These crispy, crunchy vegan baked chimichangas are made with wrappers of filo pastry instead of tortillas, and they are baked — not fried — to golden deliciousness. Inside is a simple but tasty stuffing of spiced up lentils. Finally, all of it is smothered in a cheesy vegan sauce.
Here are some of the tastiest chimichangas you’ll ever feast upon: my Vegan Baked Chimichangas with Filo. They are easy to put together, and they are rather good for you, stuffed as they are with tasty, spicy lentils spiced with smoky chipotle, cumin and coriander.
I love using filo — or phyllo — and puff pastry as a substitute when deep frying is called for, because both give you fabulous results in the oven, and they don’t turn soggy rather than crispy, the way other wrappers might. While puff pastry can be high in fat, filo isn’t, so it’s a pretty good compromise in my book.
You can go rather low fat with this recipe by making your filling fat-free. No one will be able to tell the difference, and you’ll feel the smarter for it.
This is a recipe that anyone would love: adults and kids. It is smothered in a cheesy, gorgeous sauce with habanero, a riff from my magic vegan cheesy sauce, but if you want to serve this as finger food, just leave out the sauce, or put it on the side and your guests can dip into it instead.
Here’s the recipe for my crunchy vegan baked chimichangas with filo. Enjoy it for Cinco de Mayo, or anytime!
- 1/2 packet filo pastry sheets (9 sheets)
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the pastry
- 1 cup brown lentils, soaked for 30 minutes, then cooked with water to cover for 15-20 minutes or until tender but not mushy.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- 1 medium bell pepper, any color (I prefer green)
- 2 tomatoes, finely diced
- 2 tbsp cilantro (optional)
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced, with 1 tsp of the sauce. Use more or less based on your preference for heat.
- Salt to taste
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Recipe for my magic cheesy sauce
- 1/4 habanero pepper, minced
Preheat the oven to 350 F
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil. For a fat-free option, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable stock instead.
Add the diced onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until the onions start to brown.
Add the tomatoes, green pepper, cilantro, coriander powder, cumin powder and chipotle chili. Mix well and cook for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes look darker and caramelized.
Drain the lentils of all cooking water and add to the pan. Mix well. Cook, stirring frequently, for another five minutes at least to let all the flavors mix. Your filling should be rather dry or it will bleed out of the seams when you bake your chimichangas.
Add the lime juice and salt and set aside to cool.
Place the filo sheets on the countertop and cover with a kitchen towel. Filo dries up very fast, so you need to keep it covered at all times and work fast.
Place a sheet of the pastry on the countertop and brush lightly with oil. Layer on a second sheet, brush with oil, and finally a third sheet. Brush on a little oil and then cut the assembled sheets into four pieces by making one horizontal cut through the center and then one vertical cut.
Place some stuffing close to the corner of one of the filo rectangles. Fold in the horizontal sides over the filling and then roll to make a cylindrical shape. Place seam side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Repeat for all remaining pastry sheets. You will get 12 chimichangas.
Place in the hot oven and bake 25 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove to a rack immediately, using a pair of tongs or a spatula.
To make the sauce, follow the instructions for my magic cheesy sauce and while blending, add the habanero.
Pour over the chimichangas, or serve on the side as a dip.
Get more delicious at Cinco de Mayo!