Although I was a transplant, growing up in an area where "TexMex" food is serious business left its mark on me. I still remember my first night in the south, having made the long drive with my family from the northeast shores at the tender age of 7, to a chain restaurant called "Pancho's Mexican Buffet". We were convinced this place was an exemplary source of real Mexican food, served cafeteria style, complete with a soft serve ice cream machine and little Mexican flags on the table that you can raise whenever you wanted a waiter to show up.
Fast forward to a decade or so later. I had learned that not only were there restaurants out there with even better TexMex food than Pancho's, but that TexMex was an entire culinary culture to itself, different from - although sharing similarities with - Mexican food traditions. Through experimentation and the internet, I learned how to cook some of my own TexMex dishes, and I even developed enough tolerance to spice that I was able eat and enjoy the "hot" jar of salsa.
This recipe is one of the first TexMex dishes I attempted to veganize and it's also my favorite. It's a bit of an adventure, but I hope you're willing to join me because the effort is worth the reward. The creamy, spicy, scrumptious reward.
First, you'll need to make some seitan. Click here for full instructions and step-by-step photos on making seitan. Shred it into small chunks and crumbles.
Now make the sauce. It starts with a small roux - don't worry! It's easier than you think.
After whisking together some margarine and flour and letting it cook for a bit, stir in vegetable broth. Let it thicken a little, then add the vegan sour cream. You don't want that to boil. You just want to heat it up. You'll also be adding some other flavoring ingredients, including salsa verde or "green sauce", a salsa made from tomatillos. If you've never had salsa verde before, you're missing out! Look for it near the other salsas or in the international section of your grocery store.
After you've got your sauce made, set it aside and turn back to your seitan.
Since the sauce in this dish has cool and mild flavors, I really like to spice things up with the filling. Start off with a base of onion, garlic and chilies, then add your seitan, some tomato paste and whole bunch of flavorful spices. Once it's browned a bit, it's time to start assembling the enchiladas.
One easy difference to spot between TexMex and Mexican food is how the enchiladas are made. Although I've never had the privilege of trying any real Mexican enchiladas, my understanding is that they consist of tortillas dipped in sauce and folded flat over the filling. The little round tubes in the casserole dish are a sure sign that you've crossed over to TexMex territory.
To make enchiladas the TexMex way, spoon a little seitan and Daiya onto warm tortillas, roll, and arrange in a casserole dish that has been moistened with some of your sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce on top and layer with more Daiya.
Bake your enchiladas until melty and bubbly, then sprinkle them with some chopped cilantro. Too many delicious enchiladas for you to devour in one night? No problem. They taste even better when heated up the next day.
Sour Cream Seitan Enchiladas
Important: Be sure to give yourself enough time to cook the seitan. For a quicker recipe, you can use store bought seitan.
1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable stock powder
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
Sour Cream Sauce
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 (8 oz) cartons vegan sour cream
1 cup salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano chilies, minced (see tip)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
15-20 corn tortillas
1 (8 oz) package Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Prepare the seitan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a lidded casserole dish with non-stick spray. Combine flours, nutritional yeast, spices and vegetable stock powder in a large bowl. Mix the water, lemon juice and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms. Adjust amount of water or gluten as needed (see tip). Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then form into a loaf. Place the seitan in the casserole dish and cover with 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Flip the loaf, then cover and cook for another 40 minutes. Remove the seitan from the dish and allow it to rest until cool enough to handle.
- Stick a fork into the top of the seitan loaf and hold it in place with one hand. Use a second fork to shred the loaf into small chunks and crumbles.
- Prepare the sour cream sauce. Melt the margarine in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wire whisk and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the vegetable broth while constantly whisking until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes, continuing to whisk, until sauce has thickened. Whisk in the sour cream and salsa verde, then stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Do not allow to boil, but cook until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Prepare the enchiladas. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and Serrano chilies and cook 1 more minute. Stir in shredded seitan, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and salt. Cook 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Warm up the tortillas on a skillet or in the microwave and cover with a kitchen towel. Spread 1 cup of the sour cream sauce along the bottom of a 5 quart baking dish. Place a scant 1/4 cup of the shredded seitan mixture and 1 tablespoon Daiya on a tortilla. Roll up and place in the baking dish seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sour cream sauce, then sprinkle with Daiya.
- Bake enchiladas for 25 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned. Let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and serve.