Guilt-Free Vegan Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

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.

Guilt-Free Vegan Enchiladas with Homemade  Sauce Guilt-Free Vegan Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

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.

Guilt-Free Vegan Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

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!

Guilt-Free Vegan Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

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


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!

About Stephanie Watkins

Welcome to my blog, I'm Stephanie. I was born and raised in sunny California but now live with my husband in Malaysia. This is where I write, cook, and photograph our new life overseas. I love taking pictures, experiencing new cultures, and eating an animal-free and plant based diet.

28. January 2013 by Stephanie Watkins
Categories: Entrees, Sauces | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 comments

Comments (46)

  1. Those look awesome! I’m definitely going to give that sauce a try! I have an enchilada sauce recipe I usually use, but this one is quite different so I’ll have to give it a try! I just bought some whole wheat tortillas, so I think enchiladas can be on the menu this week! There is one Mexican restaurant here near Kuala Lumpur that we really like, but I usually prefer to make my own so I can make a vegan cheesy sauce to go with!

  2. This looks great! The use of the cocoa powder in the sauce surprises me, but I’m sure it’s delicious!

  3. These look great…I live down the street from el ranchito in Newport …I use to love their food …I will have to try these

  4. I love homemade enchilada sauce, it’s always so worth the effort! Can’t wait to try this version!

  5. Wonder what a Mexican would think of using tofu in Mexican cooking? I too like the cocoa powder in the sauce.

    • Norma Chang, I, a Mexican vegan, think nothing other than it’s a great alternative to meat. I use tofu in my Mexican dishes all the time.

  6. Stephanie, these enchiladas look awesome! I love how healthy they are too. Cocoa is a great idea for enchilada sauce. I love mole sauce, but I never thought to add it to enchilada sauce. Can’t wait to try it!

    By the way, your photography is gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. :-)

    • Hi Kristy! Wow, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! They mean so much coming from you! I’ve been a huge fan of your blog for a long time! Thanks for stopping by :-)

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  8. These look delicious, Stephanie! For some reason, I have never been able to get my enchilada sauce quite right. I am going to have to give this recipe a try. Also, I love your photography set up–especially the background on your first pic. :)

  9. These turned out terrible. The tortillas kept breaking and unrolling, the sauce was so-so. Waste of time and money.

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that Jenny! Did you try heating and soaking the tortillas before you rolled them like the instructions say? That usually does the trick for me. And with the sauce, you can varry the amount of spices to your taste preference. This recipe is my family’s favorite, but you of course can change things as you desire :-)

  10. These look fab! Can’t wait to try- from Ohio but we still love our enchiladas! Vegan to boot- you rock!!

  11. I found your blog through Pinterest and I’m so glad I found these! I wanted a Mexican food recipe without canned tomato stuff since it’s not that good for you. Thanks ;)

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  13. I made this recipe last week and it was wonderful!! The sauce was hands down the best enchilada sauce I have ever had, vegan or otherwise! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Thank you so much Connie! I’m so glad! My husband and I are OBSESSED with these enchiladas! I’m glad you now can enjoy the obsession hehe :)

  14. I made these for dinner tonight with precious few changes (which should say quite a bit about the recipe!). I cut down the chili powder a bit so that it wouldn’t be too spice for the kids and I used crumbled tempeh in place of the tofu. They were *so good.* My 8 year ate his first in rapid speed before eyeing up the pan and asking for seconds.

    I’ve made a few enchilada sauce recipes in the past, but this one is hands down my favorite.

    We rounded out our dinner with a jicama salad. Oh my, oh my, oh my. This has been my favorite dinner this week.

    • Thank you so much for your comment and kind words! They made my day! I am so happy you and your family enjoyed the enchiladas :-) Now you have me craving jicama…

  15. We made this and loved it! One of my husband’s favorite foods is anything with mole sauce, so I knew he’d be critical of this recipe… but he loved it!!! He said it was the best sauce he’s ever had, better than restaurant or store-bought stuff. It was really good! (He accidentally put in too much cayenne, but who cares it was great!) And I’ve never had tofu in a Mexican dish, but it was amazing! It’s so easy to say goodbye to chicken and beef when I can have tofu. Altogether, I loved every aspect of this recipe!

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  17. I never ever comment on blogs, especially food blogs, but I just have to break that pattern to say that this was hands down the BEST enchilada I’ve ever had – vegan or non (and so easy to make!). I will be making these again and again… and again. : ) Thank you!

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  19. “These aren’t really vegan right?! This sauce is AMAZING!” says my husbands ear and over again. :-) thanks for another delicious recipe Stephanie.

  20. Hi,I was looking on how to make vegan enchiladas without too much fat. Because I do not eat cocoa or use it for any receipes, it is possible to use carob powder instead and what would be the measurement?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Oscar!

      I’m not quite sure since I’ve never used carob powder in this recipe! But I would start with a little and add more as you go and taste. Let me know how it goes!

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  22. Every year my dad makes his traditional enchilada meal for the whole family. For the last three years I’ve gotten by (as a vegetarian) with having him make one pan without meat in the sauce, but since I’ve gone further toward being vegan over the last few months, that was no longer sufficient this time around. I’m so glad that I found this recipe. I got to spend an hour in the kitchen with my dad (that right there was worth it) making my own kind of enchiladas, and then got to serve them along with his.

    Final opinion is that they weren’t *perfect*, but then I am comparing them to my dad’s sacred enchiladas, which isn’t fare at all. They were pretty darn good, I intend to use this recipe again in the future. Next time I think I’ll try to make them more gooey [more spinach, possibly? or vegan cheese] inside. My dad LOVED the sauce. Thank you so much for sharing this. (:

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with me, Alison! I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe and you got to share it with your family. And most importantly, that you got to spend time in the kitchen with you dad! How special. I think adding more spinach or vegan cheese would make the enchiladas more gooey. I would have added vegan cheese but I can’t buy it out here in Malaysia :-)

  23. I made these last night! I’m a Mexican from Texas and my husband grew up five minutes from the border in Yuma, Arizona. We often argue about Mexican food. I grew up with my parents cooking Tex-Mex and Tex-Mex restaurants. My husband (white Irish boy) was used to Sonoran. These obviously weren’t the flavor I’m used to in Tex Mex, but they were great. And my picky, “Tex Mex doesn’t count as Mexican” husband LOVED them. I topped his with Daiya, and he ate half of a pan. It’s a good thing I made three batches!

    Thank you!

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  25. I made these and they were fantastic. I used sprouted wraps. I used half the chili spice, half the tomato sauce and no water. Amazing.

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  28. Made the sauce tonight to go over another casserole I was making. It was a great blend of spices – loved the cocoa in it. Definitely a go-to keeper! Will try your enchiladas with it next time. Thanks!

    • Recipe looks great. I’m gluten-free but not a cook lol What can I use instead of regular flour?

      Also, one poster used tempeh and I’d like to try that. Do you need to do anything to the tempeh before adding it? My first attempt at using tempeh didn’t go so well so I don’t want to mess this up :) Thanks.

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  30. Made these last night- although they completely fell apart when cooked (probably because I used corn tortillas) they were SO delicious! I was out of chili powder so I used Sriracha. I’m a proponent of taste over looks, so in that respect they came out perfectly! Thanks!

  31. would substituting the ap flour in the sauce with a gf flour still work, or would the sauce come out a bit different?

    i only ask as I’m always looking got gluten free variants for everything i may want to try.

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