I don't say this lightly, but these dairy-free, vegan bean enchiladas are probably one of my all-time favourite recipes. They are just so tasty and satisfying, and every time I have them I always seem to find myself dreaming about them for days afterwards, craving another serving.
The great thing about them is that whilst they feel really indulgent and satisfying, they're actually still packed full of loads of super healthy stuff! This vegan take on a Mexican classic not only uses a healthy vegetable and bean filling but also replaces the traditional cheese topping with a creamy, plant-based cashew cheese sauce.
Enchiladas were something that I practically lived on before I went vegan, and despite some early experimentations with fully-plant based versions, I found that it just wasn't the same without the cheese topping. Well, recently I decided that enough was enough, and I was determined to recreate a fully vegan version of it that was still just as delicious as the ones I remembered. After taking a few tricks from some of my other cheesy recipes (vegan pasta bake, vegan nachos) and a little bit of tinkering, I'm convinced that I've absolutely nailed it. This cheese sauce mixes so perfectly with the rich flavours of the homemade enchilada sauce, to create something so delicious that I promise that you won't even realise the cheese is missing.
In this recipe, I recommend making your own enchilada sauce from scratch as it's super easy to put together and I promise that it will taste 10 times better than any sauce you find in a jar, but if you're in a rush feel free to skip it (I won't judge). Enchiladas are also a super versatile meal, so feel free to mix up the filling depending on what you have at hand. It can be a great meal to use up those fridge left-overs!
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the filling:
8 flour tortilla wraps (alternatively use corn tortillas - see FAQs section for more info)
1 white onion
1 large red pepper
1 large green pepper
200g button mushrooms
3 garlic gloves
Juice of 1 lime
400g tin Kidney Beans (250g drained)
A handful of fresh coriander
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 ripe avocados
A handful of cherry tomatoes (optional)
Salt & pepper
For the enchilada sauce:
500ml tomato passata
125ml vegetable stock
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
For the cheese sauce:
1 cup soaked cashews
160ml unsweetened soy milk
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt flakes
A squeeze of lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Start by weighing the cashews, before submerging them in a bowl of boiling water. Leave to one side to soak.
Next, start to make the filling by finely chopping the onion, garlic, and peppers, and frying them together in a deep pan for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, chop the half courgette into small, bite-sized pieces and add it to the onion mixture. Fry for a further 5 minutes.
Whilst the onion mixture is cooking, thoroughly wash the mushrooms and roughly chop, avoiding any large slices. Add to the pan and fry together for a further 10 minutes, until all of the ingredients have softened.
When ready, add the beans, tomato puree, paprika, oregano, and the juice of half of the lime (reserving the rest for later), along with some salt and pepper. Stir the mixture for several minutes ensuring that everything is combined, before removing from the heat and setting to one side.
Next, begin making the enchilada sauce by adding paprika, cayenne, and cumin to a separate saucepan on medium heat. Heat the spices for 60 seconds, before adding the tomato passata, vegetable stock, garlic powder, and oregano. Stir everything together and allow the sauce to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Whilst the enchilada sauce is cooking, make the cheese sauce. To do so, start by draining the soaked cashews and add them to a food processor, along with the soy milk, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend on high speed for 5 minutes until it forms a thick liquid, scraping down the sides as necessary.
When both of the sauces are ready, it is almost time to begin assembling your enchiladas. First, take 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce and pour it into the bean mixture, stirring to combine. Next, lay out one of the tortillas on a flat surface and place a spoonful of the filling into the centre. Roll up the sides to create a long, sausage-like shape, and place it into a large baking dish. Repeat this process for all of the tortillas, lining them up next to each other until the dish is full. (Note: Depending on the size of your dish, you may want to split these into two batches)
Next, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas, spreading with a spoon if necessary. I like to leave the ends of the tortillas exposed which allows them to go more crispy, but feel free to spread the sauce out and smother the entire tortillas if you'd like. Place the dish into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and drizzle over the cheese sauce. Transfer the enchiladas to plates, before topping with fresh coriander, avocado, and the cherry tomatoes (finely diced) if using.
Serve and enjoy!
So, there you have it; my absolute favourite vegan bean enchiladas! If you try this recipe please let me know what you think by writing a comment below! I'd love to hear your feedback. Also, if you have any questions, be sure to check the FAQ section below or feel free to ask me directly in the comments. If you were a fan of this meal, you may also want to check out some of my similar meals: Vegan Pasta Bake, Vegan Nachos.
Q: What is an enchilada?
A: Originating in Mexico, enchiladas consists of a tortilla rolled around a savoury filling, and topped with some variety of sauce; the most common being a tomato-based chilli sauce. Oh, and they are delicious ;)
Q: What's the difference between enchiladas, burritos and other Mexican wraps?
A: I was once told that the main difference between an enchilada and a burrito is that, whilst a burrito is meant to be eaten on-the-go as street food, an enchilada should be eaten with a knife and fork, and it's easy to understand why. Unlike other wraps, one of the most important parts of the meal (the sauce) is found on top of the wrap, rather than contained inside. Another defining feature is the type of tortilla traditionally used, but more about that in the next point...
Q: Which type of tortilla should I use to make enchiladas?
A: Traditionally enchiladas are made with corn tortillas. However, in this recipe, I generally use flour tortillas as they are more readily available here, and corn tortillas can be harder to find. Basically, use whichever you'd like - there is no wrong answer. If you'd like a more traditional experience and they are easily available to you, then choose corn tortillas, but if you want to make them exactly how I do, flour tortillas are the way to go.
Q: What's the difference between a corn tortilla and a flour tortilla?
A: The defining difference between them is what they are made out of. As the name suggests, flour tortillas are made from wheat flour, whilst corn tortillas use a corn flour. Flour tortillas are softer and generally larger and are used for burritos and quesadillas. Corn tortillas, on the other hand, are typically used in dishes like tacos and taquitos.
Q: Can I add cheese on top of my enchiladas?
A: Of course! Personally I don't add additional cheese on top of my enchiladas as I don't find it necessary with the cheese sauce, but if you'd like to make it even cheesier, any plant-based grated cheese will work fine on top (although try to find one which melts well, as not all of them do).