Vegan Enchiladas can be accompanied by a crunchy apple slaw – just the ticket for a healthy, sustaining meal. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

For those who are vegan or have allergies to dairy products, these enchiladas are for you. Really, if you are someone who loves Tex-Mex food, this recipe is yet another keeper for your repertoire.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundys Harbor. You can reach her at iw[email protected]

I used plant-based, 7-inch wraps for this batch because they are sturdier than a corn tortilla. Flour tortillas work well, too. If you want to use the traditional corn tortillas, I recommend using the larger ones and doubling them.

Taking a few extra minutes to make the thick, moderately spicy enchilada sauce ahead of time and whirling together the avocado cream at the last minute (while the enchiladas are baking) is well worth it. As a matter of fact, I’m quite certain you’ll never buy canned enchilada sauce ever again.

The avocado cream sauce, a great substitute for sour cream, makes this entrée extra special. I’m sure you’ll come up with other ways to use it.

These enchiladas can be made ahead and frozen. The sauces will both keep in the refrigerator for several days.

This crunchy seasonal salad is a great way to taste test apples you haven’t tried before as well as use other seasonal ingredients that are inexpensive and plentiful.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

2 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups baby spinach, julienned
2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 (7-inch) tortillas or wraps

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking dish.

Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for three minutes. Add bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper, then add sweet potatoes, black beans and spinach. Cook over medium-high heat until the spinach is wilted.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and salt.

Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly in the bottom of the baking dish. Scoop about 3/4 cup sweet potato mixture onto each tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place seam side down in baking dish. Spread remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas. If there is leftover filling, spoon it over the enchiladas. Bake for 20-25 minutes, uncovered.

Garnish with Avocado Cream Sauce, cilantro and chopped scallions. Yield: 6 enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce

3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons flour
6 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste

In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Whisk in flour until a thick paste forms. Stir in all seasonings and cook for a few minutes.

Whisk in tomato paste and broth. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened. Yield: 3 cups

Avocado Cream Sauce

1/2 cup cilantro
1 avocado
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3-4 tablespoons water

In a food processor, process cilantro until minced. Add remaining ingredients and process until creamy. Yield: 1 cup

Apple Slaw

1/4 cup olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
2 medium tart apples, grated
8 radishes, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, mustard, lemon juice and honey until well-combined. Add all other ingredients, except parsley, to the bowl. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Drain off liquid if necessary. Toss with parsley just before serving. Yield: 4 servings

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