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Green Enchiladas {vegetarian}

Sauté perfectly tender bitter spinach with arugula, and aromatize with onion, garlic and green chiles. Stir in herby chopped cilantro and parsley. Tuck into soft corn tortillas with a dose of melty cheese and bathe liberally in a tangy tomatillo green salsa. That’s how you make these easy green enchiladas—emerald and sparkling with oh-yes spicy heat.

Green Enchiladas

One of the treasures of Los Barriles, this Baja pueblo by the sea, is the parade of vendors who drive through the neighborhoods and campgrounds everyday, bells ringing, horns tooting, and microphones calling recorded alerts. Steaming warm tamales out of a latte brown sedan, today’s catch in ice chests weighing down the back of an old white Toyota pickup, and trucks loaded with 5 gallon bottles of purified water or propane gas, delivered right to your door–you hardly need a car.

arugula for Green Enchiladas

Not to mention the street vendors selling watermelons, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and empanadas from their vehicles. And the side-walk strolling hawkers shouldering a couple flats of strawberries. Stay away from the guy with the orange juice—I hear he’ll pinch your butt.

Oscar with the makings of Green Enchiladas

On Wednesdays and Saturdays I look for Oscar, who sells an array of veggies, mostly greens, under his pop-up shade tent. I made these green enchiladas with his piquant arugula, and leafy parsley, cilantro and spinach. What’s amazing to me is that Oscar is growing his business too; the farm is CCOF organic certified and he is beginning to ship to the US.

Green Enchiladas

I served these enchiladas with achiote red rice pilaf for color contrast. (Have you ever noticed how a lot of Mexican food incorporates the colors of their national flag?)

This green enchilada recipe is an update of an old post, this time with photos and Baja tidbits. Think about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th by serving these. My most recent post is a recipe for this homemade green enchilada sauce, great for bathing all kinds of enchiladas.

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Green Enchiladas
Green Enchiladas
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion , diced in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 serrano chiles , seeds removed, minced, optional (see note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • Real Salt , as needed
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 6 to 8 ounces grated Monterey jack cheese (see note)
  • About 2 cups green enchilada sauce , purchased or homemade
  1. Wash the spinach well. Cut the leaves away from the stems, discarding the stems, and chop the leaves into 1-inch strips. Wash the arugula and discard the stems. If the arugula leaves are large, chop them as well.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir and cook the onion, garlic and chile, if using, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the spinach and arugula, continuing to cook and stir until the leaves are wilted and shrunk. Stir in the cilantro. Season with vinegar and salt.
  3. Lightly oil in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/2 cup of green enchilada sauce in the bottom.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Place tortillas on baking sheets, 4 to 6 tortillas to a pan. Lightly brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil. Bake about 5 minutes, until pliable. (see note)
  5. Spread a heaping tablespoon of the greens in a tortilla. Sprinkle about the same amount of cheese on top. Roll the tortilla around the filling and place it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. You can cover the pan at this point and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Pour green sauce over the rolled tortillas, making sure to coat the ends. Sprinkle with more cheese, if you wish.
  7. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with some chopped cilantro and parsley.
Recipe Notes
  • You won't need the real green chile if you use pepper jack or habanero cheddar cheese to create flavorful “picante” spicy heat.
  • Mexican cooks fry their tortillas in oil to make them pliable and so they don’t absorb the sauce. I prefer this over-warming method for more ease, less mess and ultimately less calories.


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