A sweet potato enchilada casserole with chimichurri makes a hearty, vegetarian meal. An easy main entree that readily to feeds a crowd, it’s stuffed with sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn. Then, topped with a homemade chimichurri sauce. It’s a great departure from the everyday dinner.
Let’s face it, sometimes you’re stuck in a cooking rut. We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s December and you’ve eaten cabbage for the umpteenth time in a row. Even I, the most obsessed cabbage lover, get tired of cabbage after four days straight. (This sweet potato enchilada casserole, however, I could eat for more than four days. But we’ll get to that.)
So when the aforementioned cooking rut happens, what do you do? Well, if you’re like me, you turn to the internet! There are a ton of recipes and resources to discover. One of those is Oh My Veggies, a vegetarian food blog. They have a massive archive of recipes plus great resources like meal planning. There’s even a nifty potluck section where you can get recipes from other bloggers. It’s a great springboard for flavor combinations, interesting fruits and vegetables, and has many of your tried and true traditional recipes.
This sweet potato enchilada casserole came about when I was perusing the internet during a cooking rut. I needed an easy way to prepare sweet potatoes. And I wanted a “stick it in the oven and forget about it while it makes your house smell amazing” style casserole. There are quite a number of recipes for enchilada casserole, but many of them had red sauce. If you saw my post earlier this week, I’m obsessed with chimichurri sauce. While the enchilada casserole recipes sounded pretty good, I needed green sauce. Enter the creation of this sweet potato enchilada casserole.
The enchilada casserole features black beans, sweet potatoes, and corn. Slathered with this chimichurri and layered between corn tortillas to soak up all that saucy goodness. I used a generous amount of cotija, monterey and pepper jack cheeses but you could easily leave of the cheese or serve it on the side for a vegan dish.
This sweet potato enchilada casserole is also the feature for this month’s Saturday Night Supper (remember to check out last month’s goat cheese polenta). So, I’ve got a couple beverage pairings to recommend as well. This sweet potato enchilada casserole is naturally gluten free, so I made sure to have a wine pairing for those that are gluten intolerant. I paired the enchilada casserole with Argami’s 2015 Old Vine Verdejo from Rueda, Spain. This fresh Spanish white wine had notes of melon, and bright acidic lemon. It cuts through the heftiness of the dish. But complements the flavor and acidity of the chimichurri sauce as well as the sweet corn in the enchilada casserole.
For the non gluten free beer loving folks, I paired Anchor Brewing’s California Lager with this enchilada casserole. I really couldn’t get enough of how well it paired with this dish. I’m obsessed. It made me dance in my kitchen with my mouth full of food and/or beer. If you’ve never had it, this California lager is a nice, clean beer. It’s medium bodied, with malty and yeasty flavors. It’s fantastic with the sweet bite of sweet potato and gets my mouth ready to take another bite in between chewing. The dish and the beverage pairings just scream summer on the patio!
Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small sweet potato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups, 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 2 cups cooked)
- 10 ounces frozen or fresh corn
- 6 small corn tortillas, halved
- 1/2 cup chimichurri sauce
- 8 ounces shredded cheese (mix of cotija, pepper jack, and monterey jack)
- Sliced avocado, for topping
- Fresh cilantro, for topping
- Pickled onions, for topping
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pan with a tight lid. Stir in onion and cook until onion is slightly translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add in diced sweet potatoes and stir to coat evenly. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Let sweet potatoes steam about 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Remove cover and add cumin, smoked paprika, black beans and corn. Stir together to mix well. Then remove sweet potatoes mixture from heat.
Heat oven to 375°F.
In a 2-quart baking dish (I used a 10”x 7” dish), place a single layer of tortillas on the bottom. Spoon a layer of sweet potatoes, beans, and corn mixture. Cover with a few tablespoons of chimichurri sauce. Sprinkle with cheese mix. Continue to layer tortillas, vegetables, chimichurri, and cheese. Top off the enchilada casserole with a final layer of tortillas, chimichurri and cheese.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted and slightly browning.
Remove from oven. Serve immediately with sliced avocado, pickled onions, cilantro, and more chimichurri.
While perusing the internet, I saw a brilliant trick from Cookie and Kate and love the idea of cutting the tortillas to get a good edge on the tortilla layer. If you’re using a different sized baking dish, you may need more or fewer tortillas. It’s also helpful to quarter them to get an even layer. I keep my skins on my sweet potato and dice them small so they cook quickly and match the size of the beans and the corn. This enchilada casserole is also excellent for freezing! Make a double batch in two casserole dishes and freeze up to 1 month. (I used disposable aluminum dishes to bring to friends.)
Omit the cheeses in this recipe. You need no substitute because you won’t miss the flavor! However, if desired, you can use a vegan cheese such as Daiya.
It would be easy to add ground meat to this enchilada casserole. I recommend a half pound, cooked and browned with the sweet potatoes. Ground turkey or chorizo would be an excellent choice. Or serve chicken grilled or fajita style on the side to accommodate different eaters.
Check the Fridge
I love the tres hermanas style combination of the corn, sweet potatoes, and black beans. However, you can swap pinto beans or regular potatoes if you have those ingredients on hand. In the summertime, bell peppers can be a nice addition in the enchilada casserole.
If you’ve never had pickled onions, they’re my new favorite condiment. I loosely follow this pickled onion recipe from Bon Appetit with one modification. I pour boiling water over the onions (through a strainer) before letting them sit in the vinegar. You can make your own beans on the stovetop or in a slow cooker instead of using canned beans.