Black Bean & Corn Flautas For Dinner: #MeatlessMonday

Meatless Monday dinners are nothing new at my house. Nor were they when I was a kid. I remember going many a Monday without ever eating meat growing up.

And you know what? I never missed it.

Mexican food is regularly on the menu in our home. Dishes from this rich, colorful and delicious cuisine are super easy to prepare without using any meat. Meatless meals are not only delicious, but are nutritious and very satisfying. And they are a very welcome addition to my dining table on any given day, not just on Mondays.

On the menu for a #MeatlessMonday dinner tonight: Black Bean & Corn Flautas. So delicious. So easy to prepare. And so low in fat, because these babies are baked instead of fried. Technically, these would really be called loose Taquitos, as Flautas are typically made with flour tortillas. But I had corn tortillas on hand, so use what you've got, right?

I didn't make the tortillas this time around like I usually do. But I did prepare my own beans, which I love to do. If you have time to cook the beans yourself for this dish, all the better to truly capture the full benefit of all the fiber and nutrients black beans provide. Canned beans lose a significant amount of each (and to boot, you won't have to worry about that pesky BPA everyone keeps talking about). The intense flavor and aroma of the black beans that comes from cooking them yourself will have your nose and taste buds working overtime. Believe me, the extra effort to make them yourself (and hence, this dish) is worth it. But if you can't, canned beans will do just fine. And your baked Black Bean & Corn Flautas will still be on point.

                                                          Black Bean & Corn Flautas

2 t. olive or canola oil 
1 small-medium onion, chopped (any onion will do, but I like to use red onion)
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I love garlic, so I used 3 cloves)
2 t. cumin
2 t. chili powder
2 t. turmeric (I love turmeric and use it in almost everything! Great for aiding in digestion and cancer prevention)
2-16 oz. cans, drained (Or 2 cups prepared black beans using the above ingredients)
1 c. of corn (frozen or canned)
1 4-oz can diced green chiles
1 tomato, chopped (garnish for my family, I personally didn't use any)
1 c. water or vegetable broth (you can make this, too!)
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 6-inch corn or flour tortillas (you can makes these, too!)
Another 2-3 T of oil to heat the tortillas (prevents them from cracking)
Chopped cilantro (of course omit if you don't like cilantro)
Any leafy green that you wish to use for garnish (I chose Swiss looks so lovely as a garnish, don't you think?)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. If you're preparing the Flautas using canned beans, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute them for a couple of minutes until they soften a bit, then add the garlic and saute an additional 1-2 minutes. Add all of the spices as you saute the onions and garlic to allow the spices to bloom a bit. Add the beans, corn, green chiles, cilantro and water or broth. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook the mixture for an additional 10 minutes. Once the liquid has reduced a bit but it looks saucy, remove from the heat. Set the mixture aside to cool. While it cools, mash some of the beans slightly to vary the texture. (If you made your own beans, simply add all of the above ingredients to the beans, then heat until they are saucy, cool then mash for texture.)

Heat the additional oil in a separate skillet. When hot, add a tortilla to the pan for a couple of seconds, turn it over and repeat for each tortilla. (This technique really aids in preventing the tortillas from cracking and for easier rolling and/or folding over than simply heating them in a microwave.) Fill each corn tortilla with some of the mixture, fold them up and secure them with a toothpick (don't forget to remove them once the Flautas are done!) Line your Flautas on a greased cookie sheet and bake until they brown, approximately 8-10 minutes.

And voila! You now have tasty and delicious Flautas for you and your family to eat! Garnish them with sour cream, cheese, tomatoes or salsa, cilantro, sliced avocado, guacamole -- with whatever toppings float your food boat. And of course, enjoy! :)

   (Photo Cred:  T. Sparks)