By Brandon McDearis

Enchiladas are one of those dishes that originated as a simple Mexican street food, but eventually evolved into a comfort classic on many American dinner tables. They can be filled with anything from chicken and beef to even seafood or potatoes. There is no question that with enough filler, enchiladas can become as artery clogging as deep-dish pizza. However, when prepared carefully, they can make for a healthy dinner. This recipe is light on the cheese and sour cream, but heavy on the beans for a dense serving of protein and fiber. They are fairly quick and easy to prepare, and they freeze well for another time, which might be a smart move. They are tasty enough that the temptation to overeat them can be alluring.

The recipe makes 12 servings.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • dash of hot sauce
  • juice from one lime
  • 5 scallions, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 3 cups picante or ranchero sauce
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 12 whole wheat tortillas


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, pepper and garlic at medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until it becomes soft and translucent.
  2. Add cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and continue stirring for one more minute. Reduce heat a bit to medium-low and stir in the beans for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Transfer bean and vegetable mixture to a bowl. Add the hot sauce, lime juice, scallions, sour cream, one cup of the picante/ranchero sauce, and one cup of the cheese. Mix together thoroughly.
  4. Spray a shallow (13 x 9-inch) baking dish with pan spray. Spread one cup of picante/ranchero sauce on the bottom of the pan. Spoon the bean mixture into the tortillas, roll and set in the pan seam side down. Top with the last cup of sauce and remaining cheese (more cheese if desired).
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes until heated all the way through and golden brown on top.

One enchilada is one serving.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 316 / Fat: 12g / Saturated Fat: 4g / Carbohydrates: 38g / Fiber: 9g / Protein: 20g

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Brandon McDearis is the owner of Your Way Cuisine,, a personal chef and nutrition consulting business. He is also a professional wanderer that spends much of his year trotting the globe and working in places such as Alaska, Australia, and Antarctica. 

Black Bean Benefits

More than just a meat substitute, black beans really shine when it comes to fiber and water content, two ingredients that make you feel fuller, faster. So, adding beans to your diet can help you cut calories without feeling deprived. One cup of cooked beans, about two-thirds of a can, provides about 12 grams of fiber, which is nearly half the recommended daily dose of 21 to 25 grams per day for adult women or 30 to 38 grams for adult men. Meat, on the other hand, contains no fiber at all. Beans also have something else that meat lacks: phytochemicals, compounds found only in plants. Beans are high in antioxidants, a class of phytochemicals that incapacitate cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Free radicals have been linked to everything from cancer to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. What’s more, when you substitute beans for meat in your diet, you are decreasing the amount of saturated fat as well. In fact, black beans are so nutritious that the latest dietary guidelines recommend we triple our current intake from 1 to 3 cups per week.