Easy Vegetarian Enchiladas

This vegetarian enchiladas recipe is fast and easy: a total crowd pleaser! The simple pinto bean and cheese filling is full of flavor.

Vegetarian enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of our favorite dinner recipes around here. But they can take a while to prep for a weeknight. Here’s a new recipe we designed to work in 30 minutes flat: these easy Vegetarian Enchiladas! The filling takes no time to whip up: it’s just spiced pinto beans and spices. Roll ’em up, bake until golden and cheesy, and load with all your favorite toppings. These are so quick, we’ve ditched our other favorite recipes for this one (oops!).

Ingredients in these easy vegetarian enchiladas

Many vegan and vegetarian enchilada recipes have long lead times, because it takes a while to cook or roast vegetables for the filling. But many traditional Mexican enchiladas recipes are supremely simple. We honor the great tradition of Mexican cuisine in this recipe. It’s inspired by the simplicity of the cheese enchiladas we had in Mexico years ago. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Red enchilada sauce: For fast enchiladas, we recommend a great store-bought sauce. More below!
  • Pinto beans or black beans: Canned beans make it fast and easy!
  • Cheddar and pepper jack cheese: Using two types of cheese adds nuance to the flavor
  • Spices: Grab the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika
  • Tortillas: Corn tortillas are traditional in Mexican enchiladas and a gluten free option; flour tortillas tend to be more durable

Quickly saute the beans and spices, roll them into tortillas with cheese, and douse with enchilada sauce (and more cheese). It takes just 10 minutes to bake: so you should be able to go from 0 to dinner in 30 minutes.

Vegetarian enchilada recipe

Grab a great red enchilada sauce (or make in advance)

Often for enchiladas we recommend making your own enchilada sauce. But this recipe is all about speed! So here are your best options:

  • Purchased red enchilada sauce: There are lots of fantastic enchilada sauce brands at the store: most of them are minimally processed and made with real food ingredients. Every brand is different, so experiment to find one you love.
  • Homemade, made in advance: Make a batch of our Homemade Red Enchilada sauce! Just make sure to make it in advance to ensure quick prep.

Flour tortillas vs corn tortillas

Corn tortillas are traditional in Mexican-style enchiladas. Flour tortillas are more traditional in Tex Mex and American style enchiladas. There are pros and cons to both! Here’s what to know:

  • Corn tortillas are gluten-free. Keep in mind that many brands easily split when you go to roll them! To combat this, find the best quality corn tortilla brand you can. Then brush it with oil and cook it 15 seconds per side before assembling. This makes it easier to roll.
  • Flour tortillas are not gluten-free but they are much easier to roll and more durable in general. They also get nice and gooey from the enchilada sauce.

What about grain free tortillas? There are also lots of other types of grain-free tortillas these days: like almond flour, cassava flour, or chickpea flour (try Siete brand). We have not tried them in enchiladas, so please let us know in the comments below if they hold up and what your favorites are.

Vegetarian enchiladas

How to assemble vegetarian enchiladas: a few tips!

The most time-consuming part of making vegetarian enchiladas? Assembling them! If you can, it’s helpful to have another person to help you in this step: but it’s not required! Here are a few tips for a smooth and speedy process:

  • Don’t overfill the tortillas. It’s easy to want to put in way too much filling. All you need is a scant 1/4 cup beans and 1/4 cup cheese. Spread them in a line down the center.
  • Roll them tightly and place seam side down. Placing seam side down helps them stay rolled.
  • If using corn tortillas, use a durable brand and cook in oil prior to rolling. Corn tortillas taste great and are gluten-free, but they can easily tear and split when rolling them. See the instructions in the recipe and the section below for more!

Favorite enchilada toppings

The best part of this easy enchiladas recipe? Loading them up with all the best toppings! Here are a few topping ideas we love to add:

  • Sour cream: it’s a must in our book
  • Guacamole
  • Feta or queso fresco crumbles
  • Red onion or green onion
  • Sliced jalapeno or fresno peppers: bright red fresno peppers look lovely and have just enough heat; they’re a nice option if you can find them
  • Cilantro
  • Pickled jalapenos or pickled onions
Easy enchiladas

What to serve with enchiladas

If you’ve got a need for speed…you need some fast side dishes to go with it! What are the best sides to serve with enchiladas? Here are some favorite ideas:

This vegetarian enchiladas recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free (with corn or grain-free tortillas noted above).

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Vegetarian enchiladas

Easy Vegetarian Enchiladas (30 Minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 4.80 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 enchiladas 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This vegetarian enchiladas recipe is fast and easy: a total crowd pleaser! The simple pinto bean and cheese filling is full of flavor.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups red enchilada sauce (or Homemade Enchilada Sauce made in advance)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans (or black beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon each garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and kosher salt
  • 12 ounces (3 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 12 8-inch flour or corn tortillas
  • For the garnish: guacamole, sour cream, feta or queso fresco crumbles, minced red onion, sliced jalapeno or fresno peppers, torn cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the beans (drained and rinsed), cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and kosher salt. Cook for 2 minutes until warmed through and fragrant.
  3. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. 
  4. If using corn tortillas ONLY: Brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with olive oil. Heat a large griddle to medium-high heat. Cook the tortillas in batches for 15 seconds per side until lightly browned.
  5. Fill each tortilla with scant 1/4 cup of beans and a scant 1/4 cup (3 tablespoons) shredded cheddar cheese. Roll it up and place it in the baking dish seam side down. Once all of the 12 tortillas are in the dish, pour over the remaining 2 cups of enchilada sauce. Top with the pepper jack and the remaining cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. If desired, broil or torch until browned. Top with garnishes and serve. (Leftovers keep well refrigerated.)
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican American

Keywords: Vegetarian enchiladas, vegetarian enchilada recipe, Easy enchiladas, Easy enchilada recipe

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Julie
    April 7, 2021 at 7:40 am

    This was quick, easy and delicious. My six year old gobbled it up and my meat eating husband wanted to know what meat was in it. A crowd pleaser!

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