I wish I could take credit for such a unique idea, but the first time I came come across taro enchiladas was during a trip to the Big Island (Hawaii) back in 2016. I knew I loved taro chips, but could I love taro in an enchilada? It was a risk I was willing to take! Fast forward a few years and I'm now making my own version of these taro enchiladas... They were so good, I had to bring this concept home with me. If you happen to be traveling to Hawaii, you can find the original version at Merriman's in Waimea, a small, true-to-flavor restaurant that focuses on locally-sourced and sustainable food. The taro almost acts like the "cheese" in these enchiladas, it's ooey-gooey deliciousness.
So, taro?... What is it? Also known as colocasia esculenta, a tropical plant grown for its edible corms (and it must be cooked to be consumed) It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants, originating from Southeast Asia (5000 BC) Taro is used in many different cultures and cuisines - including but not limited to, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Hawaiian, and even Mexican. It's a wonderful starchy root, similar to a sweet potato, but a little more nutty in flavor. What's wonderful about taro is that it can be manipulated in many ways, baked, fried, steamed, pureed, and it's often used in desserts too. While taro root is higher in calories than say a potato, it contains three times more dietary fiber and it can easily be digested. Unlike potato, taro root is low on the glycemic index chart, meaning that it does not cause blood sugar spikes - which you might see in certain kinds of potatoes (Yukon gold potatoes, creamer potatoes, red potatoes) Taro is listed low with an index of 18, while potato on the other hand ranks high, with an index of 111.
Taro is a great source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including fiber, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and magnesium.
These enchiladas are so tasty; truly a memorable meal!
Also - feel free to use the vegetables you have in your refridgerator or freezer, these are just what I had on hand at the time!
Taro Enchiladas with Avocado Crema
Vegan. Gluten-free. Oil-free
Special equipment needed: Vitamix or high-speed blender (a Ninja will not work for this recipe)
4 soft corn tortillas
1-1/2 c. enchilada sauce (I used a homemade chipolte version; but if your pinched for time this is my favorite)
1 c. taro, cubed small
1 tbsp. brown rice syrup
2 tbsp. ground chipolte pepper*
1/2 c. yellow onion, diced
1/2 c. cremini mushrooms, diced
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. frozen sweet corn
1/2 c. broccoli florets, chopped small
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt + more to taste
1 tsp. dried cilantro
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, diced small
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 scallion, minced fine
1/4 c. black olives, sliced
1 c. dry, rinsed quinoa, prepared (add a dash of salt and garlic powder while cooking)
1 can ranchero beans, or beans of choice
2 lime wedges, for garnish
1 ripe avocado, pitted
2 fresh limes, juiced
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 serrano chili
1/4+ tsp red chili flakes
1/4 c. water (more as needed)
In a medium-sized bowl, combine your vegetable mixture, toss with garlic powder, salt, and dried cilantro. In a small bowl, combine your tomatoes, fresh cilantro, scallion, and black olives. Set aside. In a small pot, bowl your taro (as you would potatoes) until they are fork tender and very soft. Remove from heat and strain (reserve about 1/2 c. of liquid & set aside) Toss your taro into your vitamix, add the brown rice syrup, reserved liquid, and a healthy dash of salt. Blend until creamy, almost "sticky" in texture. Remove from blender and set aside.
Using a medium-sized non-stick skillet, warm-up half of your enchilada sauce until it's nearly boiling. Next, warm your corn tortillas using the microwave or oven for a few seconds. Once they are more pliable, spread a decent amount your taro on the inside of the tortilla, layer your vegetable mixture, roll and place in your non-stick skillet, top with remaining enchilada sauce, lower heat to medium-low, place the lid on top, and let these enchiladas steam for a good 5-7 minutes.
While your enchiladas are cooking, remove the ripe avocado meat from its rind and place it in the vitamix. Add all remaining ingredients and the water. Blend until creamy and smooth. You don't want the crema to be too thick, nor too runny. See picture for consistency. Start with less water, and you can always add more!
In another small sauce pan, heat your ranchero beans as is (they usually come pre-seasoned) and set side.
Plate your dish in any way you prefer! I've done it by putting down the quinoa first, the enchiladas, ranchero beans, tomato mixture, avocado crema, and finally, some garnishes of scallions and extra cilantro.
I hope you enjoy these delicious enchiladas as much as we do! Remember, you can easily make your own version of these by incorporating different vegetables and/or beans!
*omit chipolte pepper if you are already using a chipolte-based enchilada sauce