Spicy Pumpkin-Black Bean Enchiladas


Two little feet arrived back on the West coast last night.

This morning, two little feet were up at 3:50 am. Because on the other side of the country, it was a totally reasonable time to wake up.

When the rest of Vancouver rubbed the sleep out of its eyes and cafes finally opened their doors, I bundled little feet up in sockies and booties, leashed the dog, and off we all went in search of the strongest coffee within walking distance and a zucchini muffin the size of my face.

On the walk home, dog saw skateboarder. Dog tried to eat skateboarder. At the exact moment I brought coffee to my lips.

I only have three words to say on that subject: white. wool. coat.


When we returned, I put two little feet down on the floor and turned my back to find a cozy position to enjoy my what was left of my treasures. Theo promptly reminded me of the new trick he learned while we were away – pulling himself up to standing and happily tossing/whacking/chewing on whatever coffee table/bookshelf/t.v. stand goodies he can get his pudgy fingers on.

In 1.8 minutes, he unloaded my suitcase for me, and showered himself with my prop spoons.

I put my breakfast down to address the situation.

It took the dog 0.2 seconds to eat a muffin the size of my face.

Now I am sitting in a sea of unpacked underwear and antique spoons, picking at muffin crumbs on the floor, shooting dirty looks at the damn dog and watching my one-toothed cutie pie pull prop napkins from the shelf he can finally reach, flapping them around and watching them flutter down with squeals of delight.

Let’s talk about dinner. Comfort food, please.


Pumpkin offers a silky texture and suggestion of sweetness to the spicy sauce that bathes these hearty, cheesy vegetarian enchiladas.

The sauce consists of onion, chile, garlic, spices, pumpkin puree and broth. While it simmers away on the stove, busy yourself tucking some tender black beans and a sprinkling of cheese into soft flour tortillas.

The filled tortillas are smothered in the spicy sauce, dolloped with sour cream and showered with grated cheese.


I really really really love pumpkin. I am as excited to eat in January as I am in October, especially in savoury applications like this one, with cloves, chile and cumin to warm up chilly bones. The actual flavour is very subtle, though, so don’t be put off if you aren’t sure about it. Feel free to swap in tomato puree, though, if you wish.

I have been cooking big batches of dry beans for use during the week (even freezing some for busy evenings down the road) – but you can make this an impromptu weeknight meal by using canned instead.

Black-Bean-Pumpkin-Enchiladas5Pacific brand sent me a sample of their tetra pack boxed organic puree a while back, and I practically begged them for more. Really good-tasting, organic pumpkin with nothing else on the ingredient list and packaged sans BPA.

Spicy Pumpkin-Black Bean Enchiladas
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or chipotle powder if more heat is preferred)
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 3½ cups pumpkin puree (homemade, or two 1 lb/454 g boxes of Pacific brand OR 2 15 oz cans)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt
  • 6 large flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)
  • 4½ cups cooked black beans (from 1½ cups dry beans or 3-15 oz cans)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced, optional
  • Minced green onion, serrano pepper or cilantro for sprinkling, optional
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onions and cook until translucent but not browned, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and serrano pepper and cook 2 minutes more. Add cumin, paprika and cloves; cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in pumpkin puree and broth; increase heat to high until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat; maintain sauce at a simmer as you assemble the enchiladas.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9"x13"x2" baking dish. Place a tortilla on a flat surface and top with ¾ cup black beans, ¼ cup sauce and 2 tbsp of the grated cheddar. Roll up, tucking in sides, and place in the baking dish. Proceed the same way with remaining tortillas, snuggling them close to one and other in the dish.
  5. Top enchiladas with remaining sauce, then dollop 1 tbsp sour cream on each and sprinkle remaining cheddar over top. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Top with sliced avocado and sprinkle with minced green onion, serrano or cilantro.

  • Debbie

    Lovely photos, and the recipe sounds delicious! xx

  • Stef M

    Oooh, I LOVE the idea of pumpkin sauce! Will be trying this soon.

  • Francesca

    Hahaha should I be sorry that this post literally made me laugh out loud? ;)

  • foodess

    @Francesca  Yes! Kidding. :D

  • foodess

    @Stef M  Lemme know what you think when you do! :)

  • foodess

    @Debbie  Thanks Debbie!

  • http://www.naivecookcooks.com/ naivecookcooks

    That’s some use of pumpkin puree!!! LOVE  these !!

  • bkfarmgirl

    Such a great way to use pumpkin, I love that this is savory instead of sweet!

  • Rena

    I totally commiserate! My 14 month old is the same, dumping everything out all over the place. Your writing is magnificent, photos beautiful, and recipes mouth-watering. Why doesn’t everyone know about you?! You’re awesome :)

  • foodess

    @Rena  Thank you Rena, you made my day!! Spread the word! ;-) hehe

  • http://bojongourmet.com/ AlannaTT

    These look awesome! I love that the pumpkin puree is in the sauce – that’s genius.

  • maria kempe

    happened on your website a little while ago. I love it. We eat a wide variety and now are trying to do one or two days without meat per week. your recipes are very helpfulland easy to follow.

  • car insurance

    Shoot, so that’s that one supposes.

  • Locallavender.com

    I found your recipe on Pinterest last week and have made it twice! It is SO good! Thank you so much for this delicious recipe; it has a permanent place in my repertoire :)

    • http://www.foodess.com Jennifer Pallian

      That’s what I LOVE to hear! :) Thank you!

    • foodess

      Thank you, Moriah! This is my favourite kind of comment to receive :)

  • Tami Tipton Halphen

    I would use corn tortillas instead of flour but that’s just me. I don’t like flour tortillas.

  • Marissa

    Wow! This was amazing! I made it tonight and the flavors came together so well. Absolutely delicious. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes :)

    • http://foodess.com/ Jennifer Pallian

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Marissa! It’s so nice to hear.