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The New Veganism: Cold Weather Vegan Enchiladas

By Gena Hamshaw / Photography By James Ransom | February 21, 2013


February and March are deceptive. Spells of balmy weather pass through, making us believe that spring is only a few weeks away. Three days later, we’re shivering in our parkas. At this time of year, I start to fantasize about springtime produce -- delicate herbs and greens and asparagus and peas -- but it’s always inevitable that a cold front passes through, and I must face the reality of winter once again. When it does, I immediately crave hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fare.

I happen to be a devotee of raw foods, which means I do often fit the common stereotype of vegan-as-salad-fanatic. But when it’s really chilly, or when I want to feel grounded, I seek out cooked vegetables and meals. I also tend to gravitate toward vegetables that are a little denser, like autumn squashes, eggplant, potatoes, and mushrooms. Combined with the right mixture of grains and legumes, those cornerstones of vegan cooking, this type of food keeps me warm and satisfied until the weather becomes a little more forgiving. Here are some of my favorite ideas for vegan dishes to fend off the cold:

1. Shepherd’s pie. This dish and other vegan casseroles are quintessential comfort food, and they serve a crowd. 

2. Soups and stews. Soups lend themselves very easily to vegan preparation, and they’re perfect for these last long winter months. 

3. Porridge. Forget oatmeal. Forget cream of wheat. Try one of these innovative breakfast ideas on for size. They feature unconventional, nutrient dense whole grains and all variety of flavors. 

4. Chili. This recipe for black bean and sweet potato chili will hold its own at any potluck or party, and the spice helps to ward off the cold!

5. Winter salads. Leafy greens don’t have to feel light. These hearty winter salad ideas will help you to reap the benefits of a healthy salad while filling you up. 


And if none of these past recipes fit the bill, I invite you to give these non-traditional enchiladas a try. In lieu of chicken or meat, they are filled with quinoa, a nutritional superstar that adds a nice dose of protein. Black beans, meanwhile, are packed with fiber to keep you full. Seasonal produce shines through in the form of curly kale and mushrooms. The whole dish is smothered in a sweet, gently spiced red sauce. It serves a crowd, and I guarantee you that it’s sure to banish your winter blues. As a garnish, I like to top them with some thick cashew cream made with a squeeze of lemon for a vegan spin on sour cream.

Wintry Mushroom, Kale, and Quinoa Enchiladas

Serves 6

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3/4 pounds baby bella or button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup diced green chilis
3 cups kale, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1 1/2 cup cooked black beans
1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
10 6-inch whole wheat or corn tortillas
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/3 cup water (or as needed)
sea salt to taste

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

This article originally appeared on Cold Weather Vegan Enchiladas