This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated is a quick and easy way to dress up the season’s asparagus. Cook garlic, tomatoes and olives in a skillet for a few minutes, then set aside. Cook the asparagus in the same pan until tender-crisp and bright green. Plate the asparagus, top with the tomato-olive mixture and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for olives with no sulfites added and butter that does not contain colour. Genuine Parmesan cheese (check the rind for the lettering spelling out the name of the cheese) is additive-free.

Cook garlic in skillet for a few minutes

Add tomatoes and olives, cook for a few minutes and set aside

Pan roast the asparagus

Top asparagus with tomato-olive mixture, garnish with basil and cheese and serve


2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

2 medium cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 pint (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved

⅓ cup (83 ml) brine-cured black olives (such as kalamata), pitted and chopped

1 tablespoon (15 ml) unsalted butter

2 pounds (907 g) thick asparagus spears (see note), ends trimmed

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

4 tablespoons (60 ml) chopped fresh basil (optional)

1 ounce (28 g) grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup/125 ml)


This recipe works best with asparagus that is at least ½ inch (1.25 cm) thick near the base. If using thinner spears, reduce the covered cooking time to 3 minutes and the uncovered cooking time to 5 minutes. Do not use pencil-thin asparagus; it cannot withstand the heat and overcooks too easily.

Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil and garlic in 12-inch (30-cm) skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic turns golden around edges but does not darken, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and olives; cook until tomatoes begin to break down and release liquid, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl and cover with foil. Rinse skillet with water and dry well with paper towels.

Add the butter and remaining oil in the skillet. When butter has melted, add half of asparagus to skillet with tips pointed in one direction; add remaining spears with tips pointed in one direction. Using tongs, distribute spears in even layer (spears will not quite fit into single layer); cover and cook until asparagus is bright green and still crisp, about 5 minutes.

Uncover and increase heat to high; season asparagus with salt and pepper. Cook until spears are tender and well browned along one side, 5 to 7 minutes, using tongs to occasionally move spears from center of pan to edge of pan to ensure all are browned. Transfer asparagus to serving dish, top with tomato mixture. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper; sprinkle with basil and Parmesan. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

To Serve 2-3: Cut all ingredient amounts in half. Cook asparagus in 10-inch (25-cm) skillet over medium heat, covered, for 3 minutes. Remove cover and cook over medium-high heat until tender and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not adjust heat when cooking garnishes; however, cooking times for garnishes should be reduced by 1 to 2 minutes.

From Cook’s Illustrated

This recipe from Real Simple combines chicken thighs with red onion, garlic and radishes, topped with a luscious sauce. Brown the thighs and set aside. Soften the garlic and onion, add the radishes, return the chicken to the pan and roast for about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and vegetables and make the quick pan sauce. Cook’s note: I used scallions instead of chives and omitted the baguette slices. Also, for juicier chicken, liberally salt the thighs up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate, uncovered. If you do this, omit the salt from the recipe. Let the chicken come to room temperature before beginning the recipe.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Imagine Organic broth and President’s Choice unsalted butter. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Brown chicken and set aside

Soften garlic and onion and add radishes

Set cooked chicken and vegetables aside

Make the pan sauce

Crispy chicken with roasted radishes


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds/1.36 kg total)

1¼ teaspoons (6.25 ml) kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon (0.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, divided

1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges

2 cloves garlic, crushed

12 ounces (340 g) red radishes, quartered

1 cup (250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh chives

4 baguette slices, toasted


Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Season chicken on both sides with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and the pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil in a large oven-safe skillet (not non-stick) over medium-high. Add 4 chicken thighs, skin side down; cook, undisturbed, until deep golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Pour fat out of skillet. Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil and 4 chicken thighs; do not wipe skillet clean after second batch.

Add onion and garlic to skillet. Cook over medium-high, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in radishes and nestle chicken into mixture. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers 165°F (74°C), 15 to 17 minutes.

