I don’t go home often. In fact, I’m not even sure where “home” is, exactly, anymore, since my parents no longer live in my hometown. On the rare occasion I do make it back to the town where I grew up, you will inevitably find me at Tres Hombres, the most wonderful mexican restaurant to ever inhabit the earth.
People who are not from Carbondale, don’t really understand it’s charm. It’s not exactly authentic, but it is one of a kind. The salsa is chunky and fresh, with huge bits of cilantro and, inexplicably, carrots. The refried beans are soupy in the BEST way, with the perfect amount of cheese on top and the veggie enchiladas…well…they would probably be my last meal of choice.
This recipe is an attempt at recreating Tres’ veggie enchiladas. I have no idea what is actually in them, although it took me a few tries to determine that zucchini was definitely a necessary requirement. As far as anything else, it’s a crapshoot. But, I will say that what I have concocted here is a crowd pleaser for sure. If my Texas-BBQ loving carnivorous husband digs these puppies (“It’s one of my favorite things you make” – Sean) yours will too!
Spinach, Mushroom & Zucchini Enchiladas
- 4 cups of Red Enchilada Sauce (More on this below)
- 8 whole wheat tortillas (medium size)
- 3 large potatoes, roughly chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 jalepeno, diced
- 1 Tbs garlic, minced
- 1 pkg of mushrooms, chopped
- 3 cups of baby spinach, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar or mexican style cheese
- 1 cup of plain, non-fat greek yogurt
- 4 oz of cream cheese
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
I should start by saying that while I was developing the recipe for this, I always used store-bought, canned enchilada sauce. I think these are still out-of-this world good with that stuff. However, recently I have tried my hand at making my own enchilada sauce, and well…if you have the time, it is SO MUCH BETTER. I tried about six or seven different recipes, and the one I like the best I did not come up with myself, and I honestly haven’t been able to improve on it because it’s wonderful, so I will just link to it here. I follow Cookie & Kate every now and then (she’s from KC, where I used to live) and she has really stellar, clean recipes, so I encourage you to check her out!
Now on to business. Start by peeling and chopping your potatoes into about 2inch pieces that are roughly the same size. Place them in a pot of water so they are covered with about 2 inches to spare. Bring the pot to a boil, and boil the potatoes until you can stick them with a fork and they become soft and crumble.
While the potatoes are boiling, heat a non-stick pan with the olive oil. Sauté all the garlic for 1 minute, and then add the jalepeno, zucchini, onion and mushroom. Once the vegetable are tender (5-7 mins), stir in the spinach and toss for a couple of minutes until wilted.
Meanwhile, drain the potatoes, and mash them with a whisk or potato masher. You just want to break them up, not combine them, so don’t over mash. Next, add your vegetables and combine. Finally, add in the greek yogurt and cream cheese and stir until completely incorporated. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spoon 1 cup of enchilada sauce into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Take first tortilla and lay it in the dish so that one side is saturated with sauce. Flip it onto your hand (sauce side up so your hand stays clean) and spoon veggie mixture into the center. Fold each side of the tortilla back into the center, and place seam-down into the baking dish. Repeat until your pan is full and the mixture is gone. Spoon remaining sauce over the completed enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Place into the oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.
Enchiladas are a great make-ahead dish that you can freeze and pop into the oven when needed. When I used to travel a lot for work, I’d make an extra pan of these to throw in the freezer for my husband to eat when I was gone. They rarely made it more than a day!
In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the restaurant itself, as much as the friends I went there with. Can anything ever replace your hometown haunt–location of so many belly laughs, tears and tough decisions with your oldest, closest friends?