I always thought that chimichangas involved a lot of ingredients, but after researching them for the website I realised that they’re really only made up of a tortilla that’s stuffed with rice, cheese, meat or vegetables and then folded and fried until it is crispy. With this in mind, you could make chimichangas with any filling combination you fancy, such as slices of roast chicken, shredded pork or beef, or even fish.
I’ve been going through a Mexican food phase at the moment, not just because it’s very tasty, but also because it’s a type of cuisine that’s really easy to adapt to make it low FODMAP. Beans and legumes generally get a bad rap in the FODMAP world because they’re high in Oligos-GOS and fructans and can cause digestive issues for a lot of people, but many forms of beans are actually low FODMAP as long as you stick to the recommended serving size. That’s why these Mexican bean burritos are actually low FODMAP.
I love Mexican food, but I must admit that I do tend to stick to making the same meals all the time simply because they’re so tasty. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing though because it means that you can perfect your own version until the seasoning mix is just right. That’s the case with these chicken enchiladas.
I didn’t realise until I started reading into Mexican food that the word ‘enchilada’ simply means ‘to season with chilli’ and that, traditionally, enchiladas are quite simple snacks, involving little more than a fried tortilla that’s wrapped around a plain, spiceless filling of meat, beans or vegetables (or a combination of the three).
According to Mexican food expert Diana Kennedy’s quintessential book on the subject of Mexican cookery The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, traditional enchiladas served on the streets of Mexico tend to see their tortillas fried in oil before being stuffed, but I don’t really think that’s necessary when you’re cooking at home. I don’t really like oily food so I’m quite happy to skip that step towards authenticity. Plus you’ve got a grated cheese topping that’s going to add oil to the enchiladas anyway.
Although a traditional enchilada doesn’t contain any spices other than freshly chopped chilli, I like to flavour mine with cumin, oregano and smoked paprika because it makes the whole dish much tastier. As a result, this chicken enchilada recipe yields a large casserole dish filled to the brim with soft tortillas that are stuffed full of delicately spiced tender chicken strips and slices of sweet bell peppers and is topped with a tangy tomato sauce and encrusted with golden grilled cheese. It’s simply the perfect Mexican meal.
Ingredients for the enchilada filling:
8 corn tortillas (or gluten-free tortillas)
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
180g of tinned chopped tomatoes
4 chicken breasts (cut into thin slices)
100g green bell pepper (cut into thin slices)
100g red bell pepper (cut into thin slices)
2 tsps ground cumin
2 tsps dried oregano
2 tsps smoked paprika
1 tsp asafoetida powder
Ingredients for the enchilada topping:
180g of tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp asafoetida powder
1 tsp dried oregano
150g grated cheddar cheese (or non-dairy alternative)
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.
Get a large rectangular casserole dish out to cook the enchiladas in and keep it to one side.
Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil, sliced chicken breasts and spices. Fry until the chicken is almost cooked.
Add the sliced peppers and continue to cook until the chicken is fully cooked.
Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and cook until hot.
Pour the other tin of chopped tomatoes into a jug and add the sauce spices and stir.
Lay a tortilla out on a chopping board and place some enchilada filling inside it before wrapping it up and laying it in a large rectangular casserole dish. (Bear in mind you’ve got 8 tortillas to fill so try to distribute the filling evenly between them.)
Once you’ve filled all the tortillas and they’re in the casserole dish, pour the enchilada sauce over them and top with the grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 30-40 mins or until the cheese is crisp and golden brown.
Serve with a fresh green salad.
As much as I love tortilla wraps I really think they come into their own when they’re stuffed with a filling and then folded and dry fried to be turned into a quesadilla. I think that a crispy tortilla is particularly complemented when it’s filled with soft fillings, such as butter beans.
These bean quesadillas are very easy to make and require very little preparation. The traditional Mexican recipe for refried beans calls for black beans, pinto beans or kidney beans, but I just used a tin of butter beans that I had in the kitchen and they were lovely. Butter beans are also a low FODMAP bean in portions under 35g, so it’s a win-win all round really.
The beans have a lovely subtle Mexican spice flavouring from the ground coriander and smoked paprika and go wonderfully with sliced avocado or guacamole. Mexican foods, such as these bean quesadillas, have become a bit of a staple in my house because it’s a cuisine that tends to be naturally pretty dairy-free, but there are so many variants to Mexican food that I doubt I’ll be getting bored with it any time soon.
I know it seems like a bit of extra work to fry your tortilla to turn it into a butter bean quesadilla instead of just eating it like a fajita, but it really adds a lovely crunchy, toasted dimension to the flavour of the tortilla and enhances the smokiness of the beans. It’s well worth the couple of extra minutes it’ll take before eating your tortillas.
Ingredients for the refried bean quesadillas:
6 corn tortillas (or gluten-free tortillas)
1 tbsp garlic-infused oil
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
140g of tinned butter beans (drained and well rinsed)
200g red bell peppers (cut into bite-sized pieces)
The juice of 1 lime
Put the garlic-infused oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the beans, spices, salt and pepper, and lime juice and cook for 10-15 mins until the beans are soft.
Put the bean mixture into a bowl and wash your frying pan.
To make the quesadillas place your tortilla on a flat surface and put 3 tbsps of refried beans in the middle. Fold the left and right sides of the tortilla over the beans and then the top and bottom sections until it forms a square parcel.
Put the frying pan over a medium heat and place your quesadilla in the pan. Fry on both sides until golden brown. (I just fry mine in a dry frying pan, but feel free to add some sunflower oil if you like.)
Serve with lactose-free sour cream, jalapeños and a 20g low FODMAP portion of sliced avocado.