Transfer chicken and radish mixture to a platter. Return skillet to medium-high. Add broth and cook, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet to loosen browned bits, until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, lemon juice, chives, and remaining ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt. Spoon sauce over chicken and radish mixture. Serve with baguette slices. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This easy pasta salad with shrimp and green beans from Canadian Living is on the table in 30 minutes. Cook the pasta and green beans, rinse and cool, and place in bowl with tomatoes, shallot and olives. Cook the shrimp, cool slightly, add to the pasta mixture and toss with a lemon vinaigrette. Top with chives and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden Organic brand vinegar and shrimp with only salt as a preservative. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Combine tomatoes, olives, shallots and beans in a large bowl

Add cooked pasta

Add cooked shrimp, toss with vinaigrette and serve


Lemon vinaigrette

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) red wine vinegar

½ tsp (2.5 ml) finely grated lemon zest

2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced


2 cups (500 ml) short pasta, such as penne

1 cup (250 ml) chopped green beans

2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil

1 lb (454 g) large shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 cup (250 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved

1 shallot, finely chopped

½ cup (125 ml) Kalamata olives, whole or pitted and sliced

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh chives


Lemon vinaigrette

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic. Set aside.


In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes; add green beans for last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain; rinse under cold running water for 1 minute and drain again. Transfer to large bowl. Set aside.

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook shrimp, turning once, until pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Add shrimp, tomatoes, shallot and olives to bowl with pasta; add vinaigrette, mixing gently to coat well. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chives. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

Sweet, spicy and hot — these delicious pork noodles from Bon Appetit are made from fridge and pantry staples and feed a crowd. Brown the pork and add ginger, garlic and sugar. Add tomato paste and basil, chili paste, soy sauce, vinegar and water. Cook the sauce down for about 30 minutes. Add cooked noodles, a little butter and pasta water to the sauce and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

No Name tomato paste is additive free. I used Simply Natural Organic sriracha for the hot chili paste. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, because it uses alcohol as a preservative instead of sodium benzoate. I used Marukan rice vinegar and President’s Choice butter, which contains only cream.

Brown pork with garlic, ginger and sugar

Add chili paste, tamari, vinegar and water and simmer

Add cooked noodles to sauce and serve, garnished with basil


2 Tbsp. (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 lb. (907 g) ground pork, divided

1 2-inch (5.08-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin matchsticks or finely chopped

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) sugar

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) tomato paste

2 sprigs basil, plus more for serving

⅓ cup (85 ml) hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek or sriracha)

¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

1½ lb. (680 g) fresh ramen noodles or 16 oz. (454 g) dried spaghetti

Kosher salt

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) unsalted butter


Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high. Add half of pork to pot, breaking apart into 6–8 large chunks with a wooden spoon. Cook, undisturbed, until well browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Turn pieces and continue to cook, turning occasionally, until pork is browned on 2–3 sides, about 5 minutes longer. Add ginger, garlic, sugar, and remaining pork to pot and cook, breaking up pork into small clumps, until meat is nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.

Add tomato paste and 2 basil sprigs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add chili paste, soy sauce, vinegar, and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened and flavors have melded, 30–45 minutes.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute short of al dente. Add to pot with sauce along with butter and a splash of pasta cooking liquid. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until sauce begins to cling to noodles, about 1 minute. Pluck out basil sprigs.

Divide noodles among plates. Top with torn basil. Serves 6-8.

From Bon Appetit

The ingredient list for this tasty dish from James Peterson may be long, but once you have them assembled, the actual cooking time is about half an hour. Cook onion, carrots and garlic, add spices and tomatoes and then add herbs, raisins, almonds and shrimp. Serve on top of rice or couscous.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Your butter should contain only cream. Saffron can contain colour, so I omitted it. Make sure your raisins and almonds are additive-free. Look for frozen shrimp preserved in salt only. I used Belazu Rose Harissa, which contains no preservatives and omitted the preserved lemon.

