Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Right from the start, the originality and flavor profile of this recipe made it a standout for VT taste testers. "My wife and I eat this dish a lot in the fall and winter months. We make it when we're having guests (vegetarian and not) because we know everyone will enjoy it," explains James McNulty. "It can be made the night before and it travels well, so it's great for a potluck or a holiday party."


Ingredient Set Name: 



Ingredient Line: 
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
Ingredient Line: 
1 tsp. ancho chile powder
Ingredient Line: 
1 tsp. chili powder
Ingredient Line: 
1 tsp. garlic powder
Ingredient Line: 
1 tsp. onion powder
Ingredient Line: 
1 tsp. dried oregano
Ingredient Line: 
½ tsp. chipotle chile powder

Ingredient Set Name: 



Ingredient Line: 
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Ingredient Line: 
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
Ingredient Line: 
1 ½ lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (3 cups)
Ingredient Line: 
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
Ingredient Line: 
1 16-oz. jar prepared medium salsa
Ingredient Line: 
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
Ingredient Line: 
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced
Ingredient Line: 
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
Ingredient Line: 
1 12-oz. round queso fresco, divided

Ingredient Set Name: 



Ingredient Line: 
16 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
Ingredient Line: 
2 limes, cut into wedges
Ingredient Line: 
1 avocado, sliced
Ingredient Line: 
½ cup sour cream, for garnish


1. To make Sauce: Bring all ingredients to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine, then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

2. To make Filling: Heat oil in separate saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, salsa, garlic, chipotle chile, and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft. Mash mixture with potato masher until combined. Add black beans, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in half of queso fresco, and remove from heat.

3. To assemble Enchiladas: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush 13- x 9-inch baking dish with oil. Spread 1/2 cup Sauce in bottom of dish. Fill tortillas with Filling. Roll, and pack close together seam-side down in baking dish. Top with remaining Sauce and queso fresco. Bake 15 minutes.

4. Adjust oven to broil. Broil Enchiladas 5 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with lime wedges, avocado slices, sour cream, and cilantro sprigs, if using.

Nutrition Information: 

13 g
Total Fat: 
15 g
Saturated Fat: 
5 g
65 g
20 mg
963 mg
11 g
11 g
Serves 8 (makes 16 enchiladas)

Comments on this Recipe

Made these last night. Yum! They smelled wonderful as I was making them and I hoped the taste would not be disappointing and it wasn't! My husband and I really liked them and we will definitely make them again.

These were very good! I would definitely make them again. The only problem I had was with the corn tortilla so I used flour tortillas instead. The corn tortilla did not roll without crumbling to pieces.

I have made this recipe twice since I received my magazine. Delicious!!

Made these a few months ago when the issue with them on the cover came out. They were DELICIOUS! Even my carnivorous dad loved them! I have been craving them lately so I will be making them this week.

Well...this recipe did not disappoint!!! It is a fabulous combination and blend of wonderful spices and flavors! My family LOVES sweet potatoes so the recipe was attractive from the beginning. Will make these again for company or a party. It's a keeper and definitely an award winner! I did use whole wheat tortillas instead of corn.

Have been wanting to make these since the magazine but I'm concerned with the spiciness factor - are these really spicy?

Catherine: if you don't want it too spicy, skip some of the chili pepper powder in the sauce and MAKE SURE TO SCRAPE OUT THE SEEDS FROM THE CHIPOTLE!! Despite my many years of living in NM I forgot this tidbit of info the first time I made these and had to make another batch of filling without the salsa or chipotle to even it out. That said, they were AMAZING and I was glad I had extra!

I don't handle spice very well and I would say this is in the "comfortably hot" range for me. The sauce is spicier than the filling, so you could leave it off, find a vegetarian canned mild enchilada sauce, or simply cut down on the spices to taste. Adding sour cream and guacamole also helps to cut the heat level.

