If you're looking to transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet for the health benefits, the environment, or the animals, you may initially struggle to find flavorful plant-based meat alternatives. Tofu is the protein most of us think of in this category, but the soy-based staple is not often recalled with fondness, as it's virtually flavor-free and not particularly appetizing — unless it's seasoned or marinated. Since it takes on whatever flavor it is exposed to, it really acts as the perfect blank canvas for home chefs.
Whether you are looking to transition to a plant-based diet or simply want to eat more meatless meals, this recipe is going to be one of your new favorites. Recipe developer and registered dietitian nutritionist, Kristen Carli, MS, RD, shares, "As a plant-based dietitian, I've come to learn a lot about how to make tofu and other plant proteins flavorful" — and her tofu chorizo is just that. Seasoned with Mexican spices such as oregano, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, this tofu chorizo is hardly bland when stuffed into this hearty vegan enchilada casserole.
Gather The Ingredients For This Vegan Enchilada Casserole
To make this vegan enchilada casserole with chorizo tofu crumbles, you can start by gathering your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need olive oil, extra firm tofu, dried oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin, salt, pepper, bell peppers, onion, black beans, flour tortillas, and red enchilada sauce.
While this is a vegan recipe, Carli is quick to note that it's "highly adaptable," adding, "If you want to include some animal products, you can easily add shredded cheese and/ or ground beef into the stuffing of these enchiladas. If cheese falls into your diet, it would be great to sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the enchiladas before baking."
Make The Tofu Chorizo
Next, it's time to cook up some tofu "chorizo." Using your hands, break apart the tofu into crumbles. Carli notes that "there are many types of tofu available in most grocery stores. Be sure to use extra firm tofu, but not super firm tofu. The super firm tofu is just a bit too firm and makes it difficult to crumble. I've found that extra firm tofu is the perfect texture."
Add the crumbled tofu to a hot skillet with oil. Then, add the seasonings to create the chorizo spice mix: dried oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir this mixture around and sauté the tofu until the moisture has been mostly removed, about 15 minutes.
Sauté The Peppers And Onions
In another large skillet, add the remaining oil, followed by the peppers, onions, and remaining salt and pepper. Stir well and sauté until the peppers are tender and the onions are translucent.
"Ideally, you want to let the fajita peppers and onions cook long enough so that they get slightly charred and the liquid in the pan evaporates," Carli says. Charring helps to not only add more flavor, but also a bit of texture, to the peppers. This is due to the Maillard reaction, which refers to the browning that happens when food is cooked in the absence of liquid.
Assemble And Bake The Enchilada Casserole
Lastly, it's time to assemble the enchiladas. Carli recommends creating an assembly station for ease. Set up a shallow bowl with ½ of the can of enchilada sauce. Dip each tortilla in the enchilada sauce, coating both sides. Then, layer some tofu chorizo, cooked peppers and onions, and drained black beans onto each tortilla. Roll them up, leaving the ends open, then place them seam side-down in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Finally, pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the rolled enchiladas, then bake for 15 minutes until warmed through and slightly crispy. "While this is a balanced meal from a nutritional perspective, filled with protein, starches, and vegetables, it would be great alongside homemade guacamole or elotes if you want to serve side dishes with it," Carli says.
Vegan Enchilada Casserole With Tofu Chorizo Crumbles
Prep Time: 20mCook Time: 40mYield: 8 servingsIngredients
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 block extra firm tofu, drained + crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
4 bell peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 large flour tortillas
1 (28-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F.
To a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, followed by the crumbled tofu. Sprinkle with the oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Stir well and sauté for about 15 minutes until tofu is warmed through.
In another large skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, bell peppers, and onions and season with remaining salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes until peppers are tender and slightly charred.
Set up an enchilada assembly station. Fill a shallow bowl with ½ of the can of enchilada sauce. Dip both sides of each tortilla in the sauce before stuffing them with tofu chorizo, peppers and onions, and beans. Roll them up, leaving the ends open.
Place the enchiladas seam side-down in a 9x13-inch baking dish and pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top.
Bake for 15 minutes until warm and crispy, and serve.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.