Black Bean Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

Black Bean Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

Black Bean Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

The outdoor concert on the lawn of the Idaho Botanical Garden was fantastic last night, but I think the picnic stole the show.  I brought these bad boy Black Bean Enchiladas, topped them with a little light sour cream and cilantro (not pictured here) much to the delight of my husband.  He loved them!  And so did I.

Red sauce enchiladas are tricky.  I’ve eaten far too many homemade varieties with sauces that are too dark, too hot ‘n spicy, but this sauce is near perfect.  I found this recipe at my favorite food website: and adapted it slightly.  I get so many great ideas from this vast index of well-tested, nutritious, tasty recipes.  I used to write for Cooking Light magazine and know for a fact, that all recipes are put through very thorough testing and must meet certain nutrient requirements for fat, calories per serving, sodium, sugar etc.

Although the sauce takes some time to make, it is so worth it.  These can be made ahead and baked later or frozen if that’s more convenient (instructions below).  The only unusual ingredient for me was the ancho dried chiles which I learned are dried poblano chiles and can be easily found in the Mexican section of your grocery store, typically in clear cellophane bags packaged 6-8 in each bag, measuring about 4-6 inches each, for about $1.37.  Here’s what they look like:

Ancho chile peppersThe modification I made to the original recipe was to strain the sauce after blending, and then add the remaining pulp mixture to the black beans for more flavor.  This is a personal preference as I like the sauce smooth.  Let me know if you loved these as much as we did!

Black Bean Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • Black Bean Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 Tbsp no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded 4-cheese Mexican-blend cheese, divided
  • 3 thinly sliced green onions, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine chiles and 2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Drain chiles in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and salt; cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through cumin); cook 8 minutes or until thickened and reduced by one-third, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour onion mixture into a blender; add chiles and reserved liquid. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in lid. Blend until smooth; stir in lime juice and red pepper.
  5. Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the leftover onion mixture from the strainer to a medium bowl. Add the beans, 1 cup cheese, and half the green onions to the onion mixture, stirring to combine.
  6. To Assemble: Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spoon 3 tablespoons bean mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in prepared dish. Pour remaining sauce over filled tortillas. Top with the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining green onions; serve with light sour cream and cilantro.


Make Ahead Instructions: Follow the recipe, letting the sauce and bean mixtures come to room temperature before assembling the enchiladas. Finish following the recipe instructions and instead of baking, cover the pan with a layer of tin foil and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Bake covered for 20 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Alternately, the assembled enchiladas can be covered with a double layer of tin foil and put inside a jumbo-size ziploc bag (if you don’t have a jumbo-sized bag, make sure the edges of the pan are sealed well with tin foil). Freeze for up to 2-3 months. Bake from frozen, baking for 1 1/2 hours covered at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake an additional hour until hot and bubbly.

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