Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Vegan Enchilada, take 1

I should preface this by saying that I am not really a vegetarian or vegan. I have, however, recently been trying to cut down a bit on the amount of meat in my diet. With that in mind, I decided today that I would try modifying a familiar chicken enchilada recipe to make it into a vegan dish. It's pretty simple to make, really, with a very short ingredients list. It just has chicken, corn tortillas, green enchilada sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and diced black olives. I substituted extra firm tofu for the chicken, and I bought some mozzarella flavored faux cheese. I figured that without the usual chicken flavor, I would need some additional seasonings to go with the green enchilada sauce, so I added in a touch of onion powder, Cholula sauce, and some crushed red pepper. After mixing together the filling (sauce, spices, tofu, cheese, olives), slathering some extra sauce on the tortillas, filling and rolling them up, and lining them on a baking sheet you just spread a little more sauce on the top, along with some shredded cheese and more olives, and the whole thing just bakes right up in about 20 minutes.

The principal ideas were sound, and the finished product was vaguely similar to the original. My modifications, however, require a little more tweaking. First off, the "cheese" was a source of trouble, since it didn't melt properly. I'll have to try a different brand next time and see if it works better. Secondly, I think next time I'll have to leave the tofu to sit and soak in some other sauce for a good long while before I add it to the filling. As it was, the tofu absorbed a modest amount of the green sauce's flavor, but it feels like it needs to be punched up a bit more to be really worthwhile. Finally, I think next time I may have to add either additional seasonings or larger amounts of the ones I already used.

Ultimately the end result, while certainly edible and not particularly offensive, was just pretty lackluster. I've still got plenty of everything except the cheese, so I can try again as soon as I find a more acceptable substitute on that front. I think, with a little work, I can turn this into an enjoyable meal that I won't be embarrassed to make for other people.

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