Cook onion, carrots and garlic

Add spices and tomatoes

Add herbs, raisins, almonds and shrimp and simmer for about 3 minutes

Shrimp tagine


1 medium onion, chopped fine

4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons (15 ml) butter

One 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated fine

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground turmeric or 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, grated

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon saffron threads, soaked for 30 minutes in 1 tablespoon water

6 tomatoes, peeled, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

1 small bunch cilantro, large stems removed

Leaves from 1 small bunch mint

3 tablespoons (45 ml) golden raisins (sultanas)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) slivered almonds, toasted

½ preserved lemon, cut into ¼ -inch/0.64-cm dice (about 2 tablespoons/30 ml

after dicing), rinsed in a strainer (optional)

30 large or 18 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

¾ to 1 cup (187.5 to 250 ml) bottled harissa sauce, for serving


In a heavy-bottomed pot large enough to hold the whole tagine, cook the onion, carrots, and garlic in the butter over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the carrots soft, about 15 minutes.

Add the ginger, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, and saffron with its soaking liquid to the carrot mixture. Gently stir the mixture—avoid breaking up the carrots—and cook over low to medium heat for about 2 minutes more.

Add the tomatoes, cover the pot, and simmer on low heat, covered, for 10 minutes more. Chop the cilantro and mint and stir into the sauce with the raisins, almonds, preserved lemon, if using, and shrimp. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with couscous or rice and harissa sauce. Serves 6.

From Cooking by James Peterson

For the past month or so, I’ve been roasting a whole chicken once a week. It’s easy to do, provides one dinner and two lunches for the two of us and then I make chicken stock from the carcass and get two more meals of soup. This recipe from Bon Appetit is simple — whisk together oil, lemon juice and honey and rub the mixture under the skin of the chicken and all over the outside. Place half a lemon and some rosemary inside the chicken and surround the chicken with shallots and lemon slices. Roast for about an hour. Cook’s note: To make stock, remove any meat on the carcass and set aside for another use. Put the carcass in a large deep pot and cover with cold water. Add a large celery rib, chopped, a large carrot, sliced, an onion, quartered (no need to peel), a handful of parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the stock barely simmers. Partially cover and simmer for four hours, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. Strain the stock to remove the bones and other solids. You can use the stock right away or refrigerate for use within a day or two (it’s easier to remove fat from the stock after it’s been in the fridge. You can also freeze it.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lemon juice, as concentrates contain sodium benzoate.

Rub chicken with oil, lemon and honey. Place lemon half and rosemary in chicken cavity and place shallots around the chicken.

Roast chicken with rosemary, lemon and honey


3 ounces (85 g) rosemary sprigs (about 1 large or 2 small bunches), divided

1 4-pound (1.8 kg) chicken

¼ cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey

1 lemon, halved, one half sliced into eight ¼ -inch (0.6-cm) rounds

8 oz (226 g) shallots, peeled

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) Line a large roasting pan with ¾ of rosemary sprigs. Place chicken on top.

Whisk ¼ cup oil, lemon juice, and honey in a small bowl to blend. Using your hands and beginning at the neck end of the chicken, gently lift skin away from breast. Under skin of the chicken, rub 2 tablespoons lemon mixture into meat. Drizzle remaining lemon mixture all over outside of the chicken.

Place 1 lemon half and 1 shallot inside chicken cavity; stuff with remaining rosemary sprigs, dividing equally. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Place remaining shallots around chicken; arrange 4 lemon rounds on top of chicken. Drizzle shallots and lemon rounds with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.

Roast chicken, basting frequently with pan juices, for 45 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425°F (218°C) and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F (74°C) and skin is deep golden and crispy, about 10 minutes longer.

Spoon pan juices over chicken, shallots, and lemon slices and serve in roasting pan. Serves 6-8.

From Bon Appetit

It may be April, but it’s been chilly outside. That and the current need for comfort food led me to try this baked pasta from Food and Wine. We love baked pasta and this recipe is exceptional. Cook onions, add radicchio and stir until it wilts. Stir in goat cheese and cream, bring to a simmer and set aside. Cook the pasta and stir it into the onion and cream mixture. Add spices, fontina cheese and prosciutto. Place in a baking pan and top with more fontina and Parmesan. Cook until browned and bubbling. I assembled this early in the day and refrigerated it, so just needed to pop it in the oven for a half hour to get dinner on the table. If you do make it ahead, top with the two cheeses just before baking.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar, which does not contain sulfites. President’s Choice goat cheese and Neilson whipping cream are additive-free. Check the butter and fontina for colour and make sure the ground nutmeg doesn’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano contains no additives. Look for prosciutto preserved only with salt.