Corn tortillas usually are warmed up by a quick heating in an oiled fry pan - both sides. It seems to bind the tortilla and makes it flexible so it can be rolled without crumbling. You can either brush the tortillas with oil before heating each individually both sides in the hot fry pan or a tablespoon of oil heated in the pan. Skipping this may save oil calories but will make the process a little difficult. Gonna try this tonight. Sounds great.

OMG!!! To quote my husband "Gourmet Mexican". I don't know what to add to the comments above. I've never made enchiladas before and these were spectacular. I wanted to eat the filling as I rolled the tortillas. I couldn't find ancho chile powder and I used 10" wheat tortillas. Otherwise I followed the recipe. Congrats to James McNulty! @Catherine: They are spicy but I could eat them and I don't usually eat really spicy foods. You could use mild salsa and half the chipotle chile in adobo sauce if you want it milder.

This is just delicious!! I added extra hot peppers to add a bit more kick. I will be making these again and again. :D

We are not vegetarians, but we have cut down on our meat considerably. We first made this last month and my husband has been talking about them ever since. This time I made two smaller pans of enchiladas with plans to freeze the second. These are delicious and hearty and the heat level is perfect! Because Trader Joes didn't have queso fresco, we substituted with feta and it was awesome!

This recipe is a keeper. Filling is great for burritos too. For the sauce do yourself a favor and sub real onions and garlic for the powders, you won't be sorry.

These were delicious. I used flour tortillas instead of corn and feta instead of queso fresco because I wasn't able to find vegetarian queso fresco. I had to use about 1 1/2 C water instead of just 1/2 cup when cooking the sweet potato mixture. Next time, I'm going to bake the sweet potatoes beforehand to get them to soften more quickly.

I've made these several times and we LOVE them!!!! I couldn't find the ancho chile powder so I didn't use it, and never noticed. I used 4oz goat cheese in the mixture and grated goat cheese for the top. It is a favorite of ours!!!

I have made these twice and plan on making them several more times! Delicious!

What is queso fresco? What can I substitute for it is since I'm sure this little town in AL won't have it.

I have made this a number of times now and absolutely love it!I made it for meat eaters, even someone who hates black beans, and everyone loved it! I used a fruity salsa, like one with pineapple or mango. It adds a nice flavor. I find it makes more than one 9X13 pan full so either make extra enchilada sauce or pace yourself with it. Only problem is the sweet potatoes seem to take WAY longer than indicated to get soft. I may try someone's suggestion of cooking them first. .. But this is a must try. It's now one of my family's favorites!

momwifeteacher commenter mentioned freezing this dish. Could you share with us how that turned out? Also, Mary Ann, queso fresco is a mild cheese. I can find it in the Mexican section or the cheese section at a grocery store

The calorie count on this is wrong. I suspected it would be too low...218 cal for 2 enchiladas? Then I looked in my print copy...it is 435 for 2. It's disappointing that this would be wrong online and mislead people who may not be that familiar with calories into thinking they're eating less than they are. It would be great to see this collected.

Made these last night they were great, I added less cheese and wrapped the tortillas in paper towel dampened in microwave till warm, this made them easy to work with. Next time I will cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time. Makes a lot of food so we have lots of left overs.

loved this recipe - I diced a zucchini and red pepper - really delicious.

TIP FOR LEFTOVERS: This recipe is fantastic! I didn't end up using all of the filling so the next day for lunch I put the leftover filling in my blender and warmed it up. It makes a delicious soup!!

INcredible!!! These were wonderful!! Really, very easy to make. I would consider these rather spicy, but I like spice. For Lauren in San Diego... I used a deep skillet and covered it while the sweet potatoes cooked. I think this helps the potatoes cook faster and also prevents evaporation. For Mary Ann who asked about Queso Fresco it is a soft, white Mexican cheese that you can find in the cold tortilla dept. of the store or cheese dept. or where cold Mexican foods are kept. Does anyone have a suggestion for a vegan substitute for this cheese?

Made these last night and used multi grain tortillas. So good. This is going to be a dish we make a lot. Yum.

