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Trader Joe’s Dinner Hack: Quinoa Cowboy Burger Enchiladas with Cashew Crema Verde!

Apr 6, 2018

Trader Joe's Plant Based Enchiladas Recipe - Jess Keys of The Golden Girl Blog

Chambray shirt: J.Crew (available at Nordstrom)–one of my favorite shirts. I love that it’s chambray but it isn’t faded or distressed. It’s very classic!  I would size up if you’d like it a little slouchier, I’m wearing a small. I also love this short sleeve Madewell version (also at Nordstrom!) Jeans: Abercrombie “Simone” High Rise Skinny Jeans. Can’t say enough good things about these jeans, they truly feel like designer at over half the price! They run TTS. I also like this really dark wash which is great for going out and travel! Glasses: Warby Parker. I totally adore this company and they make the glasses buying process SO EASY. Also, their frames are waaaayyy more affordable than the eye doctor! They don’t make my exact style anymore but this was the pair I almost got that is still in stock (admittedly I kind of wish I went with them, haha!) I love this pair and this pair that are similar. Also, these rose gold metal frames!? I think I might get those next. (Alaina turned me onto them. Not gunna lie. Totally copying her.) Lipstick: Glossier lipstick in “zip”–it’s the best daytime lipstick–it gives you a “just bitten” dose of color without being overkill!

Okay, so, I really did not have any intention of shooting my latest weeknight dinner experiment with you, but after I shared it on Instagram stories (as I often do, you know, share my recipe experiments) so many of you wanted the recipe!

So, I did what any other completely lazy non-food blogger would do–I tried to make my next day’s leftovers look somewhat presentable by covering them with beautifully sliced avocados, got out my tripod, took 100 totally failed attempts of myself eating said leftover enchiladas and got…two normal looking photos. Actually, I probably wouldn’t classify the above as “normal” because if you look closely you can see my haphazard bra strap AND a rogue corn kernel falling mid-air as the photo was being taken. I feel the need to tell you this because I could’ve chosen to photoshop them out, but I chose drinking wine instead. Priorities. ?

I also don’t know why I chose to put them on such a tiny plate. I literally have 3 different sizes of plates to choose from. Still I choose the miniature version. I don’t know, you guys. This further proves I should never be a food blogger.

This is my long-winded way of telling you that if you thought these photos were taken by my adoring husband on a leisurely Sunday afternoon of enchilada eating…you were mistaken. ? #LIFE. Amiright?!

So–I feel like I’ve kind of become this crazy Trader Joe’s lady?

So much so that I feel like my blog should maybe be renamed “The Golden Girl and How She Spent All Her Money Grocery Shopping.” The thing is, I know you get it. t’s actually insanely heartwarming to know that I have curated a community that is as obsessed with TJ’s as I am. We’re all so incredibly basic but we really own it, you know? Like last time I was checking out and the checker handed me my bottle of Kombucha, rather than putting it in the bag, and said, “you look like the kind of girl who wants to drink this in the car…” ?? He’s right–we are who we are!

Anyway, as you likely know by now if you follow me on Instagram stories, I am trying to do a lot more plant-based meals these days. (You can read all about my plant-based-diet experience in this post!)

One day I decided to get REAL creative and chop up one of my favorite TJ’s veggie burgers and use it in place of meat in a taco, and it was REAL good. Then I tried it in a salad bowl with similar success, which lead me to post [by popular demand] my “recipe” for my Trader Joe’s Cowboy Quinoa Burger Salad Bowls (even though it’s not ACTUALLY a recipe. There is no measuring involved and it really just involves pulling various items out of freezers and/or pre-packaged bags–you know, TJ’s style.)

Then, I had a major craving for enchiladas. But here’s the thing–all the plant-based enchilada recipes you find have beans in them. Sadly, I am very finicky when it comes to beans, and I do not want them in my enchiladas. Also then there was the issue that I dearly love enchiladas suizas (which have sour cream) slathered with cheese. Not exactly things I’m trying to eat a lot of these days.

