These Speedy Vegan (& Gluten-Free!) Enchiladas Are My New Summer Obsession

They're fresh, simple, and incredibly delicious to boot.

June  3, 2019
Photo by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Matthews

Summer! How I both love and loathe you. You're great for your bountiful produce; long, balmy days practically made for hanging around at the beach; and ideal conditions to consume numerous frosty drinks and ice-cream cones. But I could do without the near-immediate, full-body sweating I experience upon stepping outdoors; the hot garbage smell that seems to permeate the air, even indoors (New Yorkers, you know what I'm talking about); and my total lack of desire to turn on the stove for literally four months.

Still, as much as it sounds appealing now, I know that come August, I'm going to be mighty tired of eating salads, cold watermelon, and said ice cream for every meal. So I decided to take a proactive approach this year, in anticipation of the dog days: I began scouting out big-batch, vegetable-forward, won't-put-me-straight-to-bed dinners to make all summer long.

I knew just the place to start for this mission: the much-anticipated new cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio, the superwoman behind one of my favorite (largely vegetarian and plant-based!) blogs, Love & Lemons. The book, Love & Lemons Every Day: More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes for Every Meal, is pretty much my easy-breezy summertime cooking bible, packed with uncomplicated yet totally inspirational recipes based on in-season produce.

These recipes are geared toward everyday cooking and eating; as Jeanine says in the book's introduction, they're "perfect for busy mornings and weeknights," and almost all are accompanied with a "helpful everyday tip" to help streamline cooking. The dishes happen to be ultra-satisfying, too. Think: Asparagus, Snap Pea & Chive Blossom Pasta; Charred Cauliflower Pitas With Halloumi & Harissa; Pizza with Apples, Leeks & Lemon Zest Labneh; and (swoon) Zucchini Verde Vegan Enchiladas.

The beauty of these enchiladas is manifest, but let me point out just a few highlights: They come together quickly (thanks, speedy summer standby, zucchini!), they're super hearty (that's because of the crumbled tofu and tender black beans), and they're positively bursting with flavor (cumin, coriander, and a zesty tomatillo salsa verde, reporting for duty).

They also, notably, don't have a lick of cheese or cream—they're completely vegan and gluten-free!—which is especially welcome in keeping things light and fresh during hot summer evenings. Instead, the richness comes from an impossibly creamy cashew lime cream and a generous heaping of fresh avocado that both go on top, right after the enchiladas come out of the oven.

Speaking of the oven, here's the best news: After the filling is done on the stove (in 10 minutes or less!), these enchiladas bake up in about 20 short minutes. Even when the last thing I want to do is make my apartment even hotter, it's a small price to pay. Besides, the recipe makes a good amount, so it wouldn't be out of line to freeze the baked-up leftovers and enjoy them later on (just make a new batch of the cashew lime cream). I know that'll be my go-to move all summer.

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What's your go-to summer weeknight meal? Let me know in the comments!
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Brinda is the Managing Editor at Food52, where she also edits all of Food52's cookbooks and covers the latest and greatest books on the site (drop her a line with recs!). She likes chewy Neapolitan pizza, stinky cheese of all sorts, and tahini-flavored anything. Brinda lives in Brooklyn with 18 plants. Find her at @brindayesterday on Twitter and Instagram.