Enchiladas are Adaptable to Many Diets
Enchiladas are a favorite dish at Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. Try making them at home for an unforgettable meal. My children love this recipe so much that it’s hard to get them to go to dinner at a Mexican restaurant because they prefer my recipe.
Why Make Homemade Enchiladas?
You can control the ingredients and accommodate picky eaters, dietary needs, and nutritional goals when making enchiladas from scratch. There are four components of an enchilada, and each provides flexibility to meet your desires: sauce, filling, soft tortilla wrap, and toppings (cheese and garnish). Other reasons to make enchiladas include:
- Make-Ahead Meal – assemble enchiladas in the morning and refrigerate until ready to cook
- Amazing leftovers
- Uses remaining items in the refrigerator
- Since enchiladas are covered in cheese and rich sauce, most picky eaters will ignore the veggies and beans in the middle.
- Easy to make into a vegetarian meal
- High protein and fiber meal
This recipe uses a homemade red enchilada sauce which allows control over spice and salt levels and provides authenticity with ingredients you probably have on hand.
Enchiladas are a great way to use leftovers in the fridge and place them in the filling. Ingredients like rotisserie chicken, roasted turkey, vegetables, and beans can be used. Although this recipe uses ground beef and black beans, feel free to use your favorite protein preference. Adding beans will increase the fiber and stretch the budget. If you have picky eaters, mash the beans to disguise the ingredient.
Make homemade red enchilada sauce for an authentic dish.
Tortillas come in wide varieties of flours and sizes. 6" - 8" inch works best for an enchilada.
Toppings and Garnishes
Orange cheese (Cheddar, Colby, or Colby-Jack) is the most popular topping in a Tex-Mex recipe. A traditional Mexican enchilada tops the dish with white cheese (crema and queso fresco). Garnish options include lime slices, chopped cilantro, sour cream, cilantro, fruit salsa (pineapple, peach, or mango), and guacamole.
What is the Best Soft Tortilla for Cheesy Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas?
There are wide varieties of soft tortillas available at the supermarket. A quick search on Walmart’s website shows 65 products and 25 brands. You can also make homemade tortillas. The best choice is the one that meets your budget, time, and nutritional goals. Read the package label because the calories, carbs, and fiber will vary between brands. They come in various diameters and sizes. The 6” – 8” size works well for enchiladas.
- Flour tortillas are sturdy and hold up very well in the recipe. Some varieties have nutritional features like whole wheat, high fiber, or vegetables added for flavor and health benefits.
- Corn tortillas are gluten-free and the traditional choice for an authentic Mexican recipe.
- Grain-free tortillas are an excellent option for Paleo, Whole 30, and other specialty diets. They are made with alternative flours like almond, cassava, chickpea, coconut, and cashew.
- Collard Greens – Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) eliminates all processed flour. If any of the above options contain illegal ingredients, use collard greens for the tortilla. To learn how to make a wrap, burrito, or enchilada with collard greens from author and healthy recipe creator Alex Snodgrass of The Defined Dish.
Gluten-Free Beef and Black Enchiladas
Using corn tortillas and making homemade sauce will keep the recipe compliant for gluten intolerance or sensitivity. This sauce recipe is gluten-free (GF). Frontera is a tasty GF brand that comes in a few varieties if making homemade sauce is not your thing.
Use Grain-Free tortillas made from alternative flours that are compliant with your diet. I like Siete tortillas which use almond, chickpea, and cassava flours.
When I first began making beef enchilada as a family meal, I used whole wheat tortillas and added black beans into the dish to sneak a high fiber, low meat meal. I consider this recipe a Tex-Mex that meets the “Mediterranean Diet.” Years later, with my gluten intolerance, I changed to corn tortillas. The third recipe change occurred when I began eliminating grain and using almond or cashew tortillas made the dietary change easy. All three versions taste amazing, and I include all options in the recipe below. Note: Verify the ready-made tortillas are compliant with your dietary restrictions.
The nutritional panel (below) shows the recipe with La Tortilla Factory Whole Wheat Tortillas, which adds 8 grams of fiber per tortilla according to the package. The Mediterranean diet recommends moderate amounts of beef and dairy, so using ground turkey and a small amount of cheese on top are a great adaptation. Try my recipe for Enchiladas – Christmas Style, which uses ground turkey or leftover roast turkey with ready-made red and green enchilada sauces.
