Chilli Bean Enchiladas

I love messy Mexican feasts, I really do. These veggie enchiladas were tasty, filling and very satisfying. Served with freshly mashed avocado (you can upgrade this for proper guacamole), some hot sauce and pickled jalapenos for a proper Mexican style dinner.

More with beans: Summer Pork, Fennel and Beans; Chipotle black bean chilli with guacamole; Speedy Pepper & Black Bean Chilli

Chilli Bean Enchiladas

Serves 3-4 | Prep 5 mins | Cook 25 mins
Easy | Vegetarian

You’ll need:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped;
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed;
  • 1 tsp ground cumin;
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika;
  • 2 cans red kidney beans in chilli sauce;
  • 3-4 tortilla wraps;
  • 200g salsa;
  • 100g cheddar, grated;
  • 1 avocado;
  • dash of cayenne pepper;
  • 1/2 lime, juiced;
  • sour cream, to serve;
  • chopped coriander, to serve.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion and garlic for 2 mins. Add the cumin and cook for 1 min more. Tip in the beans, paprika and a splash of water. Using a potato masher, break the beans down as they warm through to make a rough purée. Season generously.

Divide the bean mixture between the tortilla wraps and roll up. Set the rolls in a tight baking dish and scatter over the salsa and top with the cheese. Bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 15-20 mins until piping hot.

While the enchiladas are cooking, mash the avocado in a small bowl. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and the lime juice. Mix well and season lightly.

Serve the enchiladas with the smashed avocado, sour cream and chopped coriander.

Adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe, available online here.

Chipotle black bean chilli with guacamole

This is a lovely recipe for a quick and easy vegetarian meal. I love the smoky flavour of chipotle chillies and they work perfectly in this black bean chilli.   I’ve made some subtle changes to the original recipe from Delicious magazine – using ground cumin instead of cumin seeds and not adding milk to the chilli (though if you don’t like heat then do add 2 tbsp milk when adding in the vinegar).

Serve with rice and/or tortilla wraps, sour cream and grated cheese on the side.

More with beans: Emilia’s Bulgarian Bean Soup | Speedy Pepper & Black Bean ChilliSummer Pork, Fennel and Beans

Chipotle black bean chilli with guacamole


Serves 4 | Prep 5 mins | Cook 35 mins
Easy | Vegan | Gluten and Dairy free

You’ll need:

  • 1 tsp ground paprika;
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin;
  • 1 tbsp olive oil;
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced;
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed;
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste or 1 dried chipotle chilli, left whole;
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes;
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar;
  • Pinch of sugar;
  • 2 x 400g cans black beans, drained and rinsed;
  • 1 lime, quartered, to serve;

For the guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados;
  • Juice of 1 lime;
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped;
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish.

Toast the paprika and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, then set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a low-medium heat, then fry the onion for 7-8 minutes until soft. Stir in the garlic, then cook for 1 minute. Add the toasted spices, chipotle paste/whole chilli, tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. Season, bring to the boil, then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

For the guacamole, peel and stone the avocados, then mash with a fork and mix with the lime juice. Stir through the chilli and coriander.

Remove the lid and add the beans. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, then serve with the soured cream, guacamole and lime wedges.

Original recipe from Delicious Magazine, issue June 2013, available online here.

Christmas Eve, the Bulgarian Way

Christmas is a fantastic time of the year. I love that it brings everyone together, it calls for gathering with friends and family and spending time with our loved ones. In Bulgaria, Christmas Eve is a big thing and though we also celebrate Christmas Day, most of my childhood memories of Christmas are all of family dinners on the 24th.

Traditionally, it’s all based on religious customs (Orthodox Christianity). December would be a period of fasting and the 24th is the last day of it. Because of this, a traditional Bulgarian Christmas Eve dinner would only include food that’s free of meat produce, practically all vegan. Though I’m not religious, and most of my family is not very strictly religious, to this day every year we keep with the traditions and cook authentic food for Christmas Eve.

Here is what a traditional menu would include:

  • Bean soup/stew or lentil soup;
  • Stuffed peppers;
  • Stuffed pickled cabbage leaves;
  • Stuffed vine leaves;
  • Variety of salads: such as roast pepper salad; bean salad; potato salad, pickled cabbage salad and etc;
  • Pickles and olives;
  • Traditional round soda bread – Pitka (which also has a coin hidden in it).

Furthermore, there are certain rules that have to be followed. There has to be an odd number of dishes on the table and the bread has to be broken by the ‘head’ of the table/family.


Christmas Eve festive table – the Bulgarian way! From left to right: Pickles, bean salad, roast pepper salad, dolmades, “Snejanka” salad, “pitka” bread, pickled hot peppers, stuffed peppers, pickled cabbage salad.


