Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas

While some of my friends have spent the first month or so of summer dreaming of beach vacations and sunning in the warm weather and eating pounds of popsicles, I’ve been obsessed with spinach and cheese enchiladas. So. Yeah. Socializing with me is a little weird sometimes. All I can think about is food. Spinach and cheese enchiladas in July to be exact. Although in my defense, I also spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming about ice cream which evens things out, right?

Even though they are baked, these spinach and cheese enchiladas are light and refreshing enough to enjoy year round. No heavy Mexican food sitting in your belly all evening. Packed with layers of flavor (the simple sauce alone is delicious enough to be deemed drinkable), they definitely make it into the running as one of my favorite enchilada variations.

Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas

I’m usually kind of against corn tortillas except in rare instances (don’t hate) and prefer flour tortillas, but in experimenting with this recipe, I tried both and the corn tortillas were a clear winner in the family taste test (6 thumbs up, 1 thumb down which was Camryn and she’s two and I don’t mean to be rude but her vote doesn’t really count because she was throwing huge-tantrum-of-the-year whilst voting because she wanted banana yogurt instead of dinner and I think her thumb was down unintentionally). I won’t even think of subbing them out for flour tortillas ever again – the taste and texture of the corn tortillas compliment the tender spinach, creamy cheese, and smoky, warm spices in the sauce perfectly.

July or not, these are some seriously yum spinach and cheese enchiladas.

What To ServeMexican Tomato and Corn Salad
Mexican Rice
Fresh fruit (like watermelon or cantaloupe if in season)

One Year Ago: Zucchini Lasagna
Two Years Ago: Homemade Ranch Dressing
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas

Yield: Makes 10 enchiladas

Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas

Although listed as optional in the recipe, I highly recommend serving these with toppings like sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, etc. The different textures and flavors of the fresh toppings are woooooonderful on the smoky, tasty enchiladas.

Ingredients

    Spinach Mixture:
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 9 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1-2 tablespoons chicken broth or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Spice Mixture:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For Assembling:
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • Sour cream, avocado, chopped tomatoes for serving, if desired

Directions

  1. For the spinach mixture, in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the spinach, broth and salt and pepper (start with about 1/4 teaspoon each and add more to taste). Cover the skillet and cook 2-3 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Scrape the mixture to a plate and return the skillet to medium heat.
  2. For the spice mixture, heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons oil until hot. Add the flour, chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic powder and whisk to combine. The mixture will be crumbly. Continue stirring and moving it about the skillet for 1-2 minutes until it is fragrant.
  3. Slowly add one cup of the broth whisking vigorously to avoid clumps. Once the first cup of broth has been incorporated, whisk in the last of the broth gradually. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and bubbling, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan.
  5. Spread half of the sauce in the prepared pan. Place a damp paper towel on a microwave-safe plate, stack 3-4 tortillas on the plate and cover with another damp paper towel. Microwave for 30-40 seconds until the tortillas are hot and pliable. (You'll repeat this process while filling the tortillas.)
  6. Place about some of the spinach mixture (scoop just the spinach, leaving excess liquid on the plate) and cheese in each tortilla and roll up - right around 1/4 cup of each give or take. Place seam side down in the baking dish.
  7. Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbling. Let the enchiladas rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/spinach-and-cheese-enchiladas/

Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe in Cook’s Country Feb/Mar 2014 (original recipe was for cheese enchiladas, I made a spinach and cheese version, changing whole spices for ground, and altering the method and other ingredients)

36 Responses to Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas

  1. Kim in MD says:

    Have I ever told you I love your sense of humor, Mel? :-) Your posts always leave me smiling and laughing. Your recipes never disappoint, and this one is no exception. I can’t wait to try these enchiladas!

  2. Sheila says:

    Yeah for corn tortillas! Love them. This recipe sounds perfect for summer. Since I love the outdoors and never want to be inside in summer, I have a very generic outdoor kitchen I use on the patio/shaded porch area — two burner electric stove and a full size toaster oven that easily holds a 9 x 13 pan. :-) This sounds so yummy and I can’t wait to serve this to my family. You rock, Mel!

  3. Helen says:

    Because I have everything on hand … And I’m very possibly one of the biggest fans EVER of Spinich and cheese in recipes … I’m making thisTODAY!!! I also need more info on the banana yogurt the little miss was trying to work you for :-). … Is it homemade ? If so … Recipe please :-)

  4. This is one of my favorite things to order at Mexican restaurants! Now I can make my own–yay!

  5. Liesyl says:

    I do not eat gluten, would you recommend that I use a general-purpose, gluten-free flour when your recipes call for flour? I have been noticing that quite a few recipes call for a tbsp here and a tbsp there, and I have been hesitant about trying a recipe for fear of failure!!!

    • Andrea says:

      In sauces like this I like to use between 2/3 and 3/4 (whichever measurement is more convenient) of the amount the recipe calls for of rice flour. I have used brown and white rice flours with equal success. If you are accustomed to gluten-containing rouxs, be prepared for a very different consistency before adding the liquid.

  6. HAHA! I’m laughing at Camryn’s reaction. I too totally enjoy flour tortillas too so it’s nice to hear rave reviews for corn tortillas. BTW- I tried accessing your website yesterday and couldn’t. I don’t know if it was just me but thought you may want to know.

