No one will miss the meat in these Vegetarian Enchiladas! Made with zucchini, kale, corn, beans, peppers, and onions, these Plant-Based Enchiladas are bursting with flavor and nutrition.
My husband declared these the BEST enchiladas he has ever eaten. Considering he prefers his meals with meat and smothered in cheese, and these enchiladas are made without meat or cheese--that is HUGE. And my kids, who HATE finding cooked greens in their food, devoured these enchiladas without complaints and asked for seconds.
What makes these veggie enchiladas so good?
The filling is a perfect combination of fresh vegetables, beans, and spices. The filling is a bit spicy and filled with a variety of textures. Not a single vegetable overpowers the filling, instead each works to add flavor to the vegetable enchiladas. Not only is the filling of these enchiladas delicious, but the texture of the enchilada itself is perfection. Using a few trade secrets, these veggie enchiladas are baked in a flavorful homemade enchilada sauce, while still retaining texture. No soggy enchiladas here!
Vegetarian Enchiladas have become a regular rotation at our house. They are a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet without sacrificing taste or flavor!
- Onions and Garlic--Onions and garlic add so much flavor to any recipe and create the perfect base for this vegetable filling.
- Bell Peppers--Use any color bell peppers you like. The peppers add crunch and flavor to the filling.
- Jalapeno (optional)--If you like heat, add in one to two teaspoons minced jalapeno that has been seeded.
- Zucchini--I prefer to use small zucchini, as the seeds are tiny and do not need to be removed. If you use larger zucchini, you will want to remove the seeds as they will add too much moisture and an unpleasant texture to the filling. Yellow summer squash can be used in place of zucchini as well.
- Kale -Spinach can be used in place of kale if desired or you can omit the greens completely. However, it is a great way to add in some greens and these enchiladas are so full of flavor, that even picky eaters seem to accept the greens.
- Corn--A bit of frozen corn kernels are added to the mixture which adds a bit of sweetness to the filling, which compliments the spices added.
- Beans--Pinto beans or black beans are best in these enchiladas and make them super hearty and filling.
- Fajita Seasoning--This is a simple blend of spices that are suited for fajita, but is amazing in this recipe for enchiladas. You can use taco seasoning in place of the fajita seasoning or follow the recipe notes and add in the individual spices on your own.
- Lime--Adding the zest and juice of a lime adds so much dimension to the filling. If you don't have a lime you can omit, but I highly encourage the addition.
- Enchilada Sauce--You can use store-bought red enchilada sauce but homemade enchilada sauce is so easy to make and so much tastier, not to mention much healthier.
- Tortillas--You can use any tortilla you like--gluten-free, flour, corn, or homemade tortillas. Just keep in mind if using corn tortillas, you will want to brush them with oil and toast in a nonstick skillet before adding filling to tortillas. This will keep the corn tortillas intact while rolling and baking.
- Toppings--Top these enchiladas as desired with avocado, fresh tomatoes, minced onions, and if you aren't vegan, top with sour cream or cheese.
How to Make Veggie Enchiladas
There are a few tricks when it comes to making the best vegetable enchiladas.
The first step is to create the most flavorful filling for the enchiladas. And that all starts by sauteing onions, peppers, and garlic. You can saute them in oil or vegetable stock to keep this oil-free. It takes a few minutes to saute the onions and peppers until they soften, but that base helps to develop an incredibly flavorful filling.
Once the onions have softened, it is time to add in the remaining vegetables with the spices. Be sure you dice the zucchini into bite-size pieces so that it is easy to eat in the enchiladas. It is also important to remove any stems on the kale, as they can be quite bitter and may cause picky eaters to really notice the greens! HA!
Next, add in beans. If using canned beans, be sure to rinse and drain well before adding to the skillet. If using homemade beans, you may need to add a bit more salt to the filling. Taste and adjust to your preference. Finish the vegetable mixture by adding in the zest and juice of a lime to brighten up the flavors of these vegetarian enchiladas.
Before you begin to fill the enchiladas, preheat a lightly greased pan you plan to bake your enchiladas in the oven. That way when you put the enchiladas in the pan, they will immediately begin to slightly crisp up, which will help prevent them from getting soggy after the enchilada sauce is poured over them.
To fill the enchiladas, place ⅓ to ½ cup vegetable mixture onto tortillas and roll up like a burrito. You want enough filling to make these enchiladas hearty, yet not too much filling that they are difficult to roll. Keep in mind that if you use smaller flour tortillas or corn tortillas, you may use less filling per enchilada.
Once the enchiladas have been placed in the preheated pan, top with just enough enchilada sauce to cover. I don't recommend adding enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pan, because this will cause your enchiladas to get soggy. Instead, just cover the top--it will add just enough flavor to the enchiladas.
Another trick to preventing soggy enchiladas is to bake uncovered. That lets some of the moisture evaporate. If you are looking for super soft enchiladas, simply cover them with foil before baking. And then bake the enchiladas just until warmed through.
Serve with desired toppings. I personally love fresh avocado, as it is a creamy, luscious addition. But top with anything you desire or serve plain. My son prefers these Vegetarian Enchiladas with extra hot sauce and shredded cabbage and my daughter tops with plain Greek yogurt.
More Vegetarian Mexican Recipes
- Vegetarian Fajitas
- Black Bean Baked Tacos
- Cauliflower Tacos
- Easy Bean Burritos
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- ½ tablespoon olive oil see note to keep these oil free
- 1 small onion minced
- ½ cup diced yellow and/or red pepper about 1 small pepper
- ½ small jalapeno, seeded and minced optional
- 1 clove minced garlic or 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups zucchini diced into half moons, about 2 small zucchini
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups chopped kale stems removed
- 2 cups pinto beans 1 (15 ounce) can drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons fajita seasoning
- 1 lime zest and juice
- 8 flour or corn 8 inch tortillas see note
- 1 cup homemade enchilada sauce
- avocado and tomato for topping
- Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapenos if using, and saute until onions just begin to soften about 3 minutes. Add in fajita seasoning and minced garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Add in zucchini, corn, and kale and cook until zucchini is softened and kale is wilted, about 5-7 minutes, being sure to stir frequently. Add drained beans to skillet and warm through for about 1 minute. Turn off heat and add in the juice of a lime.
- Meanwhile, spray a 7x11 casserole dish with nonstick spray and place in the oven to preheat for 5 minutes.
- Place ⅓ to ½ cup vegetable mixture onto tortillas and roll-up. Carefully remove the from oven and place enchiladas in preheated pan. Top with 1 cup enchilada sauce and return to oven for 15 minutes, or until enchiladas are warmed through and browned slightly.
- Serve with minced cilantro and diced avocado and tomatoes.
- Fajita Seasoning: In place of homemade fajita seasoning, use ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon chili powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- To keep these enchiladas oil free, omit the olive oil. Instead saute in 1 tablespoon vegetable stock, adding more stock as needed to keep vegetables from burning.
- Spinach can be used in place of kale if desired.
- Pinto beans or black beans are best in these enchiladas.
- Feel free to top these enchiladas with shredded cheddar cheese if not following a plant based or dairy free diet.
- If using corn tortillas, you will want to brush them with oil and toast in a nonstick skillet before adding filling to tortillas. This will keep the corn tortillas in tact while rolling and baking.
- Nutrition is based on 2 enchiladas each (calculated using flour tortillas and enchilada sauce).