Here are three traditional recipes that we usually cook every year for Christmas Eve:

Stuffed Peppers with Rice

Serves: 10 | Time: 2hrs | Difficulty: Easy | Suitable for: Vegan diet; Gluten-free diet (just swap the flour for GF flour).

Tip: You can do Step 1 the day before.


  • 10 peppers (red, yellow and orange) – their tops and seeds removed;
  • 1 cup long grain rice;
  • 1 onion: finely chopped;
  • 4 garlic cloves: finely chopped;
  • 4 tomatoes chopped or 1 can chopped tomatoes;
  • 3 bay leaves;
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika;
  • sunflower oil;
  • plain flour (or gluten free plain flour)


  1. Make the rice stuffing. Wash and rinse the rice under cold water until water is clear. Heat a few tbsp of the oil (enough for it to be well covered) in a deep pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for one minute, stirring. Add the rice and stir well, reduce the heat to low. When the rice starts becoming transparent, add 1/2 tsp salt and the paprika and mix well. Add one cup water and cook under a lid until the rice absorbs the water. Note: the rice should not be fully cooked at this point and it should still be a bit ‘tough’. Take off the heat.
  2. Fill each pepper with the rice mixture until they are about 2/3rds full. Don’t overfill them as this might cause them to burst in the oven when the rice expands. Sprinkle a bit of flower on the top of each pepper.
  3. When ready to cook the peppers, heat the oven to 180C fan. Spread the tomatoes in a very large and deep roasting tin (or two medium ones), add 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp oil; and the bay leaves and mix well. Add about 1 cup of water (the tin should be about half full with the water). Place the peppers in the tin making sure that they are slightly laying down (so water can go in them). Cover with foil and bake for about 90 minutes, removing the foil in the last 30 minutes. Check the peppers after about 45 minutes. If the rice is almost cooked you can reduce the cooking time slightly.

Bean Soup

Serves: 10 | Time: About an hour, plus overnight soaking | Difficulty: Easy | Suitable for: Vegan diet; Gluten-free diet.


  • 1 cup white beans;
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped;
  • 1 onion, finely chopped;
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped;
  • 1 tsp dried mint;
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika;
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme;
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil.


1. Soak the beans in cold water the night before. When ready to cook, drain the beans wash it and put in a large pan filled with water. When the water boils, drain the beans and repeat. This will ensure that the beans are easier to cook.

2. When you have boiled the beans twice, you are ready to start making the soup. Add the beans and a 1,5litres of water to a large pan. When the beans boil, remove the white foam with a spoon and let the beans boil on low heat. It’s very important that you DO NOT add any salt until the very end of the cooking process.

3. Cook the beans for about an hour until they have softened. Add the chopped vegetables, dried herbs, spices, oil and salt to taste. Leave to cook for another 10 minutes or so and then remove from the heat.

Round Bread “Sun” (Pitka)

Serves: 6 | Time: 1 hr + 1 hr rising | Difficulty: A bit of effort

NOTE: This is dish is not suitable for vegans.

This is probably the hardest dish to make on the Bulgarian Christmas Eve table. It requires more hands on time than other dishes and bread always requires a bit of effort and patience! However, I can assure you that it’s worth it at the end.


  • 15g easy yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 240g strong white flour;
  • 1 tbsp sugar;
  • 1 tsp salt;
  •  2 eggs, 1 separated;
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil;
  • Butter, for spreading.


  1. Mix the yeast with the lukewarm milk to activate the yeast. Reserve the egg yolk from the separated egg. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, egg and egg white, milk with yeast and the oil (you can do this in a bread machine as well or by hand. Knead the dough for about ten minutes on a floured surface, it should have a good spring to it when pinched. If it is too dry you can add more milk, or more flour if the dough is too wet. When the dough is ready, transfer to a greased clean bowl and cover with greased cling film. Leave in a dark, warm place to rise. Take out when it’s doubled in size (should take about half an hour).
  2. Grease a large round tin and put a bit of flour in it. When the dough has risen, cut out a ball about the size of your palm and put it in the centre of the tin. The rest of the dough is split into two.
  3. Roll out both halves into medium-large circles and make sure they are both the same size. Spread some butter on one of the dough circles and then place the other one on top. Press them together and roll out to a larger circle. Spread with more butter.
  4. Cut into 12 triangles (First into quarters, and then each quarter into three). Roll each triangle from the large side to the triangle tip like a croissant.
  5. Put the roll-ups around the dough ball. Leave the dough in a warm, dark place to rise a bit more (leave for around 30-40minutes). Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190C fan.
  6. Mix the remaining yolk with a few drops of water. Spread the yolk over the risen dough then bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in comes out clean.

So here we are. Three fantastic recipes from the traditional Bulgarian Christmas Eve table. You can also make the potato salad from the “Swedish meatballs with potato salad” recipe I posted earlier. I will post more Bulgarian recipes on the blog for you next year!

Happy holidays everyone 🙂