Guilt-Free Vegan Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

Before I get started with today’s post, I have some exciting news to share! For those of you not following me on Facebook or Instagram, I had the honor of being featured on Vegan Yack Attack this week! It’s one of my all time favorite blogs and it was great to be able to share about my favorite Malaysian veggie, kailan! If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out my guest post and get a healthy and delicious recipe perfect as a side for your favorite Asian dish.

As many of you know, I grew up in Southern California. Because of the area’s diversity of people and cultures, I was was exposed to a variety of delicious and traditional ethnic foods. But the only type of food that I craved and could honestly eat every day was Mexican food. Words can not express to you how much I love Mexican food! It’s my absolute favorite. There’s this little restaurant right on the beach that my family always eats at and I used to order the cheese enchilada combo plate with rice and refried beans. Not only were the enchiladas filled with cheese, but they were covered in cheese along with the beans. As you can imagine, it was one greasy plate! The meal tasted fine at first, but after about 10 minutes, my stomach would feel like it was loaded with bricks!

Since going vegan, I can’t sit down and enjoy the greasy Mexican meals I used to. There are, however, still plenty of options for yummy, healthy, and vegan Mexican food. Availability can be limited depending on where you live. As you can imagine, living in Malaysia there are literally no options for Mexican food. Thankfully, I still have my kitchen and I can cook away whenever I get a craving for something south of the boarder.

These enchiladas are probably my favorite homemade meal. They are so simple and turn out perfectly every time! Plus, they’re guilt-free. We’ve been trying to cut back on our use of oil, and you really don’t need any for these enchiladas. Plus, they’re stuffed with spinach, black beans, and tofu-what could be better for you?! And unlike the cheese-drenched enchiladas I used to love, these are light, not greasy, and leave you full without feeling super gross and heavy.

Don’t be intimidated by the homemade enchilada sauce, it’s so incredibly easy and delicious you’ll never want to buy the canned stuff again! Let me fill you in on a little enchilada sauce secret: The best enchilada sauces have one special and important ingredient, cocoa! Yes, it’s true. It adds a great complexity and flavor to the richness of the sauce. If you don’t believe just try this recipe for yourself!

For the Enchiladas 

  • 8-whole wheat wraps or corn tortillas
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 7oz of extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Sauce 

(adapted from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook)

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne chili powder, or more to taste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 8oz cans of tomato sauce (or 1 16oz can)
  • salt to taste

Optional Toppings 

  • nutritional yeast or your favorite vegan cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced black olives

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Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the filing: Lightly sauté garlic and spinach in the lime juice until just wilted. Once cooked, add to a large bowl with the crumbled tofu and black beans. Add the chili powder and salt and mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Set bowl aside as you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce: whisk together the flour, cocoa, and spices in a saucepan without turning on the heat. Add 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and stir into a paste. Slowly whisk in the remaining broth and the cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and whisk in tomato sauce. Allow to cook for a few minutes until it thickens slightly to the consistency of tomato soup. Remove from heat and set aside. Taste for salt, you may need to add some depending on the saltiness of the vegetable broth you used.

Assembling the enchiladas: To fill the enchiladas, you need to make an assembly line. Have your tortillas, casserole dish, bowl with the filling, sauce, and a pie pan or skillet filled with 3/4 cup of the sauce ready to go. Spread a little of the enchilada sauce in your casserole dish. Drop a tortilla into your pie plate or skillet and let it get covered in sauce, flip so each side gets coated (this allows the tortilla to soften so you can roll it up into enchiladas). If your tortillas are still not softening enough even after they’ve been soaked in sauce, you can also gently heat them for about 30 seconds before soaking in sauce.

Now, place the tortilla either in the casserole dish (the easiest way) or on an additional plate. Scoop a few spoonfuls of  filling onto the left side of the tortilla and roll it up. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, packing them tightly next to each other in the casserole dish. Pour about a cup of sauce over the top of the enchiladas, save the rest of the sauce for serving later. Bake in oven uncovered for about 20-30 minutes, until the tortilla edges become crisp.

Allow enchiladas to cool slightly before serving. Serve with the remaining sauce, warmed slightly. Sprinkle with vegan cheese, nutritional yeast and fresh cilantro, if using. Enjoy!