Whether you are vegetarian or not, you’ll love today’s new recipe: Walnut and Mushroom Vegetarian Enchiladas.
Thank you to the California Walnuts Commission for sponsoring this post!
Surprisingly “meaty”, and satisfying thanks to all the veggies, these vegetarian enchiladas will be your new favorite weeknight meal. It makes plenty of leftovers for packed lunches and is officially approved by my taste tester and meat-loving husband, too! 🙂
Vegan? Simply leave off the cheese on top – they’ll be just as delicious without it. And if you’re gluten free, this recipe is, too – just be sure to use gluten free certified corn tortillas and enchilada sauce.
Using Walnuts as a Meat Substitute
Have you guys ever tried using walnuts to make a vegetarian “meat”? I hadn’t, and it worked surprisingly well, especially when mixed with some mushrooms and cauliflower! The texture ended up really similar to ground beef. It even looked like it!
Health Benefits of Walnuts
In addition to being versatile and tasty, walnuts are also great in recipes because they are nutritional superstars! Walnuts provide a convenient source of protein (4 grams per serving) and fiber (2 grams per serving), and are a good source of important minerals magnesium and phosphorous.
Also, did you know that walnuts are the only nut (and one of the few foods) that are significantly high in the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)? In one ounce of walnuts you’ll find 2.5 grams of ALA – that’s more than five times the amount found in the next highest nut!
In fact, a new study on omega-3s found that consuming omega-3s from plant-based sources, like walnuts, may reduce risk of all-cause mortality, whereas marine-derived omega-3s (EPA and DHA, found in fish), may reduce the risk of heart-related fatalities. The greatest protective benefits from total mortality were actually observed in diets that included both plant-based and marine-derived omega-3s, though, as they appear to act synergistically.
The study also found that ALA provided additional health benefits even in a population already consuming high amounts of omega-3s from seafood; as such, ALA may actually contribute health benefits of its own, aside from just its conversion to EPA and DHA. Interesting!
So – now that you know why walnuts are awesome, let’s get back to eating them, shall we? 🙂
Walnut and Mushroom Vegetarian Enchiladas
Step 1: Assemble your army. Veggies galore!
Step 2: Make your enchilada filling.
This recipe is nice because your food processor will do most of the chopping for you. In a food processor, you’ll simply combine the walnuts with some mushrooms, onion, and cauliflower and process briefly until the texture resembles that of ground meat. It’s crazy how similar it looked, actually!
Step 3: Spice your enchilada “meat”.
Toss the “meat” mixture into a pan with some spices, enchilada sauce, and canned diced green chiles. After the liquid boils off, add in some spinach and stir until it wilts down.
Step 4: Assemble your vegetarian enchiladas.
Spread a thin layer of enchiladas sauce in a deep baking pan (6×11 or 6×13), grab your tortillas, and one by one place a large spoonful of the mixture inside a tortilla, roll it up, and place it seam-side down in the pan.
Once all the filled tortillas are in the pan, pour the rest of your enchilada sauce on top!
Cheese is an optional but tasty addition here. Throw some on top before popping the enchiladas in the oven if you want to!
Twenty minutes later and you are ready to eat.
Enjoy as is or top with additional chopped veggies, cilantro, or hot sauce.
The full recipe is below. I hope you enjoy them as much as Matt and I did!
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References and More Information:
- Dietary α‐Linolenic Acid, Marine ω‐3 Fatty Acids, and Mortality in a Population With High Fish Consumption
- The Evidence for α-Linolenic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease Benefits: Comparisons with Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid
- California Walnuts Recipe Database
- California Walnuts Plant-Based Eating Toolkit
- California Walnuts Health Research Database