So–I thought to myself, what would happen I replaced the cream and cheese with cashew crema…and the meat with Quinoa Cowboy Burger?!

(REALLY GOOD THINGS. That’s what happens.) 

Trader Joe's plant-based enchiladas recipeingredients and directions for Trader Joe's plant-based enchiladas

Trader Joe’s plant-based enchiladas:

The ingredients list: 

Corn tortillas (however many you use just depends on the size of the pan and how many people you’re feeding–see notes below).

Your favorite enchilada sauce (I prefer verde sauce, which I’ve purchased in a can/jar and also fresh. In this instance, I used a fresh verde salsa. It’s truly up to you.)

Onions and your favorite peppers (I used a mix of bell and poblano, sliced and roasted in the oven). Again, you can eyeball this, it just depends on how many people you’re feeding.

Frozen corn–just eyeball it. Put as much corn as you like.

TJ’s Quinoa Cowboy Burgers–1 burger per person

“Cheesy” cashew crema–I sort of riff off of Minimalist Baker’s recipe (she shares three ways to do cashew cheese in her post! It’s really awesome and informative!) but really, it’s a taste as you go thing! I use a Blendtec blender to blend it all together!

Avocado to top 

Fresh cilantro, to top 

The no recipe recipe: 

If you’ve ever read one of my recipe-ish posts, you know I don’t measure things. This is why I’m not a food blogger. However, I also am passionate about cooking and truly believe in developing the skills you need to not use a recipe when you cook. When you cook by instinct, you’ll always be able to make anything taste good!

Anyway, to start, heat up a cast iron pan (if you have one) with a drizzle of oil and toss in those quinoa burgers. You want to saute them, chopping them up as you go so it becomes the consistency of ground beef. The idea here is to make it extra crispy and chewy. If you don’t get them crispy then they become soggy and more of a beany texture and nobody likes soggy enchilada filling. (Or do they?)

When that’s cooking, you can whip up your cashew sauce using a blender. Again, you’ll find the recipe I like to use here (you’ll want to follow her “queso” instructions. I added a bit of my favorite hot sauce!

When your quinoa cowboy “meat” is done, throw in some pre-roasted veggies. Eyeball this–there’s no right or wrong ratio, whatever looks good to you! To me, the more veggies, the merrier! Mix it all in together.

Now comes the enchilada assembly. I honestly prefer my enchiladas layered like a lasagna–I know this is NOT the traditional way to do enchiladas but it’s how they’re made in the Loftus household. Here’s how I do it:

Enchilada Assembly: 

Using a non-stick baking pan, spray some non-stick cooking spray, and lay down a bit of your enchilada sauce. (This ensures the bottom tortilla doesn’t burn!)

Then, do a bottom layer of corn tortillas. Then follow with your “meat” and veggie mixture, followed by your enchilada sauce, and a drizzle of your crema. Be liberal with the sauce, the tortillas will soak a lot of it up. You don’t want dry enchiladas!

Put another layer of tortillas on top, and repeat the process until all your mixture is used up! Top with more enchilada sauce and more crema, and pop into a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. (Once more–use your best judgement. When they’re golden and bubbly, you’re good to go!)

The finishing touches: 

Let cool slightly, and serve with another drizzle of sauce and crema on top (if you’d like) and sliced avocados, cilantro, and I always love a sprinkle of chili powder or cayenne pepper.

Trader Joe's Dinner Hack: Quinoa Cowboy Burger Enchiladas with Cashew Crema Verde! Trader Joe's Dinner Hack: Quinoa Cowboy Burger Enchiladas with Cashew Crema Verde!

Enjoy with my favorite Mexican beverage: Ice cold Mexican beer poured over ice with tons of lime juice and a hefty pinch of Tajin. Bottoms up!

Do you have any favorite Trader Joe’s meal hacks that you love to make during the week? Extra points if they’re plant-based! 



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