Where Can you Find Tortillas in the Grocery Store?
Soft tortillas can be found in various areas of the store.
- bread aisle for wraps
- grocery/international department with Mexican food
- specialty grain-free tortillas are in the frozen or refrigerated section
- some stores have daily store-made tortillas in the bakery
Warm Tortillas Before Filling
If tortillas are cracking (especially corn), warming them before filling can help. The heat makes them more pliable, especially if stored in the refrigerator. Here are three ways to do it:
- Microwave – wrap 4 – 5 tortillas in a damp dish towel or paper towel and place them in the microwave for 30 seconds. – continue in batches.
- Oven – wrap 4 – 5 tortillas in aluminum foil and place in a 350º oven for 15 minutes.
- Stovetop – place 1 tortilla at a time in a skillet over medium heat and cook for 20 seconds on each side.
What to do with Leftover Soft Tortillas?
Often the package contains more than you can use in one recipe, so choose a style that you can use the leftovers in another meal:
- Mexican Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole
- Huevos Rancheros
Try the Recipe and Give it a Rating
This delicious beef and black bean enchilada recipe is a staple in my family meal rotation. They are time-consuming and messy, but enchiladas are worth the effort with the rewards of a delicious meal.
What is your favorite enchilada? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! If you have tips on optimizing the kitchen, please share them in the comments below! Supper Sanity is a simple system that offers shortcuts in the kitchen for meal planning, grocery shopping, and recipe organization. Simplify daily decisions so you can tackle other interests.
Recipes to try
Cheesy Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 5 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
This cheesy beef and black bean enchilada recipe has an authentic Tex-Mex sauce and is adaptable to many diets. The various tortilla options help meet multiple dietary goals: Gluten-Free, Grain Free, and High Fiber Recipes for cheesy, meaty perfection!
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch, cornstarch, or almond flour*
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste**
- 2 cups of low-sodium beef broth – (SCD use homemade)
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion red, white, or yellow, chopped
- 4-oz can of mild green chilis, chopped
- 16-oz can of black beans, drained or 1.5 cups of homemade pre-cooked beans, recipe here***
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 soft tortillas, room temperature or warmed – flour, corn, grain-free, collard greens****
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar, Colby, or Colby-jack cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- Lime slices, optional
- Favorite fruit salsa, optional (peach, pineapple, mango)
Preheat the oven to 325º
Make Enchilada Sauce
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add arrowroot, and stir until combined.
- Combine all the spices and whisk the mixture constantly.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Slowly add the beef broth and boil the mixture until the sauce slightly thickens. Remove from heat.
- Place ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat and break up with a wooden spoon until brown. Pour off fat.
- Pour the olive oil and add the onion and cook until soft.
- Mix in chilis, drained black beans, and pepper.
- Add ½ cup of the enchilada sauce to the meat and bean mixture.
- Coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish with 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce to coat the bottom.
- Fill each tortilla with 2 tablespoons of meat filling and carefully roll it up. Place it seam-side down in a casserole dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Collard green recipe here, if using.
- Spoon any remaining meat mixture along the sides of the casserole.
- Top with remaining sauce over all tortillas to cover completely. Don’t leave any open areas without sauce. If making ahead, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15 minutes. If the casserole is stored in the refrigerator, add 5 – 10 minutes to the cooking time.
*Check for compliance of arrowroot if you are on a grain-free diet
** Freeze the remaining tomato paste in ice cube trays or small baggie for future use
*** Make SCD beans a day ahead with this recipe.
****Warm tortillas if they are cracking while rolling. See the post above for warming tips. For grain free, I use Siete Brand almond or cashew tortilla but check for compliance with your dietary restrictions.
Note: The nutritional information was calculated with whole wheat low-carb tortillas from La Tortilla Factory
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 15
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: grain-free, tortillas
2 responses to “Cheesy Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas”
Delicious!! Last night I made these enchilada s for dinner. The family demolished them. This morning I am still dreaming of how tasty they were and I want them for dinner again tonight!!!! I used half smoked paprika and half sweet, and I used smoked chipotle powder instead of cayenne which gave them a lovely warmth. Ahhhhhh Nagi, you ve done it again!!
Ahhh thanks for the rave review and spice suggestions. It’s been a while since I made enchiladas. I need to make them too.