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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
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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 ¼ cup beans and ¼ 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!)

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4.3 from 4 reviews

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


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


  • 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
  • ½ 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


  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 ¼ cup of beans and a scant ¼ 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
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. MEK says:

    These Enchiladas are delicious! I made your homemade Enchilada sauce. It is way better than any store-bought sauce and it is very easy to make. My daughter is not a vegetarian so I added some cooked chicken breast to her enchilada. Next time, I will follow another reviewer’s recommendation of lightly warming/browning the flour tortillas. I can see how this might add some more depth of flavor. Will give it a try. Anyhow, thank you for all of your delicious recipes. Every recipe I make of yours is a hit! Your recipes are always delicious and very approachable and easy to make. I wish both of you the best. Keep the delicious recipes coming!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Thank you for the comment and for making so many recipes! :)

  2. Lynda Cull says:

    Love this recipe. I noticed you said not to warm the flour tortillas. I find, however, that giving them a bit of fresh warmth adds some good smoky flavor. Here’s how I do it: turn on a dry pan to about medium heat. Lay the tortillas on one at a time, for a few seconds (you’ll get your own sense of your pan and stove’s heat), then flip it over for another couple of seconds. Lay them down, one on top of the other, on a clean kitchen towel and cover while you do the rest. The warmth from heating them up softens them and makes them easy to roll, plus you get that great flavor and they are ready to make the enchiladas. Some will even get those darker brown blisters that we love – yum!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Made these tonight. I think it’s a great basic recipe. I just made half and left out garlic and onion powder. I also used a lot less cheese. Would normally make my own sauce but bought a good jarred version from Whole Foods. Wanted something quick and easy for my son. Next time will use more beans and even less cheese and a side of yellow rice and avocado. Topped with a little lactose free sour cream and jalapeño. Served with salad.

  4. A.Thomas says:

    I tried out this recipe today and it was tasty, but I don’t know if it was the store bought red enchilada sauce or the amount of cheese called for in this recipe, but after just having one, my stomach is not having it. After eating just one I felt weighed down like the feeling u get when u eat something unhealthy, and it just made my stomach bubble and made me feel constipated. The recipe was tasty , the seasons for the bean mixture was great , the only thing I would do if I was to make this recipe again for myself would be that I would use the amount of cheese called for in this recipe and I would try a different red enchilada sauce and use less of it.

  5. Julie says:

    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!