Can you tell me what cheese I can substitute for the queso fresco cheese. It is difficult to purchase in Canada. Thank you, Anne Jarvus

Queso fresco is a Mexican fresh cheese that tends to be salty, and doesn't really melt. Other fresh cheeses that you could try - Paneer, Farmers cheese or Feta cheese.

Something very mild and soft but firm. Maybe farmers cheese, if you can get that. Fresh mozzarella is close but expensive. Mild gouda or monterey jack maybe-- not quite right but if diced small rather than shredded or sliced it could work. Better still might be a combination of fresh mozz & gouda/jack. Good luck!

These enchiladas are amazing and very filling!

These were fabulous! I made them for a dinner party and they were a hit! I didn't have the ancho chili or chipotle chili powder, so I just used some of the sauce from the chili in adobo can. They tasted wonderfully. Also, my substitute for the queso fresco was halloumi. It worked well. I also added grated jalapeno jack cheddar on top before baking.

These were amazing! I didn't use the ancho chile powder, or the chiptole chile because my daughter doesn't care for spicy things, but this dish was so great that my who family asked when I'd be amking them again!

I made a very loosely interpreted version of these tonight. Thank you for the recipe! Even my meat and potatoes husband liked them! :)

Absolutely delicious! My guests loved this recipe and asked me to pass it along! Great party food. I was able to prepare the sauce and filling two days ahead and assemble/bake them on party day. YUM!

Delicious!!!! Even my non-vegetarian boyfriend loved them. He kept telling the leftovers got better everyday. I cant wait to make them again!!!

Great recipe! I half everything because this makes a LOT of food! To save time, I also microwave the sweet potatoes while I prepare the sauce. Then I leave out the water in the Filling mix and put the cooked potatoes in the pan. Once it's all nice had hot, I finish to directions.

These are delicious, one of my favorite dishes.does anyone know the calories for this dish without the cheese?

Really good. I usually make them as a layered casserole instead of rolling them. It makes them that much easier to make, and they still taste just as delicious.

A-MA-ZING!! They were sooooo good!

I recommend dipping or brushing each tortilla with the enchilada sauce on each side before filling and rolling. The tortillas got too dry and started to fall apart.

This is one of the best recipes Vegetarian Times has showcased. I make these enchiladas all the time for my family and everyone loves it!

These are wicked! My husband loves them. (I recently made another veg times recipe that I liked and he ho-hummed and said "this is good but they're not the burritos") They came out a little spicy which we both like but my three year old does not like too much spice so the sour cream and avocado helps tame it down. They make a ton too!!

Love this recipe! It's great for family dinners and potlucks!

These are so good! I wouldn't change a thing in the recipe, and made just one change in procedure at the suggestion of a reviewer: I dipped the tortillas in sauce to keep them soft and pliable before filling them. I'll definitely make these for company, since the components are easily prepared in advance and can be assembled quickly. The avocado, sour cream, lime, and cilantro accompaniments were perfect!

I made these last night and they turned out great! Next time, I might follow one of the other comments and dip the tortillas in the sauce before rolling so they don't fall apart when serving. I also think I will add feta cheese to the top before serving. My boyfriend and I have started a "meatless monday" tradition to be healthier and this will be on the rotation now! Thank you!

What is Round Queso Fresco??

Please reply and where to get it at!! THANKS!

Has anyone tried these with gluten-free tortillas and if so, how did it work? Any suggestions? I'd love to try this recipe.

This sounds yummy and healthy!

Or you could simmer the potatoes but without the salsa, then add it later. Personally, I think adding salsa adds a sour element to the dish that isn't needed anyway. Mexican cooking is about less is more. Adding spices and salsas seems like a good idea but it often is counter to the dish. Save the salsas for the table to offer a temperature contrast. Nice flavor combinations in the dish otherwise, though.

I followed the recipe exactly except I used peeled red potatotes. I made these for my vegetarian sister and the rest of the family. She loved them. My kids, father and I thought they were too spicey. I will definately make them again (w/red potatoes). I will use less of the chilie powders.