Ready for Game Day? Not without these simple and delicious protein-packed mini enchilada cups!
When it comes to Superbowl Sunday, most of us think of nachos, buffalo wings, and cheese dip. America’s biggest TV night can be just as enjoyable with some healthier food options. Whether it is tuning in to watch your favorite team (Go Pats!) or the much anticipated commercials, these mini black bean and cheese enchilada cups will make a great snack or meal!
Those Wings Don’t Lie
Just like hot dogs at a baseball game, chicken wings are a common food staple for a T.V. football game. According to one popular restaurant menu (it will remain unamed), traditional wings can carry up to 850 calories per snack serving. That is almost half of the average recommended daily calorie intake (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). Let’s be honest, one serving of wings isn’t going to hold us over for an entire day. If wings are a must-have during a game, I would recommend switching to boneless, skinless wings averaging half the calories. Or better yet, make your own version at home! This recipe from Eating Well gives you the wings you crave with much less calories, salt, and fat.
Cheesy bread, cheese fries, and nacho cheese! Cheese anything is hard to avoid during Game Day (and pretty much any other day). I truly do not know anyone that doesn’t love cheese (even vegan alternatives). Is it the melted version or creamy center you crave most? Cheese is delicious, period.
This ooey gooey goodness isn’t the enemy either. It is good for you in moderation. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, a recommend serving size of 1-2 ounces also provides calcium and B12. What does 1-2 oz of cheese look like? Picture a pair of dice or a single slice of cheese.
Most cheese dips at restaurants can carry over 300 calories per 1/2 cup serving. A healthy swap would be serving heart-healthy avocado dip or hummus with your tortillas (or vegetables). If nachos are a favorite at home, try serving it with beans or lean ground meat with fresh tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and a light amount of cheese.
In This Recipe…
It took me three attempts to finalize this enchilada recipe. In the first two tries, I used different tortilla types thinking the other would give me better structure. Nope, the mini cups fell apart giving no hold to the filling. I finally realized after advice from fellow food blogger, Rebecca of Nourish Nutrition that the trick was baking the tortilla cups prior to filling them with the beans mix. This baking step yielded crispier shells. Voila! Baking the tortillas before and after with the filling leads to a perfectly shaped enchilada cup! Want to try a fun twist? Food blogger, Molly of Thyme for Honey suggested to try with wonton wrappers instead of the flour or corn tortillas. Definitely next time!
In addition to making the enchiladas, the second part of this recipe includes making a sauce. I had never made enchilada sauce before and always used salsa or tomato sauce for my enchiladas at home. This homemade version is not a perfect enchilada sauce, but it was easy and paired nicely with the enchilada cups. I was inspired by Cookie and Kate’s recipe here. For the sauce, the main components are tomato paste, vegetable broth, flour, and a mix of spices. If you prefer not to do extra cooking, feel free to pour salsa on top.
For the first two attempts of this enchilada recipe, I used a meat alternative similar to ground beef texture. In my final version, I used two cans of beans instead. If you prefer meat or meat alternative, substitute one can of beans for a pound of meat or alternative. Make sure to cook the meat thoroughly and set aside before cooking the onions and peppers. Add it back to the filling after separately cooking the vegetables and beans.
In addition to the beans and vegetables, add a mixed greens salad or any other non-starchy vegetable as a side dish to make a balanced meal. These enchilada cups can last up to three days in the refrigerator. If you choose to freeze them, keep them for no longer than three months.
These enchilada cups can get messy, but I promise no one will notice since everyone will be watching the Super Bowl! Enjoy the game!
- 12 small flour or gluten free corn tortillas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium pepper, diced
- 1 small onion (or 1/2 large onion), diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 15oz can low sodium black beans
- 1 15 oz can low sodium red beans*
- 1-1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, optional
- 1/4 cup shredded part skim cheese for topping, optional
- Salsa or Enchilada Sauce* for topping, optional
- Enchilada Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons flour (preferably whole wheat or GF option)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Gently fold tortillas into lightly greased (or non-stick) muffin pan. Bake tortillas until crispy, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
- While the tortillas bake, heat olive oil on medium high heat in a skillet or non-stick pan. Saute onions and peppers until tender, about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the spices and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the beans and cook for an additional minute, remove from heat, and set aside.
- Scoop the rice and fill the bottom of the tortilla cups. Next layer with the filling to the the top. (If preferred, mix the rice with the filling prior to placing separately in the tortilla cups).
- Place the filled tortilla cups in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes to melt the cheese.
- Top with Enchilada Sauce (below) or salsa.
- Additional toppings: Scallions, sliced avocado, low fat sour cream
- Enchilada Sauce:
- In a non-stick pan or skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Saute the spices, herbs, and flour for 1 minute.
- Add in the tomato paste and vegetable broth, stir with a whisk. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Drizzle over enchilada cups.
*If you prefer adding meat (or meat alternative), substitute 1 can of beans for 1 lb of meat or meat alternative.