These easy vegan enchiladas are filling, crowd-pleasing, packed with flavor, and come together in a quick 45 minutes. Hearty enough for a winter gathering and enough to be welcomed to your dinner plate the whole year.
Originating in Mexico, enchiladas are a savory dish of corn tortillas rolled around filling and smothered in sauce. These days, enchilada filling can range from cheese to meat to vegetables, potatoes, tofu, beans, and so on. However, history suggests that the earliest enchilada-like dishes—enjoyed by those living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico—were stuffed with small fish.
The sauces currently used to top enchiladas are equally varied—mole, cheese sauce, béchamel, salsa roja, etc.
However, the enchilada—as described by the Real Academia Española—is defined as “a rolled maize tortilla stuffed with meat and covered with a tomato and chili sauce.” In fact, the word enchilada is the past participle of the Spanish word enchilar which means “to add chili pepper”. (Source)
In addition to a savory sauce topping, you can garnish your enchiladas with things like cheese, sour cream, avocado, salsa, etc.
This vegan version of enchiladas is a far cry from the defining meat-based classic, but I’m very happy with the result. They’re easy to make, packed with flavor, and super satisfying.
To keep these enchiladas quick, easy, and nourishing, the filling relies on a combination of tofu crumbles, veggies, cauliflower rice, and beans. It’s flavorful, protein-packed, and requires little more than a quick heat in a skillet. This makes it perfect for enjoying as a meal on its own or as the speedy star in a more homemade dish like this one.
For these enchiladas, I combined a Superfood Skillet with vegetarian refried beans to make enough filling for eight tortillas.
You’ll have to excuse the use of flour tortillas here. Our store ran out of large corn tortillas, so I was stuck with flour for the photo shoot.
While you can use flour tortillas, it is traditional to go with the corn tortillas. They are much more flavorful when prepared that way.
Either way, you’ll stuff each tortilla with a bit of filling, roll it up, and nestle it into a baking dish.
The red sauce in this recipe is homemade yet fast and nearly fool-proof. You’ll simply sauté an onion, add some spices, whisk in tomato sauce and a bit of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Let it all simmer for a quick five minutes, and then give it an optional blend until smooth. That’s it. Super easy, super flavorful.
Before you bake the enchiladas, you’ll pour a generous stripe of the sauce down the center of the stuffed tortillas.
While the enchiladas bake, you’ll prepare a cilantro-lime cream sauce. The sauce is easy to make (just measure and blend) and really brightens the flavors in the dish, so I strongly recommend making it. BUT it’s optional and you can absolutely omit it in a pinch.
Once the enchiladas have finished baking, drizzle them with the cream (if using) and top as desired. I topped these with diced avocado, pickled red onions, and fresh cilantro.
I hope you love these easy vegan enchiladas as much as I do.
More Great Vegetarian Recipes
- Vegan “Bacon” From King Oyster Mushrooms
- Grilled sweet and sour squash with lentil salad
- Wild Mushroom Pot Pie with Fennel and Camembert
- Tofu with Radish and Shiso
- The Original Carrot Bacon Recipe
Easy Vegan Enchiladas
These easy vegan enchiladas are filling, crowd-pleasing, packed with flavor, and come together in a quick 45 minutes.
- Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon avocado oil or grapeseed oil
1 cup diced white onion (about ½ a large onion)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
½ cup filtered water or vegetable broth
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, or to taste
Sea salt, to taste
- Enchilada Filling
1 tablespoon avocado oil or grapeseed oil
2 (7-ounce) packs Mexican Style Superfood Skillet
1 (15-ounce) can vegetarian refried beans
8 medium-large corn or flour tortillas (corn offers the most flavor and is what is traditionally used)
- Cilantro-Lime Crema (Optional)
½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained*
½ cup filtered water
¼ cup cilantro leaves, stems removed
2 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- Topping Ideas
Pickled red onion
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Set out a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- For the Sauce
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Next, add the chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Continue cooking for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Whisk in the tomato sauce, water, chipotle pepper + adobo sauce, maple syrup, and salt to taste (I use ½ to ¾ teaspoon). Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- If a smooth sauce is desired, carefully transfer the sauce to a high-speed blender and blend on high for one minute, or until smooth.
- For the Enchilada Filling
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Superfood Skillet filling and cook for 5 minutes, or until hot and just beginning to brown.
- Add the refried beans and stir or mash to combine.
- Taste and season with salt, if desired.
- If your tortillas are stiff or dry, wrap them in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds, or until soft and pliable.
- Pour about one-third of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Spread to evenly coat. Take one tortilla and place it on a clean plate. Fill it with a scoop or two of filling, then roll up the tortilla and place seam side down at one end of the baking dish. Repeat until all of the tortillas are filled and wrapped.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas in a thick stripe down the center.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until warmed through.
- For the Optional Crema
- While the enchiladas bake, prepare the crema (if using) by adding all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blending on high for 2 minutes, or until completely smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Assemble and Serve
- Drizzle the crema (if using) over the baked enchiladas and top as desired.
- Serve warm.