rice with extra salsa and cilantro and you're winning the carb fight.
I promise, some day very soon I will post a recipe with meat or fish of some kind. I'm not staying on the dark side forever.
SUPER GREEN ENCHILADAS
~makes roughly 12 enchiladas
If you're looking at this ingredient list and thinking to yourself this chic's crazy I'll never make this, I get it. It really is super quick and easy to make if you make the pesto and salsa ahead of time. But if that's still too much, rotisserie chicken with a quick sauté of spinach and store-bought salsa will presumably be delicious, too. Just don't skimp on the pesto. Takes 5 minutes to make and it is essential deliciousness.
1 cup packed cilantro (I use leaves and stems because the stems have tons of flavor, but feel free to use all leaves if you don't want the fibrous stems)
1/4 cup roasted pepitas
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1 serrano pepper, core and seeds removed, roughly chopped
1 peeled garlic clove
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
For the enchilada filling:
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 large zucchini, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped2 roasted green chiles or 1-4 oz can of diced green chiles
1 serrano pepper, core and seeds removed, finely diced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 t dried oregano
1/2 tsp or so kosher salt
1 cup cooked chickpeas or canned (rinse and drain if using canned)
8 cups packed baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup or so of pepita pesto
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (optional)
12 corn tortillas
2 cups tomatillo salsa
1 cup shredded jack cheese
finely chopped cilantro
crumbled cotija cheese
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
For the pepita pesto:
Blitz everything in a food processor, or mini if you have one, and season to taste. If it's too thick for your liking, add a tiny bit of water and pulse until the desired consistency is reached.
Measure out 1/2 cup and refrigerate the rest in a tightly sealed container for future uses.
For the enchilada filling:
In a large sauté pan, heat veg oil over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook until translucent.
Add the zucchini, garlic cloves, chiles and spices and cook until the zucchini is slightly softened.
Add the chickpeas and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated about 7-10 minutes.
Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread 1/4 cup of the salsa on the bottom of a 9x13" baking pan.
Heat the tortillas slightly so they are pliable. I did this in a small cast iron skillet about 30 seconds on each side. As you fill one tortilla, heat another to keep things moving and the tortillas don't dry out.
Fill the tortillas with 3-4 Tbs of the mixture, adding chicken if you like, and roll them into fat cigars. Lay on top of the salsa in the pan, seam side down. Repeat until you've used up all the mixture or tortillas, whichever comes first :)
Top the enchiladas with the remaining salsa, spreading over all the tortillas, and top with the shredded cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes or so until the cheese is bubbling and browned in spots.
Before serving, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, crumbled cotija cheese and serve with extra salsa and hot sauce.