Asparagus and Chickpea Enchiladas

asparagus enchiladas

Are you searching for a vegetarian enchilada recipe that is reminiscent of spring, hearty, full of protein and unique? Then you’ve found the one. So many vegetarian enchiladas just revert to beans (or just cheese) and I wanted to try something different. I was immediately drawn to this unique pairing of asparagus, chickpeas and enchiladas. You’ll be surprised at how much this actually works. The chickpeas provide substance, protein and creaminess while the asparagus provides fresh flavor.  Two things: 1. Make sure to invest in smoked cheese to add more flavor and 2. Make sure to really trim your asparagus of the woody ends- it’s frustrating trying to cut tough asparagus in enchiladas!

Asparagus and Chickpea Enchiladas
Serves 6 (2 enchiladas per serving)
From Washington Post, Joe Yonan, Author of Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook

• 1 large onion, halved
• 2 pounds tomatillos, husked, stemmed
• 3 cloves unpeeled garlic
• 1 jalapeno, stemmed
• 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro, plus more for garnish
• 2 tablespoons honey
• kosher salt
• vegetable broth
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
• 1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 1 inch pieces
• 1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
• 4 oz smoked mozzarella or smoked gouda, grated
• 12 6-inch corn tortillas
• 4 oz monterey jack cheese, grated

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Position oven rack 4-6 inches from broiler. Preheat broiler.

Cut 1 onion half into large chunks, and reserve other half. Combine onion chunks with tomatillos, garlic and jalapeno on baking sheet and broil 3 minutes, until vegetables have blackened in spots. Flip them and broil until tomatillos have turned khaki-colored and have softened, another 3 minutes. Transfer broiled vegetables with cilantro and honey to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and transfer to large liquid measuring cup; add vegetable broth as needed to yield a total of 4 cups of sauce.  (Alternatively, you can buy some tomatillo enchilada sauce at the store)

Reduce oven to 400F with an oven rack in the middle. Thinly slice remaining onion half. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute onion and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion starts to soften. Add asparagus and chickpeas, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until asparagus just barely becomes crisp-tender, 1 minute. Take off heat and let cool slightly. Stir in smoked cheese and season generously with salt to taste.

Spray nonstick cooking oil on each side of each tortilla. Stack on a plate and microwave on HIGH for 60 seconds until hot. Let cool slightly.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in 9 x 13″ casserole dish. Dip torilla into the remaining 3 1/2 cups sauce so that it gets lightly coated. Scoop 1/3 cup filling into tortilla and roll it up and place it seam side down in casserole dish. Repeat creating 2 rows of 6 enchiladas. Pour remaining sauce on top of enchiladas and sprinkle with jack cheese.

Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

For 2 enchiladas: 400 calories, 18g protein, 16g fat, 11g fiber, 17g sugar

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