This Community Recipe is Natasha’s Surprisingly Vegan Enchilada Casserole. Enchiladas are a Mexican dish of tortillas wrapped around a filling of meat, beans or vegetables. They are arranged in a dish and covered with a chili tomato sauce before being baked. This casserole version basically takes all the delicious ingredients of enchiladas and arranges them in layers like a lasagne. What’s not to love?!
Community Recipes is a recurring feature where we share your vegan recipes on the Jewish Food Hero blog. If you want to share a recipe in this series, pitch us your idea here.This series is all about sharing healthy plant-based and vegan recipes. We are creating a positive community around food and sharing.
All about Natasha Nadel
Natasha is from Chicago and currently lives in Potomac, MD with her husband and their two children. Natasha is a vegan chef, educator, and author. She wrote The Healthy Family, Healthy You Cookbook and The Healthy Mama’s Guide to Feeding your Family Well. Her mission is to help people eat more plants. She wants to create a new future where Jewish life builds us up spiritually and physically. You can see how she does that via the delicious food she shares on her Instagram and Twitter.
Healthy vegan food
Natasha loves figuring out how to veganize (and healthify!) dishes she enjoyed before becoming vegan. Just like this recipe for her Surprisingly Vegan Enchilada Casserole! However, Natasha knows that not all vegan foods are equal. She says, “whenever I see a recipe that starts with creaming (even vegan) butter and sugar, I simply walk away. To me that’s just not in the spirit of what I do or who I am.”
Prior to having kids, Natasha used to read for 3 hours a day! Post-kids, she keeps up with the latest vegan doctors, authors and other books via audiobooks. She loves to listen to podcasts about politics, behavioral economics and positive psychology while she cooks. She says that cooking is her meditation, it gives her focus and calm and she can absorb herself in it for hours.
Committed to the younger generation
Aside from community workshops, Natasha also teaches healthy cooking to middle schoolers at a Jewish Day School and teaches camps at her house in the summer. She is a big supporter of Friendship Circle, having worked with them for 5 years and walked the Miami half marathon to raise money for them 4 years in a row.
Natasha is dedicated to building community and wants the Jewish community to build both mental and physical health. She says, ‘We should all experience hosting and being hosted where we feel full and satisfied, but not guilty, ashamed and “ungestuffed.”’
How was this recipe created?
Before becoming kosher and vegan, Natasha would go out to eat Cheese Enchiladas once a week. Keeping kosher meant stopping going to the Mexican restaurant. Then she became vegan and all that gooey cheesiness was really over. This was also in the time before people started making so many vegan cheese options. So, she came up with her own recipe made from whole foods.
This enchilada casserole has almost caused heart attacks. Other people eating meat at a shabbat or yuntov meal were sure that Natasha had given them something dairy at the same time.
Cashews are a great source of plant-based protein. They lend themselves so well to vegan cheeses and sauces because of their soft texture. A relatively short soaking time is all that’s needed to be able to blend them smooth. Try this easy starter recipe for cashew cheese.
Beans whether slightly more labor intensive dried beans, or simple cans. It is so important to keep beans in your cupboard so you always have an instant meal on hand. Basics like kidney and chickpea are delicious. Using a variety of beans is a great way of mixing up the taste texture and appearance of dishes – just like Natasha has with her Surprisingly Vegan Enchilada Casserole.
More Jewish Food Hero Community Recipes
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to mix up our regular recipe rotation. Our Community Recipes feature is for just that – to share our favorites and hear from a variety of people in our community. Don’t forget to get in touch to share your vegan recipe too!
You might like these recipes:
Shira’s Vegan No-Bake Cookie Dough Squares. These treats are so simple to make. Make them for a yummy snack, dessert, breakfast, or even crush them up and serve on top of some non-dairy yogurt or non-dairy ice cream!
Michelle’s Hearts of Palm and Mandarin Crunchy Noodle Bowl. This is a big, bright bowl of vibrant salad greens, succulent palm hearts and soft juicy mandarin pieces. With creamy avocado and topped off with a generous handful of crunchy, curly salad noodles. A lime honey dressing wraps this Asian inspired dish together.
Irit’s Salty and Sour Marinated Zucchini Concia is a Roman Jewish fried zucchini dish. After browning in a hot pan, zucchini slices get their flavor from garlic, herbs and salt. A vinegar marinade gives this dish an intense flavor, drawing out the natural sweetness of the zucchini. Perfect as a vegetable dish for any table, and leftovers make any sandwich sing.
for the Vegan Cheese Sauce: 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least an hour
1 roasted red pepper (fresh or jarred)
½ cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup almond milk
Heat oven to 350˚ F.
Prepare the Vegan Cheese Sauce: Combine ingredients in blender and puree.
Grease a 9 x 13 ceramic dish with olive oil.
Place the onion and garlic in a medium-large sauté pan in ¼ cup of water. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add another ¼ cup water to the pan (if needed) to keep the onions from sticking. Let the onion and garlic cook for another two minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the kale.
Add the kale to the pan, along with another ¼ cup of water. Cook another 5 minutes until onions are translucent, kale is wilted and water is absorbed.
Add the beans and enchilada sauce to the pan and combine. Then, either take half of the mixture and pulse a few times in a blender (leave it chunky), or use an immersion blender and blend half of the bean mixture in the pan.
Mix the blended and non-blended bean mixtures together in the pan.
Place 4 corn tortillas on the bottom of the casserole dish (they will overlap). Cover the tortillas with half the bean mixture from the pan and smooth out.
Add 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce in a thin layer on top of the bean mixture. Be sure to spread it out evenly.
Lay 3–4 more tortillas on top of the bean mixture, covering the whole width of the dish. Add the other half of the bean mixture and smooth out again. Add another 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce, in a thin layer, as before.
Lay 3–4 tortillas over that second layer of beans. Then spread the last 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce, in a thin and even layer. Add a little more if it doesn’t feel like enough.