Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

WeBu had a specific request for enchiladas with black beans, sweet potatoes and carrots. Although the black beans and sweet potatoes play a bigger role in these enchiladas than the carrots, they certainly add depth to the flavor. WeBu I hope you enjoy my version of this classic dish!

THE TWIST

The rich, smoky flavor of black beans tastes wonderful and is a great source of protein. The combination of black beans with whole wheat tortillas create a complete protein profile without the high calories and saturated fat that comes from beef and dairy. The protein and soluble fiber from black beans help stabilize blood sugar and maintain heart health and it also helps to keep cholesterol levels in check. Black bean’s dark color gives them away as a great source of antioxidants, in fact, they provide the same amount of antioxidant activity as some superstars such as cranberries! Not only do black beans provide slow burning complex carbohydrates but they increase energy through their high iron content which is essential for healthy blood and for transporting oxygen from the lungs to all body cells.  They are high in folate which is particularly important for the development of the brain and spinal cord in unborn children.

Sweet Potatoes high fiber content helps create a feeling of satiety for hours yet is very low in calories. This makes it an excellent facilitator for digestion and they are soothing to the stomach and intestines too. Their beta-carotene content is vey high, rivaling that of carrots. This makes sweet potatoes perfect for fighting some chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and more. The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes will also help achieve clear skin with a healthy glow. Eating a meal with some oil along with the sweet potatoes helps to unlock the full benefit of the beta-carotene. The coconut oil in the enchilada sauce as well as the cashew “cheese” sauce both provide the necessary oil to reap the full benefit of the sweet potatoes. Don’t be fooled by the word “sweet” in the name, they are clearly beneficial for diabetics. They have proven themselves to be effective in regulating blood sugar levels by helping maintain proper secretion of insulin.

Studies indicate that those who consume nuts, such as cashews, tend to have a lower risk of weight gain than those who do not eat nuts. Therefore, relax and enjoy this dish with it’s cashew “cheese.” Cashews contain magnesium which is vital for healthy bones and helps regulate nerve and muscle tone. Insufficient magnesium contributes to high blood pressure, muscle spasms, migraine headaches and asthma.

Although the actual amount of kelp in this dish may seem small it is certainly worth mentioning. Kelp contains large amounts of iodine which is a mineral vital to proper thyroid function but difficult to find naturally from plant sources. Though it may not be adding any flavor to this dish the kelp is a powerhouse of iodine and rich in other much needed minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and vanadium.

BLACK BEAN AND SWEET POTATO ENCHILADAS

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
5 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, shredded
18 whole wheat tortillas
1 recipe enchilada sauce (recipe follows)
1 recipe cashew “cheese” sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and minced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced

Prepare black beans and set aside. Combine prepared sweet potatoes, onion and carrots, set aside. Oil two, very large, casserole dishes with a little coconut oil. Take half of the tortillas and while holding one at time lay on the surface of the enchilada sauce to coat the tortilla on one side and then lay in the prepared casserole dish.   Repeat with half of the tortillas stacking on top of one another which will give a light coating of sauce to each tortilla. Working from the top tortilla, spread a line of 1/2 cup of the sweet potato mixture, two tablespoons of the black beans and about 2 tablespoons of the cashew “cheese” in a line  across the tortilla. Roll and place in the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining coated tortillas and then repeat in a second pan with the second half of the tortillas. Spread any remaining sauce over the top of both pans and cover with foil. Bake at 350°F. for approximately 50 minutes. Remove from oven and top with cilantro and yellow peppers for garnish. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

ENCHILADA SAUCE

1/2 cup coconut oil*
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup taco seasoning
3 T paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (15 oz.) tomato sauce
3 cups vegetable broth

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet on medium heat. Add the flour and stir until just beginning to brown. Add the taco seasoning, paprika and garlic. Heat through. Add the tomato sauce and vegetable broth. Stir to thicken and allow the flavors to blend and deepen. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

CASHEW “CHEESE” SAUCE

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 cups water
2 T arrowroot powder
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)
1 t taco seasoning
1 t paprika
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t kelp powder*
1/2 t Himalayan sea salt*

Combine all ingredients in a Blendtec* blender and whirl on the whole juice setting. Pour into a medium saucepan and heat on medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

See Sources*

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