Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Black Bean Enchiladas in Pipián Verde {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

March 4, 2014
 Send chicken soup—stat!

It’s like the black plague around here and we need all the soul nourishing we can get. If you are so kind as to bring the soup, all I ask is that you leave it on the front step, ring the doorbell, then walk away because I would be absolutely mortified to have anyone see the inside of my house right now. It looks like one big blanket fort gone wrong and I’m frankly rather embarrassed about the whole thing.

Louisa, Hiro, and I spent all day laying in my bed watching the best kids movies I could find to stream off the internets (read Turbo) which I mostly slept through but from what I can remember is about a snail who races in the Indy 500?! I don’t know…’s all a little hazy.

Black Bean Enchiladas in Pipián Sauce

 I made these enchiladas before I relented to my crippling illness, which required an exceptional amount of foresight that I don’t naturally come by. Not that the children and I were hungry for anything other than popsicles and honey-laden tea, but my dear, sweet, healthy husband still had to eat and I looked like such a good wife when I had a damn-fine dinner waiting to be warmed when he came home from work. Yessssss! I’m winning at marriage!!!

Black Bean Enchiladas in Pipián Sauce

 I don’t make enchiladas too often (they’re kind of a lot of work and I’m lazy) but I’ve been craving that sexy little green mole from Puebla, Mexico also known as Pipián. There’s something about the tomatillo-pumpkin seed combination of this sauce that makes me want to spoon it over everything I eat. It is not spicy, but not boring either. It is earthy, tart, and faintly sweet. I suppose I could’ve just made the sauce and left it at that but tortillas covered in the sauce and then rolled around some creamy black beans was an idea I couldn’t pass up.

Black Bean Enchiladas in Pipián Sauce

 If you use vegetable broth to make the sauce these enchiladas are vegan! But if you like a cheesy enchilada (which I know a lot of you do) you can use either some cheese in the filling and sprinkle some more on top or use all cheese as a filling, either way I would use a mild, melty cheese like Queso Chihuahua or Monterey Jack any strong-flavored cheeses are going to overtake the delicate sauce.

Black Bean Enchiladas in Pipián Verde {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Yield: 4

Sauce inspired from Saveur

Leftover sauce can be covered and kept refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months


    For the Sauce:
  • 1 jalapeño, stem removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, papery husks removed
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For the Enchiladas:
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. To make the sauce, heat a cast iron skillet or comal over medium heat and add the jalapeño, garlic, and onion. Cook the vegetables until they are nicely charred on all sides (the garlic will cook the fastest, so remove as soon as it is done and keep cooking the other vegetables), about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cover the tomatillos with water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until tomatillos are soft and have lost their bright, green color, about 5 minutes. Drain and place in a blender.
  3. Add the charred vegetables to the blender along with the cilantro, salt, and 1 cup of the chicken broth and purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Wipe out the skillet you used to char the vegetables and return to the heat. Add the pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and sesame seeds and toast, stirring occasionally until fragrant and browned.
  5. Transfer toasted nuts to the blender and add remaining chicken broth. Purée until smooth.
  6. In a deep frying pan heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the tomatillo mixture and the nut mixture (be careful it will spatter). Cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt as needed. Reduce heat to low and cover until ready to use.
  7. To make the enchiladas, heat broiler to high. Combine black beans, cumin, and oregano in a bowl and mash together until combined, but not completely smooth.
  8. Add enough oil to a shallow frying pan so the oil reaches about 1-inch up the sides. Heat oil over medium heat until a piece of bread browns in 30 seconds.
  9. Add tortillas, one at a time, to the oil and fry on one side until the edges are crisp, but still pliable, about 30 seconds, flip and repeat on the other side. Remove from oil and dip each side in the Pipían sauce.
  10. Fill each tortilla with about 2 tablespoons of the black beans then roll up and place seam-side down in a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  11. Ladle about 1/2 cup of sauce over the top of the tortillas and place under the broiler until toasted and brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

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  • Heather Christo March 5, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I’m so sorry that you are all sick- but I have been craving enchiladas like no other so I am thrilled for this recipe!

    • Kate Ramos March 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Thank you Heather, we are on the mend!