Cook onions

Add radicchio and cook until it wilts

Add cream and goat cheese

Add cooked pasta, fontina and prosciutto and place in baking dish; top with more cheese

Bake until brown and bubbling


2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

2 medium-size red onions, thinly sliced

1 large head radicchio, cored and sliced into ½ -inch- (1.25-cm-) thick ribbons

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) red wine vinegar

3 ½ tablespoons (52.5 ml) kosher salt, divided

6 ounces (170 g) softened goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 ½ cups/375 ml)

1 ½ cups (375 ml) heavy cream

3 quarts (3 L) water

1 pound (454 g) uncooked short pasta (such as penne or fusilli)

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) black pepper

1/8 teaspoon (0.6 ml) freshly grated or ground nutmeg

8 ounces (226 g) fontina cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups/500 ml), divided

4 ounces (113 g) thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces

Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing baking dish

2 ounces (56 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about ½ cup/125 ml)


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Heat oil in a 12-inch (30-cm) , high-sided skillet over medium-high. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in radicchio, garlic, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt; cook, stirring often, until radicchio is just wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in goat cheese and cream; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring 3 quarts (3 L) water to a boil in a large pot over high. Stir in 3 tablespoons (45 ml) salt. Add pasta, and cook until just shy of al dente, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain; reserve 1 cup (250 ml) cooking liquid. Stir pasta, reserved 1 cup (250 ml) cooking liquid, pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt into radicchio mixture. Fold in 1½ cups (375 ml) fontina cheese and prosciutto; toss well.

Transfer pasta mixture to a 3-quart (3 L) baking dish lightly greased with butter. Dot with remaining ½ cup (125 ml) fontina cheese; sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown on top and bubbling around edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

From Food and Wine

We all need a little breath of spring these days, even if we can’t go outside as often. For me, that means a main-dish salad. This tasty, crunchy salad from Real Simple uses shrimp and romaine as its base, tossed with a salty/creamy/ginger dressing and topped with avocado, cucumber and scallions. Frozen shrimp is fine and you can substitute any hardy lettuce, such as iceberg. Regular cucumber can replace the small Persian ones, and if you don’t have avocado just use what’s in the fridge, such as radishes, carrots or peppers.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Hellman’s mayonnaise and Marukan rice vinegar. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, because it uses alcohol as a preservative instead of sodium benzoate. Look for frozen shrimp using only salt as a preservative. Simply Natural Organic sriracha is additive-free.

The salad is tossed with a tamari-ginger dressing

Japanese-style shrimp salad


1/3 cup (85 ml) mayonnaise

3 tbsp (45 ml) tamari or soy sauce

3 tbsp (45 ml) rice vinegar

2 tbsp (30 ml) sesame oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) canola oil

½ tsp (2.5 ml) finely chopped fresh ginger

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) sugar

1 ½ lb. (680 g) peeled, deveined and cooked large shrimp

3 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped

2 avocados, cubed

2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced

¼ cup (60 ml) thinly sliced scallions

Sesame seeds for serving

Sriracha for serving (optional)

Lime wedges, for serving


Stir mayonnaise, tamari, vinegar, oils, ginger and sugar in a large bowl.

Add shrimp and lettuce; toss to coat.

Top with avocados, cucumbers and scallions. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle with sriracha, if using. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

Here’s another recipe that uses staples from the pantry and freezer. Brown sliced sausage and garlic, add orzo and cook for a few minutes. Add broth, tomatoes and spices and simmer for about 9 minutes. Scatter shrimp and peas over orzo, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve. Cook’s note: I had some leftover cooked chicken, so I added that to the sausage and heated it through.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Free From hot Italian sausages and Imagine Organic chicken stock. Unico or Blue Menu tomatoes are additive-free. Check the spices for colour and anti-caking agents. Look for frozen shrimp with only salt added.

