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.
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.
Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 9 ounces fresh spinach
- 1-2 tablespoons chicken broth or water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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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)