    • Moe Young says:

      I lost the website a few days ago and almost had a heart attack … Sounds like it might be a random thing … Jumped for joy when it retuned …

  7. Being gluten intolerant, I LOVE seeing a recipe that actually calls for corn tortillas! Plus, I love all things spinach. I’ll definitely be giving these a try :)

  8. Patrick says:

    I wonder how/whether these would freeze.

  9. Elisabeth says:

    Yum! perfect for our little cold snap here in the Midwest!! I will trust you on the corn tortilla thing, flour is also preferred at our house.

  10. yum! I wanna make a paleo/healthy/trim healthy mama version of this DELISH right now. New blog post maybe coming up soon???? I love your meals!

    From your whole foody!
    Janie Lynn

  11. sweetpea says:

    picture looks SO good! Would those big the big or small corn tortillas (I’m assuming
    they come in both sizes as do the flour ones).

  12. Carolyn says:

    What do you think about adding some chicken, Mel? Would it ruin the deliciousness of the cheese and spinach?? :)

    • Carolyn says:

      As a follow up, I went ahead and lived on the edge…I made this tonight and added the chicken. It was AWESOME! Just what I needed after dealing with a ridiculously crabby 2 year old. Super quick to whip together – pretty sure I had it in the oven before half of Sesame Street was over. Thanks, Mel… You give me inspiration, motivation, and a smile on my face every night I make one of your meals! You never let me down… :)

  13. Kathryn says:

    Wow! Mel, these are delicious. I saw your post and was completely inspired to make them for dinner. Too bad I decided a little late and didn’t actually get them made in time for the whole family to enjoy. But more for me! YUM!
    And for the GF readers, I made the sauce replacing 1:1 with GF flour mixture and it worked perfectly.

  14. cara says:

    Hi Mel, we made your funfetti vanilla cake in a coffee mug via the microwave last night and it was a huge hit. The kids wanted to make it again tonight and were talking about how they could make it for their grandparents when we all vacation in a few weeks. Thanks for the great recipes!!

  15. All my favorite foods and flavors represented in one dish! I can’t wait to try this one. It looks like it will go on the permanent rotation.

  16. Dianne says:

    Made these last night everyone liked them although my husband likes a meat for dinner after a hard days work, I grilled chicken and added it in, made it that much better. My father loved it to!!

  17. This recipe looks amazing! And it’s great for me that there are corn tortillas, because they’re one of the most delicious kinds of gluten free food, I can’t wait to try this :).

  18. Sheila says:

    These were so delicious! Easy to put together and the sauce was amazing! I’m so happy enchiladas are an obsession with you. You are so skilled, Mel, at taking a recipe apart and then putting it back together creating wonderful concoctions. I have one happy family.

  19. Susan K says:

    I added sliced mushrooms. Very good recipe.

  20. ashley w says:

    These enchiladas are amazing! One of your best-ever recipes!

  21. Christie says:

    We made these with kale tonight and my husband didn’t even turn up his nose. I knew he’d love it, and I did too. This is a great base recipe for just plain old cheese enchiladas or chicken/cheese enchiladas, etc. I loved the sauce.

  22. The Omnivore says:

    These sound wonderful! They’re absolutely on my to-make list. My partner loves Mexican food so any excuse to make healthier versions of our favorite dishes is always an opportunity I jump for. I wonder how these would work with Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas?

  23. Marci says:

    Could I make these up a day ahead?

    • Mel says:

      Marci – I haven’t tried it that way but I think it would work ok. The only thing I worry about is the tortillas getting a little soggy since the filling is pretty saucy/wet.

  24. Lisa says:

    That is gorgeous. Happy to have discovered your site. This will be on my menu soon. I’m thinking black beans would be a nice addition too.

  25. I_Fortuna says:

    Great recipe! This is very similar to mine. In our traditional family, corn tortillas are always used for enchiladas, never flour. If flour are used with enchilada sauce, it is called a wet burrito. We don’t add spinach to ours, hubby would have a fit if I deviated from his mom’s recipe. Little does he know I have tweaked it to be my own. But, I would love this using spinach or kale in my portion as well as some raw diced onion! Yum!
    Thanks for making such an authentic and delicious sauce!.

  26. Melanie says:

    THANKS! I’ve been looking for a good enchilada ‘gravy’ recipe for a long time. You’ve given it to me! I LOVED your spinach and cheese enchiladas. I live in Australia (American ex-pat) where I cannot get good, inexpensive (or otherwise) Mexican food. Now, FINALLY, I can make enchiladas at home! THANKS!!! :-)… another Mel!

  27. Bonnie says:

    These were awesome! I made them exactly per the recipe except I added 2 shredded zucchini to the spinach mixture to make them a bit more filling. Everyone loved them and even my pickiest said, “actually, these were pretty good.”
    *jaw drop* :) Thanks for another winner!

  28. Erika says:

    Yum! I too added some shredded zucchini that I added to the sauteed onions. Glad I did as I don’t think there would have been enough with just the spinach as filling. I really liked the easy to make enchilada sauce – genius! Loved not having to use store bought.

  29. Angela says:

    These were fantastic!! We were out of spinach so used kale too (after removing the stems) and threw in some leftover rotisserie chicken with black beans on the side. Filling and absolutely delicious! The sauce is amazing! Flavorful and not too spicy — our young kids (even the 11 month old!) gobbled it up. Thanks Mel!!

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