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Beans and greens are a classic combination. But when you add sweet potatoes to the mix — and use that mix to fill enchiladas — you have something even more interesting. And certainly tastier.

If your only experience with enchiladas is on the combination platter at your local Tex-Mex restaurant, you may be surprised to learn that the filling options can go far beyond chicken, beef or cheese.

During my travels in Mexico, I have eaten enchiladas stuffed with everything from spinach and mushrooms to shrimp and potatoes. And I've learned that as long as there is a tortilla wrapped around a filling and bathed in sauce, it can be an enchilada.

It doesn't matter if the sauce is green or red, creamy or cheesy, hot or mild. The tortillas, while usually corn, can also be flour. And the filling is only limited by the cook's creativity.

Today's Sweet Potato, Bean and Kale Enchiladas were born not only from my imagination, but from my pantry, with an assist from my refrigerator. I had all the ingredients on hand and the results were so good that I wanted to share them.

Sweet potatoes mixed with savory ingredients have always been one of my favorite combinations. I'm a big fan of contrasting flavors, so it was no surprise that this dish hit all the right notes for my palate. Even better, it's easy and inexpensive to make, as well as being nutritious.

I like to serve these enchiladas with rice that's studded with chopped cilantro and sprinkled with a touch of lime juice. If I'm feeling the need to be particularly healthful, I'll make it brown rice.

Otherwise, they are hearty and satisfying enough to make a complete — and completely delicious — meal.

Sweet Potato, Bean and Kale Enchiladas

Serves 4.

You won't miss the meat in these flavor-packed, satisfyingly hearty enchiladas. From Meredith Deeds.

• 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

• 1 small onion, chopped

• 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes (about 2 c.)

• 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• 2 c. chopped kale

• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

• 2 (10-oz.) cans red enchilada sauce

• 10 corn tortillas

• 2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz.)

• Cilantro leaves, for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sweet potatoes, jalapeño and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes until the sweet potatoes are almost soft. Add the kale, cumin and salt and cook, stirring, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add the beans and 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine and let simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from heat.

Brush the tortillas lightly on both sides with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. On a large baking sheet, place the tortillas in stacks of two. Place in the oven and bake just long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and stack them in a single pile; cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.

Spread another 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.

To assemble, add 1/3 cup of the filling and 2 tablespoons cheese in the middle of each tortilla. Roll up the tortillas and place in the baking dish. Spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve immediately.

Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at Follow her on Instagram ­at @meredithdeeds.