Brown sausage

Add orzo

Add tomatoes, stock and spices

Once orzo has absorbed liquid and is tender, top with shrimp and peas, cook for 5 minutes and then let rest off the heat for 5 minutes before serving


1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

8 ounces (226 g) cooked hot or sweet Italian chicken sausage, cut into ¼ -inch- (0.6-cm) thick rounds

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ cups dried orzo pasta (10 ounces/285 g)

2 cups (500 ml) low-sodium chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce/428 ml) can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon (5 ml) smoked paprika

¾ teaspoon (3.75 ml) kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper, divided

8 ounces (226 g) uncooked peeled and deveined large shrimp, thawed if frozen (26 to 30 shrimp per pound)

½ cup (125 ml) frozen peas

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley leaves


Heat oil in a 9- or 10-inch (23-25 cm) cast iron or straight-sided skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.

Add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes and their juices, paprika, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of the salt and ¼ (1.25 ml) teaspoon of the pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, undisturbed, until the orzo is almost al dente, the liquid has reduced by about half, and there is tight, rapid bubbling, 7 to 9 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and season with remaining ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) each salt and pepper.

Scatter the shrimp and peas over the orzo, cover, and cook until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to rest, covered, for 5 minutes, allowing any residual liquid in the skillet to be absorbed. Top with the parsley and serve. Serves 4.

From Kitchn

This recipe from the New York Times uses canned tomatoes, canned black beans, tortillas, cheese, onions, peppers, garlic and spices — items most of us have in the pantry, fridge and freezer these days. Cooks the onions, pepper and garlic and then add cumin. Transfer half the mixture to a blender or food processor, add tomatoes, chili powder and hot sauce (if using) and blend. Add black beans and cheese to the vegetables in the pan. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Assemble the enchiladas and place them in a dish, top with sauce and more cheese. Bake and serve with your favourite garnish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the spices don’t contain colour and anti-caking agents. Unico or Blue Menu tomatoes are additive-free, as are Blue Menu black beans. Original flavour Tabasco is additive-free. Check the cheese to make sure it doesn’t contain colour and look for tortillas without preservatives, such as PC Original flour tortillas. No Name sour cream is additive-free.

Cook onion, pepper and garlic

Blend half the vegetable mixture with tomatoes

Add black beans and half of cheese to remaining vegetables

Assemble enchiladas and top with remaining cheese and sauce

Bake until cheese has melted

Vegetarian bean and cheese enchiladas


2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper or poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and cut into ¼ -inch (0.64-cm) pieces

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) ground cumin

1 (15-ounce/443 ml) can fire-roasted tomatoes, preferably crushed

2 teaspoons (10 ml) chili powder

½ teaspoon (5 ml) hot sauce or 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (optional)

¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream, plus more for serving (optional)

2 (15-ounce/443 ml) cans black beans, rinsed

5 ounces (142 g) mild Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 1 ¼  cups/310 ml)

10 to 12 (6-inch/15-cm) soft corn or flour tortillas

Fresh cilantro leaves and stems, for serving


Heat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and charred in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Transfer half the vegetable mixture to a blender; add the tomatoes, chili powder and hot sauce. Blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (If your blender isn’t particularly strong and the sauce looks more like a chunky purée, add ¼ cup/60 ml sour cream and blend again until smooth.)

Add the black beans and ½ cup (125 ml) cheese to the remaining vegetables in the skillet and stir to combine. Some canned beans are already salted, so taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Spread out the tortillas directly on the oven rack and heat until warmed and pliable, 1 to 2 minutes, then wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm. Pour half the enchilada sauce (about 1 ½  cups/375 ml) into a medium casserole dish or a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm)baking pan and spread it to cover the bottom of the dish.

Line up the filling, tortillas and baking dish in a row. Place a little more than ¼ cup (60 ml) of the bean mixture in the center of one tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place in the casserole dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup (180 ml) cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Top with sour cream and cilantro and serve immediately. The sauce and the black bean mixture, minus the cheese, can be made, covered in an airtight container and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

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