Aye chi wawa guys. (I know you all read that right, but is that how the phrase is really spelled? No clue. EDIT: It’s chihuahua. Doh!) Anyways, aiii cheee wowa! These Butternut Squash Enchiladas are going to knock your damn socks right off. They really, truly are unbelievably delicious. And I have a fun story behind it for you. If you define fun as two 30-something year olds moms bopping around L.A. acting a fool.
My dear friend Annie and I have now made it our annual tradition to visit L.A. each fall. Our inaugural trip was last year when I tried out for the Food Network’s Next Food Network Star (clearly I lost as I’m now sitting here typing away, without my own line of cookware at Target) but we had such a blast that we decided to do it every year for the rest of our lives. Even if that means we are 60 years old sitting in giant hats at the Beverly Hills Hotel. (ESPECIALLY if we are 60 year old grannies in giant hats.) It’s gonna happen.
In my books, it’s the perfect “mom” place to escape to. It’s pretty much the opposite of my drop off, cooking in the kitchen all day, top knot, bum wiping (the kids, not me!) life here. The truth is I DO like to dress up, be in a more urban(ish) environment, go to new and trendy restaurants, drink $12 bottles of almond milk, $30 glasses of champagne and live on a prayer Adam Levine might walk by and say, “Dayyyum, girl you looking good.” DON’T burst my bubble. I don’t want that to be my every day life and certainly not where I want to raise my children but it is a good weekend escape away from today’s norm.
With all of that being said it’s so much fun going to the new spots in town. (Seriously, I don’t know how to say that without sounding like an old lady). All it takes is a little digging on TMZ to see where everyone’s getting papped. FYI, that’s the cool term for celebrities constantly being accosted by paparazzi. Last year it was the Nice Guy and this year we decided to tackle the brand new CatchLA.
This restaurant literally just opened in September and was already being dubbed as the new celebrity hang out. After seeing on TMZ Ciara that had her birthday there and Bieber had already graced the place with his entitled stench, I knew it would be just what we were looking for. I went to OpenTable on the off-chance they had anything available. Well, they did! At 11:00PM on Friday. So I took it.
I excitedly told Brad how I couldn’t believe I was able to snag these reservations and how we were going to have so much fun, blah, blah, blah. And he looked at me with a dubious face and said, “You and Annie are going to dinner at 11:00pm at night? Uh-huh.” And I had to laugh. He’s so right. On an average night my makeup is off, glasses on, face washed and jammies are on by 7:30. But not this night, uh-uh. It was going down… right after some 5pm granny naps.
It’s interesting, typically I’m not the person to pay much mind to celebrity culture. Actually I take that back a little. I do read a celebrity gossip site before bed to lull me to sleep, I’ve watched enough episodes of the Kardahsians to be embarrassed and I did think it was cool to see Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel last year sitting 20 feet from us at the Garth Brooks concert. But I don’t take it all that seriously. I haven’t bought into this celebrity worshipping culture that is so pervasive these days particularly on social media. It’s light, fun entertainment and that’s where it stops. I have zero urge to purchase a Kardashian waist trainer and could care less who any of them vote for.
But bottom line, we were stoked. I thought we were just soooo cool with our fancy pants reservations. Even though anyone could have snagged an OpenTable reservation with a login and password, but never mind that, we were IN!
Until the Monday before we left and I get an email canceling our reservation. Dammit! Who did we get bumped for? JLo and her entourage? I looked on Yelp and apparently everyone’s reservations were being cancelled to make room for way more important people than us. Yelpers everywhere were seeing red. Phhhsh, that wasn’t going to stop us. DON’T THEY KNOW WHO I AM? A 36 year old mom from the ‘burbs who was really looking forward to this damn place and a chance to not feel like the nose wiping, kind-hearted, yoga pants wearing, loving mama that I am. I needed a chance to dress up slutty, look bitchy and vapid and brush shoulders with 50 Cent. (I just know he’d love me.) I was making this happen.
So plan two involved just showing up and playing dumb. I’m great at playing dumb. When our night came, we had a drink at my favorite reality hotspot Sur (Jax, you suck!) before we walked down the street to CatchLA. As we approached, a zillion paparazzi were everywhere but I didn’t look at them because, duh… I’m used to this shit. I nicely informed the man at the door we had 11:00 reservations but had arrived early and were going grab drink at the bar first. With a smile he scanned his tablet and said, “I’m sorry Michelle I don’t see your name”. Dammit. I knew that was coming.
“Really? Huh…” (me playing dumb) …”I made it online, I have the confirmation on my phone”
“Oh, ok. Can I see that?”
