Sharing my twist on the traditional Mexican dish “Empipianadas” with these Poblano Pumpkin Seed Enchiladas. A flavorful poblano black bean filling wrapped in warm tortillas and covered in a creamy pumpkin seed sauce. Top it all off with melted cheese and slices of avocado for the perfect vegetarian (or vegan) dinner any night of the week!
These pumpkin seed enchiladas are one of my new favorite dinner recipes. Despite the long ingredient list and instructions, they’re actually pretty simple to make. Healthy too! the sauce is rich and creamy but also loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants from the seeds and vegetables. Plus black beans and your choice of brown rice or quinoa, it’s a pretty good deal as far as delicious Mexican food goes.
The first time I made these, I tried to follow a more traditional route by toasting the seeds and charring the vegetables before blending them into the sauce. This was delicious and added a nice smoky flavor, but the lack of moisture in the pumpkin seeds made the sauce somewhat grainy. The next time around, I soaked the pumpkin instead, which resulted in this amazing thick and creamy sauce.
How to Make Poblano Pumpkin Seed Enchiladas
Soak the pumpkin seeds: this is to ensure the pumpkin seeds are soft enough blend. Simply place your hulled pumpkin seeds in a bowl and cover completely with boiling water. I like to place a plate or tray over top to trap the heat. Let those soak while you prepare the other ingredients.
Make the black bean filling: Start by heating a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in a couple tablespoons of oil followed by some chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped poblanos, sliced garlic and jalapeño. Cook until the poblano has softened but still has some bite to it. About another 4-5 minutes or so.
At this point, we want to set aside some of these cookies vegetables for the pumpkin seed sauce. Take out about half (doesn’t need to be exact) and place it in the container of a high speed blender. Set that aside to cool off while you finish off the beans.
Now, to the remaining veggies in the pan, add in the spices, the drained and rinsed beans plus some cooked brown rice or quinoa and a 1/4 cup of water. Give that a stir and reduce the heat to low to simmer for a few minutes until everything is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice then taste for salt as it will probably need more.
Make the sauce: Once the black beans are done, you can drain the pumpkin seeds and add them to the blender with the vegetables along with the other ingredients. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy. This may take longer than you think—at least 2 minutes of blending. Again, taste for salt and add more as needed.
Assemble: Now that you have the beans and sauce ready, it’s time to assemble the enchiladas! Traditionally the tortillas are heated in oil before being rolled, but I prefer to just wrap them in paper towels and microwave them to keep things a little lighter. This step is really important to allow the tortillas to roll without breaking.
Spread about a cups worth of the sauce onto the bottom of a skillet or medium baking dish. In the center of each tortilla, spoon on about 1/3 cup of filling and roll it up. Place the tortillas seam side down in the skillet and repeat for the remaining tortillas. (Note: I ended up with about 8 but only included 6 in the picture for styling purposes)
Pour the remaining sauce over top (you may not use it all) then sprinkle on the shredded cheese. I used dairy free mozzarella, but feel free to use whatever you like. Pop the skillet under the broiler until the cheese is just melted and the tortillas begin to crisp. We don’t want to broil it for too long or the sauce will dry out.
Top the pumpkin seed enchiladas with slices of avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro. Serve hot and enjoy!
Tips and Substitutions For Making Pumpkin Seed Enchiladas
- You need a high speed blender for this recipe in order for the pumpkin seeds to blend properly. A food processor should work too, but I have not tried this method.
- If you can’t find or don’t have poblano peppers you can replace them with one large green bell pepper and follow the recipe as written.
- Make sure you use high quality tortillas. My favorite have a mix of flour and corn from La Tortilla Factory. They are so good in these enchiladas and pretty much every recipe that involves tortillas,
More Recipes to Try:
- Italian stuffed peppers with sun dried tomatoes and pesto
- Honey sesame chickpea lettuce wraps
- Lemon artichoke flatbread with Za’atar