Delightful Veggie Flautas with Salsa Verde
“Flauta” is Spanish for flute and also the shape for rolled-up tortillas that are traditionally filled with a mixture of shredded chicken, beef, or pork. Flautas are an easy crowd pleaser and a personal favorite dish. I enjoyed flautas even as a kid when I was much less adventurous with the types of food I would try. Alas, since becoming vegetarian I have not had this dish as it is traditionally made but I have taken a closer look at preparation methods and made some adjustments for a vegetarian version of flautas.
In this case, I made a potato and wilted greens mixture (kale and spinach) to replace the meat filling. Flautas normally get their crisp texture from pan or deep-frying but for this recipe I brushed them with olive oil and then pop them in the oven to get the crunch that make flautas oh so enjoyable to eat. I serve flautas with toppings like shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado slices, and of course, fresh salsa verde.
Speaking of which, salsa verde is always made with tomatillos but they can be hard to find. Depending on where you are, you may be able to find them in your grocery store’s produce section or at the farmers market during the summer months. Right now, I consider myself very lucky to have access to a garden with beautiful tomatillo plants growing in it and better yet, tomatillos for the freshest salsa verde.
Ingredients & Method (Serves 4, 3 flautas each )
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 small potatoes (about 1 cup)
- 1 c sodium free vegetable broth
- ½ spinach, chopped
- ½ c kale, chopped
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the tomatillo salsa (chile verde)
- 8-10 tomatillos, husks removed
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 small green chile de arbol or 1 small Serrano pepper
- 2 tbsp. onion, chopped
- 1/3 – ½ cup of cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
Topping suggestions: Cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered); shredded lettuce; avocado slices.
Peel and dice the potatoes and place them in a small pot and cover with vegetable broth. Add more broth if needed as the potatoes cook. Add salt to taste. Note: if you are using regular vegetable broth you may not need to add salt.
As the potatoes cook, heat a shallow pan to medium-high heat then place the tomatillos in the pan. The idea is to char and soften the tomatillos for about 10 – 15 minutes. For an even cooking be sure to turn the tomatillos.
When potatoes are fork tender drain the excess poaching liquid and then place in a mixing bowl, set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add a little bit of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) and bring to a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add your chopped kale and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the spinach and let wilt along with the kale. Once the greens have cooked for a few minutes (no longer than 5 – 7 minutes) add them to the potato mixture and mix well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
To assemble the flautas take about 1 – 2 teaspoons of the potato and greens mixture and spread onto the middle of the corn tortillas. Hint: you can heat your tortillas on a comal (griddle) or place them in the microwave for 1 5 -30 seconds so that they become pliable and easier to work with. Roll the tortillas to make the flauta then place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat the process for each flauta. Next drizzle some olive oil on top of the flautas and use a pastry brush to spread an even layer of olive oil onto the flautas. The key is to get enough oil onto the tortillas so that they get crisp in the oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the flautas become golden and crisp.
As the flautas bake, put the cooked tomatillos into a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, onion, pepper, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and pour the salsa into a serving bowl.
Prepare other toppings like chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado slices.
Take flautas out of the oven once they are done and serve with salsa verde and other toppings. Enjoy!