Suuuuuure. I proceeded to whip out my phone and pull out my original confirmation, neglecting to mention I had a corresponding email canceling it because nobody cares who the hell Michelle Smith is . “It’s right here, ” I proudly informed him.
“Oh, hmm. I don’t have it here. Lemme see… Why don’t you head up and let them know upstairs that I said to take care of you,” he said back to us with a smile.
Hook, line and sinker. Plan executed perfectly. Nothing a smile and a bottomless dress (don’t ask) can’t fix I guess. Hey, don’t hate the player hate the game folks. And for the record that is NOT a lesson I will be teaching my daughters… at least until they are 36 with children of their own.
Once we were seated the dinner WAS amazing. We had champagne to celebrate… something. I can’t quite remember what we decided was worthy of a glass of overprice champs. And our martinis even came with edible glitter swirling gently through it and a souvenir flask. Say whaaaa? This place was better than I had ever hoped. I wasn’t expecting such a wonderful souvenir that I could take with me to the next PTA meeting.
I didn’t ask if they considered glitter paleo. My expert opinion says noooo.
And because I know you’re wondering what celebrities were there that evening the most well known was Kelly Ripa’s arch nemesis, Michael Strahan himself. Sadly 50 Cent was not. Neither was Adam. Or Chris Pratt. Or Gronk. Or any of my celebrity crushes for that matter.
So that was what all the built up anticipation led to. Some glitter and a flask. And a zillion fun memories for Annie and I.
With all of that, this isn’t even the restaurant that inspired this dish! Womp, womp. We DID have lunch at Gracias Madre, a mexican-inspired plant based restaurant and Annie ordered a dish similar to this that knocked our socks off. (Or maybe that was the cannabis cocktails that we had? True story.) I told her I could try to recreate these killer enchiladas and as a woman of my word, I delivered.
I love the roast-y sweetness of the butternut squash up against the fresh flavors of the green sauce which is loaded with the flavors of cilantro, avocado, lime and hatch chiles. You can even add some shredded chicken into it for some protein.
The best part is this recipe is that it’s a total breeze to make. I used a store bought green enchilada sauce as a base and added fresh flavors to it for a fresher taste. So if you can roast up a pan of squash, use your blender, stuff and bake you can make these in no time. I’d venture to say it takes about 10 minutes of active cooking time (not counting roasting time.)
As far as tortillas, these days you have plenty of options. This time around I opted for organic corn tortillas. There are paleo varieties available that you can use as well. The decision is yours and wether it’s worth spending the extra money for the paleo variety or if you’re ok having a couple of corn ones.
Or make your own. Your call.
Another option you have is in regards to the goat cheese. I decided to add some crumbles because I thought the bite of creaminess would be dreamy against the chipotle spiced squash (I was right!) but by no means is the dairy a necessary component of this dish. Feel free to leave it out, you won’t miss it. Or Kite Hill makes and amazing plant based cheese that would be just as delicious. Again, your call.
I cannot emphasize how amazing these enchiladas are. You.will.love.them. I’m going to make them over and over and over again. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. And may just change the name of this site to the Whole Enchiladas. Ok, no I’m not. But they are just that satisfying, healthy and did I mention completely legit?
If you’re looking for more enchilada inspo make sure to check our my Paleo Chicken Enchiladas. Those are pretty darn bomb too.
Butternut Squash Enchiladas
Yield 4 -6
An easy-to-make gluten-free, paleo friendly Butternut Squash Enchilada recipe from the Whole Smiths.
- 4 C. butternut squash cubes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 C. green enchilada sauce
- 1 4-oz. can green chiles
- 1 avocado
- 1 C. chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 lime
- 2 Tbsp. almond milk
- Salt to taste
- 6 corn or paleo tortillas of choice
- 1/4 C. goat cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400*
- In a large bowl toss butternut, squash, 1 tsp. salt, chipotle powder, chopped onion and 1 Tbsp. olive oil together until coated evenly
- Spread butternut and onion mix evenly on a baking sheet
- Roast for 35 minutes flipping half way through
- Meanwhile add green enchilada sauce, 1/2 can of green chiles, avocado, 1/2 C. cilantro, garlic, lime, almond milk and pulse until combined
- Salt to taste
- Once butternut squash and onions are roasted, add them to a bowl and combine with remaining green chiles and 1/2 C. chopped cilantro
- Add butternut squash filling and optional goat cheese into the center of a tortilla and roll
- Place into a casserole dish
- Continue to stuff the remaining tortillas and line them snuggly into the casserole dish, reserve about 1/4 cup of filling to use on top
- Once all tortillas are rolled and in the dish, pour green sauce over them
- Add reserved filling to top along with (optional) goat cheese
- Bake at 375* for 20 minutes
Cuisine Paleo / Vegan / Gluten-Free