A Recipe for Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce and a Celebration of Cilantro {The Recipe Redux}

Add an extra burst of great nutrition to bean enchiladas by weaving pumpkin into the sauce. 

Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

When I heard about this month’s Recipe Redux “Green with Herb Envy” cooking challenge, I had one of those LOL moments. The image of green things popping from the earth, backyard gardens, and thumbing through seed catalogs seems light-years away. The Boston suburbs are still blanketed in snow, so instead of seeing green, everything outside right now is bright white. Those poor little crocuses don’t even seem to have a chance. Yes, March came in like a lion … and it’s clearly going out like one.

snowy New England

I love participating in the monthly Recipe Redux blogger roundup and decided not to let a little 10-inch snowstorm stop me. I chose gorgeous, aromatic cilantro as the featured herb, and although I may not have used it in a nontraditional way, rather than the usual garnishing afterthought, I added a giant handful right to the bean enchilada filling.

Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #pumpkin #beans

Herbs like cilantro really wow us at Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen. They bring big, bright flavors to recipes, help home cooks cut back on the need for lots of salt, they’re pretty to look at, and they’re packed with antioxidants. When I think of herbs—parsley, mint, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme—I think “vegetable.”

Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #pumpkin #beans

Cilantro is one of those love-it-or-hate-it foods (kind of like goat cheese, which, I’m happy to say, I also love). I chose it for the Recipe Redux because I find myself turning to it all year long.

Boosting the good nutrition in everything I make is always a priority, and it was super easy with this recipe. In addition to the half cup chopped cilantro in the filling, I also added nutrient-rich black beans, baby spinach, corn, and low-fat cheese. For the tortillas, I turned to 100% whole wheat and enhanced the enchilada sauce with half a cup of canned pureed pumpkin.

Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce
The idea for incorporating pumpkin into the enchilada sauce came from Stacey M., a mom and a fan from Eagle, CO. Stacey wrote: "Pumpkin has become a staple for us for all meals. I made enchiladas tonight. I use canned enchilada sauce and even the mild is a bit too spicy for the girls (they are 4 and 6), but I love spicy food. I puree the can of sauce with about ½ - ⅓ cup of canned pumpkin to cut the spice, add nutrition, and thicken it up. I don't think any of them have figured it out! My girls are pretty good eaters and love sour cream so I serve it with the enchiladas. Add a cup of milk and I can have my slightly spicy dinner that everyone will eat!!" Garnish with additional cilantro, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, diced or sliced avocado, and lime wedges.
Serves: 8
  • 1 tablespoon expeller pressed canola oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • One 6-ounce bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • One 15-ounce can enchilada sauce (mild, medium, or hot)
  • ½ cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • Eight 8-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 minutes. Add the spinach, cumin, and chili powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, 3 more minutes. Transfer the cooked veggies to a large bowl and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. When cool, stir in 1 cup of the cheese, beans, corn, and cilantro until well combined.
  3. Meanwhile, place the enchilada sauce and pumpkin in a medium-size bowl and whisk until well combined. Spread ½ cup of the mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  4. To assemble the enchiladas, place ½ cup of filling down the center of each flour tortilla. Roll up tightly, tucking in the ends, and place seam side down in the dish. Cover evenly with the remainder of the sauce, sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese, and bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Each serving also provides 60% vitamin A, 25% vitamin C, 25% calcium, and 15% iron.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 enchilada) Calories: 310, Fat: 11g, Saturated fat: 3g, Carbohydrates: 41g, Sodium: 730mg, Fiber: 8g, Protein: 16g

18 responses to “A Recipe for Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce and a Celebration of Cilantro {The Recipe Redux}”

  1. Enchiladas?? Are you sure y’all are from MA? You’re a hit in TX! This recipe looks indulgent but healthy and I can’t wait to try it out on the family!! Thx for sharing.

  2. Love this recipe, and what a great idea to add in some pumpkin purée! Cilantro is probably my all time favorite herb. I just don’t get how some people can be cilantro haters 🙂

  3. graincrazy says:

    I can not get enough of Mexican food. This looks so delish. I love all the great foods you included in them. So yummy! Thanks!

  4. That picture is the top reason I moved from the East Coast to CA! Looks delicious. I made pumpkin enchilada sauce a few years ago but you have inspired me to recreate it using your recipe! The addition of cilantro sounds perfect and bright!

  5. Your enchiladas are perfectly rolled! I love it. Mine always fall apart or break mid-roll. Definitely making this pumpkin sauce, I have two cans in my pantry that need to be used!

  6. Diane says:

    This recipe looks kid friendly and that’s what I am searching for today! Liz, I am interested in learning more about your cooking classes for kids. I will be working with a youth violence intervention program through the sheriff’s office. Will give nutrition education alongside some hands on cooking! Any suggestions you can offer from your experience are welcome!

    • Liz says:

      Hi Diane: Happy to offer advice. Making fruit smoothies goes over well with kids. Shoot me an email (see “contact us” on our website) and we can brainstorm via emails!

  7. Jessica says:

    This recipe looks fantastic! putting it on my menu for next week! Thanks!!

  8. You guys are definitely troopers, celebrating Spring through yet ANOTHER snowstorm – hopefully that’s the last of it for the East coast this year (and yes, I even mean for December 🙂 This recipe looks amazing – but all your recipes are – pinning right now.

  9. Jessie says:

    I love cilantro, and I’ll bet this fresh herb was fantastic in these enchiladas! Thanks so much for sharing, and happy Spring! 🙂

  10. Okay… I know you guys are eyeing me suspiciously as the culprit behind the “green” theme since I’m the only one down south, but I promise I wasn’t 🙂

    Thanks for indulging the theme, even with a snowstorm in play. This recipe is ideal comfort food around my house!!

  11. Rebecca Manley says:

    Just discovered your blog the other day and cooked these up for my family tonight. They were a hit! Thank you – you have a happy new follower!

  12. Judy Altman says:

    Can I use corn tortillas instead of the wheat tortillas? Wheat sensitivity issues ……

    • Janice says:

      Yes, Judy. You can definitely use corn tortillas instead of wheat. If the corn tortillas are smaller the recipe may make more than 8 enchiladas. 🙂

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