One-Pan Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchilada Skillet

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(Note: this post was originally published on January 28, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Enchiladas, But Easy

Do you ever want enchiladas but don't want to go through the fuss of rolling them individually? Me too! This skillet meal is essentially deconstructed enchiladas. It has all the same melty goodness, but with a fraction of the effort. It comes together in about 45 minutes and all in one pan.

These deconstructed enchiladas are my new favorite winter meal. They're super comforting and full of all the flavors I love most, yet remarkably easy to put together. They're fast enough for a weeknight, but special enough to be party-worthy. They're filled with nourishing veggies, protein-rich black beans, Mexican spices, perfectly softened corn tortillas, and even some melty cheese. It's everything you love about enchiladas (that gooey filling! the corn tortillas that magically get both soft and crisp! all those fun flavors!) in a much faster, easier package.

Healthy vegetarian enchiladas

The Story: A COVID Thanksgiving

Oddly, this dish originated on Thanksgiving. It was the fall of 2020, and because of COVID, Dave and I were home alone on Thanksgiving. It felt weird and disorienting, so we decided to boycott Thanksgiving altogether. Instead of making fall foods, we had pomegranate margaritas and the first version of these enchiladas! It was exactly the home-alone comfort food we needed, and was much more fun than pretending to have a normal Thanksgiving when clearly nothing was normal.

And that's exactly what these enchiladas are- comfort food to the max! But they're also very nourishing comfort food since they're loaded with veggies and lean protein. I like to add a bit of cheese on top where it can really be appreciated, but unlike most enchiladas they're not loaded with cheese throughout.

One-pan skillet enchiladas

A One Pan Plan

This is a one-pan meal thanks to a couple clever tricks, so follow the directions below carefully. You'll caramelize the onions and peppers first, then add the squash and caramelize it as well. Add in the corn and spices so that they toast up to become super-flavorful, then finally black beans mashed part-way and some water. The water is key, since it will help the butternut squash finish cooking. Cooking down all that liquid takes a bit of time, about 15 minutes, but it keeps everything in one pan and really helps to develop the flavor.

The finishing touches? Cheese (traditional or vegan, whichever you prefer) and corn tortillas! I like to cut the corn tortillas into little triangles and tuck them in throughout the enchilada "filling" so that you get some tortilla in every bite. Save a few for the top! The tortillas that are tucked into the filling become tender and flavorful throughout, whereas the tortillas on top get perfectly toasted and crisp. That's the best part of any enchilada, right??

Healthy, colorful vegetables

Make It Work for YOU

There are a few ways you can customize this one-pan miracle to really make it your own. Feel free to use whatever combination of peppers you want to achieve your desired heat level (see options below). You can use sweet potato instead of butternut squash, pinto beans instead of black beans, and whatever cheese you like. Then go crazy with the garnishes!

Need some serving suggestions? These enchiladas are delightful alongside some fall-themed margaritas (pomegranate, ginger, etc) because squash and other fall flavors are such a natural pairing. I'd start things off with this Grilled Corn Guacamole and a bunch of tortilla chips to munch on while the enchiladas cook. My favorite Mojito Corn Salad would be a great accompaniment as well and would add some freshness.

Make-Ahead Tips

This enchilada skillet is one of those miraculous dishes, like lasagna, that's actually better the second day! That means this is a great make-ahead dish if you're having guests. The filling gets a bit firmer, the tortillas get even more flavorful, and reheating it really crisps up the tortillas on the top. It's actually sort of amazing.

If you want to go that route, do everything except adding the garnishes. Keep it tightly covered in the fridge for a day or two, then reheat in a 350-degree oven until hot throughout. Just make sure to add the garnishes right before serving.

Healthy vegetarian Mexican comfort food

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red onion
  • Peppers. As written, the recipe calls for one poblano and one bell pepper. Feel free to choose differently based on how much heat you want. I like the bell pepper for its color, but using more poblanos, adding some jalapenos, or using all bell peppers would work great.
  • Butternut squash
  • Corn. Assuming you're making these enchiladas during the winter, frozen corn is probably your best bet. Thaw it first. I like to buy the grilled, frozen corn at Trader Joe's during the winter for maximum flavor and ease.
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander
  • Cinnamon. Perhaps a bit non-traditional, but it makes so much sense alongside the butternut squash!
  • Black beans. You'll mash them half-way before stirring them in.
  • Corn tortillas. I adore the corn tortillas from my wonderful neighbors at Vermont Tortilla Company!
  • Shredded cheese. I love cheddar in this recipe, since it melts so nicely and its flavor goes so well with Mexican spices. Your favorite vegan cheese would also work fine.
  • Garnishes of choice. Some great options include pickled jalapenos, pepitas, fresh cilantro, and avocado slices.

Skillet enchiladas with butternut squash and black beans

Closing Thoughts

Hearty black beans, sweet butternut squash, colorful peppers and onions, melty decadent cheese, flavor-soaked corn tortillas, crisp tortilla edges, fun garnishes... this dish really has it all! It's great as a main course, an appetizer, or a sharing dish on game day. It's also much better for the body than traditional enchiladas, and loaded with veggie power!

I hope you guys will enjoy this very easy, nourishing, and versatile take on enchiladas. We've had such a blast with this dish so far this winter; it's really my ideal type of comfort food.

Vegetarian butternut squash enchiladas

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Spiced Pomegranate Daiquiri

Brussel Sprout Nachos

Holiday Guacamole

Orange Jalapeno Brussel Sprouts

Orange and Cinnamon Roasted Delicata Squash

One-Pan Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchilada Skillet

This delightfully cozy skillet meal has all the appeal of enchiladas, but comes together in one pan and in a fraction of the time. Whether it's for a dinner party or a quick weeknight meal, this one is an enchilada winner!

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

  • Oil of choice for cooking
  • Generous sea salt and freshly ground black pepper throughout
  • Red onion
  • Poblano pepper
  • Red bell pepper
  • 4 c cubed butternut squash
  • 1 c corn
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 0.25 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 c water
  • 15 oz can of black beans; drained, rinsed, and half-way mashed
  • 6-10 corn tortillas
  • Few big handfuls of shredded cheese
  • Garnishes of choice

Instructions

  1. Dice the red onion. In a large skillet with your cooking oil of choice, saute the onion with generous salt and pepper until tender.
  2. Dice the poblano and bell peppers and add them to the onion. Sautee for a few more minutes until the peppers are tender and the onion is slightly caramelized.
  3. When the onion and peppers are lightly caramelized, add the squash. Continue to saute until the squash also becomes lightly caramelized but before the onion starts to burn. Note that the squash doesn't need to be completely cooked through yet.
  4. Add the corn and spices, and saute everything for another minute until the spices become fragrant.
  5. Add the water and black beans, then bring the mixture to a low simmer. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. At this point, the squash should be fully cooked. If not, add another half cup of water and repeat. Cook the mixture down enough so that you'll be able to slice and serve it neatly.
  6. Meanwhile, cut the corn tortillas each into six triangles.
  7. When all the liquid has evaporated, tuck about two thirds of the corn tortilla triangles into the enchilada mixture so that they're evenly dispersed and buried among the veggies and beans. Lay the remaining third across the top.
  8. Top with cheese.
  9. Transfer the skillet to the broiler, and broil for 5-10 minutes until melty and lightly-browned.
  10. Just before serving, add your preferred fresh and/or crunchy garnishes.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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Pamela
February 19, 2021
This was a super fun dinner, much easier than traditional enchiladas and full of flavor. We added more poblanos, tossed in a variety of cheese, and were liberal with the spices. Tasty!